I am a Makeup Artist - But here's why I hired one for my head-shots

 photo:  Michelle Valberg   Makeup: Angelina Luigi

Not everyone likes to have their picture taken. Including me, I'm more comfortable than I used to be, but still not my favourite thing. To be honest I'm actually more chill for a live TV segment because I can move around. I get it people and I'm here to help you through it and put your best, confident self forward. Here's how and why you should hire a professional Makeup Artist for your next head-shots or even public appearance.

It was time to update my own photos for my website, so I had a professional session with the incredible and lovely photographer Michelle Valberg at Westboro Studio. (she has such amazing talent, and client roster plus so much of her work has been seen globally) Truly someone I admire both as a woman and a creative professional. I've wanted her to take my picture for a long time and to have the experience of being in front of her camera lens. I've worked with Michelle and prepping many of her clients for years, so it was fabulous to be the subject. I wanted the full experience, the same one I give to my clients for same photo-shoot service. I HIRED, yes paid for a professional makeup artist for my shoot. Yep, that's right, I didn't do my own makeup. I called in my friend Angelina.

The incredible attention to detail on my face by Angelina was more intense than I would have given myself. We'll cut corners on our own makeup/hair some days, but for a photo shoot? No way. You want the fine details taken care of.  Here's what the best of us artists will do for you; even out complexion with the right shade of foundation, keep your skin looking like skin, smooth application by way of using great tools, make it glow or remove shine, hide dark circles and spots/blemishes and brighten up under eyes (this part is perfect for guys too). Eye and lip makeup is refined while lips and cheeks pop with a healthy, well-blended colour. 

I was relaxed and ready.  Above all, I looked and felt amazing!!! So glad this is what I can offer to clients too. First look (bottom) is a softer, natural look, we all need that photo. The second look (above) is my fave personal style; smokey eye with a nude lip. The end result, are photos that are freakin' amazing...so good in fact that it was tough to choose. 

Why you need a makeup artist.

  • Makeup artists understand the lighting on set is much different from your lighting at home.  We know what will be picked up by the camera and adjust accordingly. 
  • We see ALL the angles that you don't and take care of them. Trust me, you'll be glad you had me help you.
  • You've invested in the professional photographer. Why are you skipping out on the details of your personal appearance? Go the distance people...I make sure those details being photographed, your face, hair and outfit are seen in the best-polished look.
  • You should be moving around changing a pose to adjust those things.
  • Your photographer has the big picture in mind - lighting, background, posing you and getting your best angles, they just can't see it all. As a makeup artist, I'm that other set of eyes looking at those small details. We are a team!!
  • Makeup Artists are the pre-photoshop stage. It may actually cost more in the end than hiring a makeup artist to have your picture fully retouched afterwards (time and experience cost $) 
  • You want your clients to trust you with the details of your expertise...trust me with yours.
  • These pictures are an investment that could go a couple of years if done well from the get-go. 
  • Relax and don't sweat the small stuff. I got you, I want you to look great as well. May even want to use your pictures in my portfolio. 
  • Ease into the session. Feel the pampering that you deserve. (I didn't want to be concerned with messing up my own eyeliner before pictures, that can happen on a regular day to me, lol)
  • A makeup artist attending to you before photos are about having a set of eyes viewing you differently than you see yourself. Working with you to enhance the best.  
  • You deserve to look and feel your best. Feel like a superstar. 
  • My job doesn't end there. I go the extra steps and can help with hair touch-ups, make sure makeup gets any adjusting during lighting test and through the shoot. I keep an eye out for flyaway strands of hair, fix a jacket or shirt so it isn't bunched up and I have been known to help match outfits and accessories before the shoot.  
  • Bonus: Hello, you are in the chair of a Makeup Artist... I love to share beauty tips and recommendations if you ask.
 Photo:   Michelle Valberg                  Makeup:  Angelina Luigi

Photo:  Michelle Valberg                 Makeup: Angelina Luigi

And by the way, what is talked about in my makeup hair stays in the makeup chair. I value the trust you have put in me to put your best face forward and give it back to you.

Have you ever had head-shots done before? Did you love or hate them? If it's time for new ones, perhaps I can help? Reach out and we can chat about ideas and some photographer recommendations.

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Magic Metals - Mini Eye Palettes By Huda Beauty

 Huda Beauty Palette from  www.shophudabeauty.com

Huda Beauty Palette from www.shophudabeauty.com

I’ve always loved the shine of metal since I was a child, something so luxurious with it. It goes back to a ring I found in the neighbourhood, dug it out of the dirt when I was about 6 yrs old. I ran home with it and showed my mom that "I found a real ring" (yep even then I knew the good stuff) Now as a Makeup Artist, I adore shine and shimmer and love mixing metallics. #MelodysMixology

Honestly, I'm a little bored with a new launch every 5 minutes. I'm not hypnotized by the media hype, many of them are just meh anyways. However, should a palette  A) have great shades B) have quality pigments C) have textures that are blend-able D) more timeless shades, perhaps I'll take a closer look. The Huda Beauty "Smokey" Obsessions caught my eye while I waited in line at Sephora. (not on Huda brand-wagon either, read exceptions A-D above) It has a beautiful colour payoff, super velvety to the touch and a friendlier price than most. At only $35 it was an easy purchase for experimentation In the Beauty Lab. 

My fave makeup/fashion motto: “It’s never too early in the day for sequins and smokey eyes” Please don’t be afraid of these shades, they can be worked softly and I share a few beauty tips below. These are neutrals, they'll go with any outfit you wear. The choice is yours of how soft or intense you want to pull them off. Absolutely ANYONE (any age and skin tone) can wear it!


  • Tap a shiny or shimmery shade on to the centre of the eyelid after your done with the eye look for an instant pop of light. 
  • Metal shades can be worn over the eyelid fully as their own colour. Sweep a little across the lid for a sheer version OR pat it on to build up the boldness of it. Go bolder and use a metal hue under the lower lash line.
  • Apply matte shadows first, then blend a metallic over top to alter it. Example black matte eyeshadows first, then topped with gold or silver will make the metallic deeper.
  • Apply metal shade first (see step #2 above) Then, in the outer corner add a touch of one of the deeper matte shades. Blend softly into lid but not too far across. You just want to keep it in the outer corner and soft looking.
  • Use the deep matte shades as a liner instead of a pencil or gel. Instant, easy smake show. 
  • Bonus, if you want to add a bit of shine but not gooey gloss to your lip colour, pat a touch of one of the metallics to slightly alter the lip look.                                                                             
    This palette has great pigment, so you only need a little to start off with. I purchased it at  Sephora.

PS Remember that ring I found? It was a vintage white and yellow gold diamond ring. (love for mixed metals) My mother posted the lost ring and asked around the neighbourhood many times but no one ever claimed it. She saved it for me and I still have it.

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Simple Everyday: 4 Makeup Must-Haves


We are often bombarded with trends and getting the latest and greatest for our closet or makeup bag. It’s both exhausting trying to keep up and costly. However, the good news is we probably already have some really great items we've  forgotten about, hidden treasures. Soooo, I've got a beauty challenge for you and it won't cost thing! The inspiration came from my friend Alyssa who recorded me in her bathroom and opened up her makeup drawer.  

A Fashion Stylist and my beautiful friend, Alyssa is a minimalist and owns less both in her beauty drawer and wardrobe. She is very mindful of what she purchases and sticks to more classic and timeless ideas. So we thought we'd do a fun challenge: To use what she had and create a classic look that fit her personal style and go day to night if needed.

So here is your challenge:
1) Watch my video for suggestions and tips.
2) Look through your drawers and makeup bags to work with what you already own (unless it's expired or very old, that’s the only reason for something new and it should be a classic piece, not the latest unicorn shade ; ) 
3) I'm not even going to show any new beauty items to tempt you with either.
4) Share what hidden treasures you found to create your minimalist makeup look in the comments below.        

If you’d love the same type of help and inspiration for your closet, please visit Alyssa at Ms. Beltempo for great wardrobe and style tips. She is all about working with what you own, wearing it several ways, vintage and thrift shopping plus much more.

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Glow All Year - 3 Ways to Bronze it Up

 Click image to shop Guerlain at Sephora

Click image to shop Guerlain at Sephora

When you long for the long warm days filled with sunshine and the glowing complexion that the sun provides, bronzers and self-tanners are the way to go. Here are three ways for you to hold on to Summer any time of the year.  The secret is to go easy with what you choose so it compliments skin and looks chic my friends. Not overdone roasted chicken and cheap like the comedic character Magda from Something About  Mary movie LOL. 

For the face, I highly suggest matte formulas of bronzer year round. As a makeup artist, they look more elegant, subtle and can be layered for more color in the warmer months when you may have extra color. I love the luxury of a Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer, they always create new versions too (I've always had one, repurchased many times over 22 years since working with them way back as an account executive)  You can also look at Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzers  


Step 1 -Apply bronzer to the cheeks first, with any colour left in your brush move to...
Step 2 - go along the forehead and temples (closer to hairline) for shading (not contouring) It's soft and understated.
Repeat Step 1 to build colour. 

 Clarins Canada

Clarins Canada

Want something that doesn't wash off at the end of the day? Time to reach for self tanners. For a subdued tan and easy-to-use daily formula Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster (face or body bottles) These were introduced to me by one of my besties and are simply added by the drop(s) into your daily moisturizer or body lotion for a subtle warmth to the skin.


Just know that if you use any exfoliant (including AHA's, acids, peels, retinol type products) your self-tan may not last as long as mentioned on the package.


My friend noticed something interesting...she is like the most awesome research gal ever, and thought you may like to know too! The ingredients for both the face and body (as written on their boxes) are the same and in the same order. Yet the prices are quite varied between the body drops, face drops and the men's drops??  Here is the $ breakdown:
Body is 30ml/ $46  - BEST PRICE  (Clarins on-line or Sephora)
Face is 15ml/$32 (Shoppers Drug Mart)
Men's Drops 15ml/$30  - WHY LESS FOR MEN?  (Clarins Canada on-line)
Which ever you choose, it's a great product to try for those who tend to shy away from most self-tanners. I do use a few more drops then actually suggested.

       Click to shop Canadian site

      Click to shop Canadian site

Sometimes you just want head to toe bronze that lasts for days. Adjusting the intensity of shades per season is the key beauty tip here. Remember we want chic (think JLO glow)  I LOVE the Cocoa Brown Tan, believable results in an hour. In cooler months I personally go down a shade and reach for the medium so it shows, but not trying too hard if you know what I mean. In the summer or before a beach vacation I use the dark so I get my vacation vibe on before I land. PS check out their Shimmer Oils. Tan or no tan these are sexy on the skin!

What are your favorite bronzers and self tanners? Share them in the comments below for all of us.  Never miss a post or update, sign up for your In the Beauty Lab newsletter. 

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Beauty On Repeat: Those Top Items You Can't Be Without

We all have our favorite beauty items, you know the ones we can't be without perhaps faithfully used for years or have definitely been repurchased several times. Tell me yours in the comments below I would love to discover new items. While I have a lot of faves and items I rotate with, here are a few top faves that I have personally repurchased.  

Top Row (L - R)

Carmex lip balm Not the prettiest packaging but I've been purchasing it over 25 years - there is always a tube of it in coat pockets, purses and the night stand. I use the squeeze tubes at home and the pot version in my pro makeup kit. I use original formula only, the one with salicylic acid because it is the ONLY thing that will get rid of my chapped lips not cover up the problem. Plus it gives shine.

Black eyeliner is a makeup bag staple for me and my artist pro-kit. This has to be my favorite eyeliner pencil to date. The Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl pencil is the creamiest texture, it glides on and you can smudge it so it is the sexiest smokey eye look hence the shade name 'Bedroom Black'. I do have other shades but it is the black that I have purchased 7 of since its launch in the US. 

L'Oreal mascara It's usually the Voluminous version I tend to repurchase although I have tried the Lash Paradise and like it and have bought a few. Voluminous is the brand you will find in my professional makeup kit. It's the creamy texture I love that layers easily and the price point is pretty good. 

(Bottom Row L -R)

AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Cleansing Foam - I've bought this 3x (each tube lasts me 7-9 mths) and have a few friends hooked on it too. A foaming cleanser that doesn't strip my normal to dry skin type, smells wonderful and feels so luxurious on skin. A little bit is all you need.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew - if you are hesitant on using facial oils (I adore them) with your moisturizer, then perhaps you would love this instead. It is a wonderful light lotion that lightly hydrates the skin plus floods it with antioxidants in a natural and organic formula. I'm on my second one and it last about 10 months for me. Just a few drops spread on skin before my moisturizer. It's one of Kypris' top sellers and I found mine at The Cure Apothecary Toronto.  

Since I've discovered Guerlain Terracotta bronzers, there is always some version of one in my makeup bag. I highly recommend this little addition of luxury to yours too. Guerlain continues to create beautiful formulas and shades and finishes of these, these are worth owning. 

Tell me what are your repeats and can't be without items??

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