Hope everyone had a great weekend! This weekend was a busy one - just wrapped up a wicked photoshoot with a super team, including photographer Nadia Cheema, who I collaborated on this project with. I'll post some of the behind the scenes photos later this week (need some sleep first!). I can't wait to see the end results - I'll post them as soon as I get my hands on them. You won't be disappointed - Nadia is such a talent and pleasure to work with. I can't wait to do more creatives with her in the upcoming year!

Speaking of photoshoots, here's another great capture of Joanna courtesy of Dave Abreu Photography. Enjoy and have a good night!!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:30 PM | , | 0 comments »

For brides-to-be in the GTA and Southern Ontario area, Toronto Wedding Professionals is an excellent resource for all things wedding. Check the site out and you'll also see some of my bridal make-up tips! As originally posted in TWP:

So now that we have a handle on how to get our best skin yet, it’s time for a pro make-up artist tip to help maximize your foundation application on the Big Day! Make-up artists everywhere swear by primers when doing bridal make-up applications. What is a primer you ask? Well, similar to priming your walls for paint application, make-up primer sets the skin for foundation application. The main ingredient in make-up primer is silicone; silicone sits atop the skin and smoothes out the surface to help achieve a flawless foundation finish. It also acts as a mattifier helping the make-up last longer and reducing excess shine throughout the day – which is particularly useful for all the cameras that will be flashing your way!

How to use it:
Once your daily moisturizer has had time to absorb into your skin (at least 10 minutes, preferably 30 minutes), apply a pea-sized drop of primer and distribute it all over face. I like to concentrate more of the primer application in the T-zone area, as this area of the face is more prone to shine for normal skin types. Give the primer 5 minutes to set and then run your fingers over your skin to feel the noticeably smoother consistency. Next, apply your foundation and blend well. Set the application with a light dusting of loose powder for flawless skin that’s Big Day ready!

Recommended primers

for normal to dry skin types:
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (approx. $40)
for oily skin:
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light (approx. $40)
To read more on the wonders of foundation primer, see post on Artist Tip: Primer is Your Friend.

More make-up tips to come!
Check out my blog at: www.artistrhi.com
Rhia Amio, Toronto Make-up Artist
web: www.artistrhi.com
email: rhia@artistrhi.com

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 3:58 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

As we approach the official first day of winter, the days get shorter and the latest trends in make-up have taken a turn towards the dark side. This year, the Fall/Winter 2008 runways (yes, sorry this post is long overdue) saw the return of a seasonal favourite - dark lips. Last year, it was red that was all the rage off the runways. This year, there was a noticeable trend of vampy, even some gothic black, lips. Now let's keep in mind that most runway trends are not meant to be interpreted literally as they aren't exactly wearable by your everyday woman. To translate this vamp look into something for the realway, try this out:

Clinique's Almost Lipstick in Black Honey initially looks pretty intimidating coming out of the tube with a dark black cherry like colour to it. Upon rolling it out of the tube, I actually had a flashback to the mid-90s when I experimented with MAC's deepest lipstick shade Film Noir. Needless to say, it was a passing phase...similar to any trend that comes off the runway!

Once applied, Black Honey goes on sheer and gives just enough colour to the lips. The Almost Lipstick formula is also moisturizing and feels great on the lips. Now, who doesn't love products that look good and feel good on the lips!

Usually, I stray away from doing both dark eyes and dark lips for make-up applications. Instead, I like to choose one area as the focal point of the make-up. With Clinique's Black Honey, you can very well still do a smoky eye and not worry about looking like you have too much on! Wear this look out for an evening on the town. After all, the vamps come out at night!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , , | 0 comments »

Ever wonder how the pros get the look of such fine, even borders around the lips? Aside from a steady hand (and tons of practice), there exist reverse lipliner products which are a godsend for those of us who don't get our lip application right the first time! Reverse lipliners come in handy for refining the edges of lip application and also help to prevent lipstick from bleeding.

Cargo's popular The Reverse Lipliner is pictured at left, but rest assured you don't necessarily have to shell out another $20 for a 'reverse lipliner' product. You can also use your creamy concealer as a reverse lipliner. Use it with either a q-tip or a concealer brush and lightly trace just outside the border of the natural lipline to essentially "erase" any jagged edges. Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone exactly and be sure to blend it so it's not visible. Otherwise, you'll end up with a light ring around the mouth!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , | 0 comments »

Here's a pic of the gorgeous Maylynn from a bridal trial we had this past weekend. Maylynn is getting married next year and she's definitely going to make a gorgeous bride!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 6:58 PM | , , | 0 comments »

Rarely do I come across a 'long-lasting' product that lives up to half of its proclaimed hype so I was quite impressed when I gave MAC's Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour a test run. I've tried a couple of other "long-lasting" lip products before, but on both occasions found the formula to be so drying to the lips that soon enough a re-application was required anyway! The MAC version is similar to other long-lasting lip products out there: a double-sided tube contains the colour on the one end and the sealer on the other end. But unlike the versions I've tried, the MAC lipcolour actually felt very comfortable on the lips without drying them! The colour did fade slightly and lose its 'lustre' during the initial three hours, but the bulk of the colour lasted until I went to remove it. Removing it is another story - be armed with a heavy duty make-up remover and be prepared to pat down the lips with it. (You might also want to pack some concealer to blot and neutralize the lips with, especially if you're changing up your lip colour throughout the day. Yes, the stuff is that strong!)

Overall, MAC Pro Longwear Lustre Lipcolour is a great option to add to your personal kit. I'd recommend it particularly for women who like no-fuss make-up and for women who tend to have trouble with their lip gloss bleeding outside the lipline. The lipcolour is also an ideal product for brides who need to maximize the life of their Big Day make-up - this way you'll still have some colour on the lips even post matrimonial kiss! Enjoy!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:00 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

To add volume to the lips without having to go under the knife, try some strategically placed lip gloss. You don't have to apply gloss all over the lips, which is especially great for those of us that aren't lip gloss kind of girls. Just concentrate a bit of gloss on the middle of the bottom lip and blot. Apply a couple more layers if desired. The gloss will reflect light (rather than absorb light as a matte colour does) and help to create the illusion of fuller lips.

To play down the lip volume, opt for a flattering colour at least 2 shades darker than your own lips. Darker colours will make lips appear smaller by doing the opposite of gloss and not reflecting light. Avoid the use of gloss to minimize the appearance of lip size.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 10:45 PM | , , | 0 comments »

There are certain types of make-up products that I would advise splurging on, while for others, going for the deal is definitely recommended! Here's when to dish out the dollars and when to save your bucks:


Foundation and Powder
When done right, foundation and powder make the skin look absolutely flawless without looking like you have anything on. Part of the trick in making foundation work is narrowing in on the right colour and formula for your skin type (see here for tips on how to pinpoint your colour of choice and here for how to choose the right type for your skin). When the skin is perfected, other make-up is just icing on the cake! Glowing and even skin also gives you a more healthy and youthful appearance - and who doesn't need a little of that every now and then?? Foundation and powder are definitely worth the splurge!
Fave foundations: FACE Atelier, MAC Face and Body, Stila, MAC Studio Fix
Fave powders: Vichy Dermablend Loose Powder, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish
The more you shell out on an eyeliner, (usually) the better the quality. I consider eyeliner one of those staple items that transforms my look (i.e. I can't live without it!). For an everyday basic, I think eyeliner is worth the splurge.
Fave eyeliners: Make-up Forever Aqua Eyes eyeliners
Lipstick is another product that can dramatically change your look. You just need to do a double-take of that lady you know who wears red lips all the time, and then look again when her lipstick is gone after lunch. Lipstick adds instant pop to the face and one tube can last you quite a long time. For another staple product that you would apply everyday, you might as well treat yourself - opt for a quality lipstick that is highly pigmented, lasts long and moisturizes all in one!
For a product that should be replaced every 3 months, mascara is definitely one item that you should go for the deal on. There are plenty of great mascaras out there to choose from and the beauty is that you can try them all until you zone in on your fave!
Fave mascaras: L'oreal Voluminous, Cover Girl Lash Blast, Maybelline Great Lash Mascara
Eyebrow Pencil / Eyebrow Kit
You don't need to dish out on an expensive eyebrow kit to achieve your best brows yet! Some of my fave eyebrow pencils come courtesy of Rimmel, available at your local drugstore. You can even make your own "eyebrow kit", by pulling out an angled brush and browsing through the eyeshadows you already own. For dark brown to black hair brows, choose a black brown eyeshadow in a matte texture. For lighter haired brows, choose either a taupe or a hazel colour also in a matte texture. Use the technique described here to perfect the brows.
Fave eye pencils: Rimmel
Highlighting Eyeshadow
You would likely spend more on an eyeshadow because you were looking for either a trendy, well-pigmented and creaseproof colour. Highlighting eyeshadow is typically applied to areas that aren't prone to creasing (i.e. atop the browbone) so you don't necessarily have to worry about it being 'crease-proof'. Go for the deal here and instead save those dollars towards higher end eyeshadows in deeper/bolder colours that are long-lasting and crease-resistant.
I haven't met a gloss that I didn't want to touch up after half a day's wear. Even the overly sticky glosses that are meant to be long-lasting still look and feel better on the lips within 3 to 4 hours of a new application. Save on gloss to stock up on different types or to indulge in other make-up products!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 10:00 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

Another pic from the photography workshop last week - this time courtesy of Steve. Our model, Erin, has such gorgeous features and huuuge eyes - I could play make-up with with her all day! Looking forward to the next time :)Make-up: Rhia Amio (www.artistrhi.com)
Photo: Steve
Model: Erin

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 6:00 PM | , | 0 comments »



This week I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the lovely Emily at a bridal trial for her upcoming wedding next June 2009. Emily had me laughing throughout the entire session even though it was our first time meeting! It's moments like this when I have the chance to connect with clients who let me in on their special day that make me sincerely appreciative of being able to do what I love. So, thank you Emily and all the brides that have contributed to who and where I am today. Next year's shaping up to be another great one in make-up already! For now, here are some pics from my fun night with Emily:

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:43 PM | , | 0 comments »

Now that a fantastic wedding season has quieted down, I've been trying to work on more creatives with photographers and models. Here are some pics from a photography workshop I helped out with last week. These wonderful captures come courtesy of Dave Abreu:Make-up: Rhia Amio (www.artistrhi.com)
Photo and Post-Processing: Dave Abreu Photography
Models: Joanna (top pic), Sterling (bottom pic)

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:30 PM | , | 1 comments »

Check out Make-up Junkie's extensive post on the gift of gloss this upcoming season! I got to test-run Benefit's Peace, Love & Glossiness set and it's definitely an item that will be on many a wish list. Gloss on!
Benefit's Peace, Love and Glossiness makes the perfect Christmas gift of gloss this holiday season! Lip gloss fanatics and Makeup Junkies will love the set of 3 gloss duos that contain 6 of Benefit’s most popular lips glosses with such irresistable names: 1. My people, Your people, 2. Talk To My Agent, 3. 24K, 4. Who Does Your Work?, 5. Magic, and 6. Kiss You.

Shine-on with Smart Packaging
I test ran the lip glosses this week wearing it from my daytime job to a night out. I did touch up mid-day after lunch to keep the lips looking glossy-fresh. The shine of one application was just right for an all-day look and perfectly suitable for a corporate office, where you may want to ensure co-workers are not distracted by over-glossed and gooey lips. What's great is that you can easily change up your look for evening with any of the alternate glosses in the set, and all you have to carry is one tube for 2 different looks! Well, unless of course you’re a super junkie and want all 6 glosses handy!! (Guilty as charged).

Stick factor
The glosses have just the right amount of stick to give a great shine, keep the product where it belongs, and not catch your hair as it blows in the wind! The downside of not being too sticky is that a midday touch-up is likely necessary, as the product will tend to wear away sooner than an overly sticky gloss.

It does have a slight fragrance-y smell that was initially noticeable. I tend to use products without fragrance (as a personal preference), but overall the smell was negligible and not unpleasant.

Benefit's Peace, Love & Glossiness set is limited edition only and at a steal of price of $30 for the six glosses, it's surely not going to stay on store shelves very long! It definitely makes a great gift, but be careful when buying it that you don’t end up keeping it for yourself!

Available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart or online at www.benefitcosmetics.com

Read the full post at Make-up Junkie.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:30 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

Today in Toronto, we had one of the coldest days yet this fall season which served as a quick reminder of the chilly winter months ahead. Winter weather is something that I (and my skin) can never get used to. The colder and drier temperatures tend to make my skin dull and dry. So to avoid the winter skin blues, other than diligently applying moisturizer, I use bronzer and/or highlighter to add a glow to otherwise lacklustre skin. Bronzers and highlighters aren't seasonal products that are only limited to the warmer summer months. Rather, they can be used all year-round, as glowing skin never goes out of season!

I love MAC Mineralize Skinfinish powders for achieving this effect, but another favourite product that's available at your local drugstore (at a fraction of the cost) is Bonne Belle's Glimmer Bronze. Glimmer Bronze goes for only about $6 per container, and the effect it achieves is priceless. You only need a tiny amount per application (remember starting off with less and building layers is always better than ending up looking like one of King Midas's victims!) . Use Glimmer Bronze with a clean blush brush (a powder brush will be too big). Sweep the powder atop the cheekbone to bring this area of the face forward and to get your glow on!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 10:32 PM | , , | 0 comments »

Q: Help! No matter what product I seem to try, my eye make-up seems to have a mind of its own and give me raccoon eyes by mid-day. What products or make-up artist secrets are there to keep my eye make-up from wandering?

A: Here are a couple of tips that I abide by, especially with my bridal clients who require extended wear from their make-up application:

1. Use waterproof products to minimize any eye make-up transfer.
Waterproof mascaras, liquid liners and gel liners are at the top of my list for waterproof/water-resistant eye make-up. If you prefer pencil eyeliner, opt for a waterproof formula. I swear by the Make-up Forever Aqua Eyes collection.

2. Pat the eyelid area with some translucent powder or your powdered foundation.
Some women tend to have eyelids that are more on the oily side (nothing wrong with that – more natural moisture also means being less prone to wrinkles!). Dusting some loose powder on the lids will help to keep your eye make-up in its place and also act as a great base for eyeshadow application.

3. Use concealer to camouflage any darkness under the eye and set with a light dusting of powder.
Without concealer, migrating eye make-up will only make undereye circles look darker. When you’re doing eye make-up, remember to think it from a full 360° viewpoint: the eyebrows, eyelid and undereye area all play their part in framing the eye and need to be properly maintained for a make-up look fit for the pros! Applying some concealer and powder under the eye will also help act as a barrier to keep migrating eye make-up in check.

4. Avoid lining the inner rim (aka the waterline) with eyeliner.
Yes, lining the inner rim makes an undoubtedly gorgeous smoky eye look, but the look only stays fresh for as long as the liner stays put (usually a maximum of 3-4 hours). This area of the eye is naturally “wet” and is a high transfer area. Once the eyeliner starts heading down south, the look can transition from smoky to spooky. Be prepared with some q-tips, concealer and eyeliner to do a touch-up throughout the day.
Alternate option: Skip lining on the inner rim and try lining just below the waterline, right at the root of the bottom eyelashes. I like to use either a brush-tipped liquid liner or a combination of an angled synthetic eyeliner brush with gel liner to get a precise (and water-resistant!) line in this area.

5. Bring a mini-touch up kit.
Particularly if you can’t let go of the inner rim lining, pack some items in your make-up kit for a quick touch-up at lunch time. Some q-tips, undereye concealer and your trusted eyeliner are some of the items you can include to keep your smoky eyes looking their best!

For related eye make-up tips, see:
ARTIST TIP | Mastering the Smoky Eye Without the Mess (Part I)
ARTIST TIP | Mastering the Smoky Eye Without the Mess (Part II)
BEAUTY 101 | The Basics of Concealer
Q & A | How to Cover Undereye Circles
Q & A | Choosing the Right Eyeliner Product For You

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:30 PM | , , , , | 0 comments »

Once you convert to using eye make-up brushes, you can never revert back to using eyeshadow applicators or your fingers! Here are some of my fave brushes, at the lower end and higher end price range. You can decide whether to go for the splurge or the steal (I went for both!):

Crown C138 Round Countour Brush ($3) vs. Inglot Crease Brush ($18)
The crease brush is one of those products that changed my life. Seriously. Particularly for my Asian eyes, the crease brush is perfect for adding dimension and building depth into the crease. Other eyeshadow brushes just don't do the same justice as this pencil tip does. I love Inglot's crease brush for the tapered and stiff brush tip, and the Crown brush C138, even though shorter handled, is a suitable replacement. Imagine though - for the price of one Inglot brush, you can get 6 of the Crown brushes! Yes, this one's a no-brainer.
The verdict: Steal!

Crown BK16 Mini Smudger Brush ($3) vs. Dior Backstage Eyeliner Brush ($25 US)
Dior's Eyeliner Brush is a personal fave for lining the eyes for a sultry, smoky look. The Crown brush achieves the effect just as well, but the bristles aren't as tapered so you have to use a lighter hand in application. Both brushes are perfect for smudging, and work great at lining the eyes when used wet with eyeshadow. I still prefer the Dior brush in this case as the tapered edge makes it easier to draw fine lines...and I'm a sucker for the nice packaging too!
The verdict: Splurge!

Elegant Faces Blender Brush ($13) vs MAC #224 Tapered Blending Brush ($33.50)The tapered blending brush is another brush that made eyeshadow applications easier. I'm a huge fan of blending and prefer a non-powdery look to the eyeshadow. Before the blender brush I was using my finger or a small dome eyeshadow brush to do all the softening of the applied colours. The tapered blending brush is perfect for achieving that diffused look so you can't see any harsh distinctions between where one eyeshadow begins and ends. I love both of these blending brushes: I use the Elegant Faces one for smaller-eyed beauties, and the MAC one for larger-eyed beauties. The blender brush is also great for lightly dusting on powder and setting undereye concealer without making it look too cakey.
The verdict: Splurge and steal!

Crown Mascara Fan Brush ($3) vs. MAC #205 Mascara Fan Brush ($20)
The mascara fan brush - such a simple idea that works! Use it when you're applying mascara to evenly distribute the mascara and immediately get rid of any visible clumps. I believe the MAC mascara fan brush is only available through the Pro stores. At only $3 a brush, the Crown version is definitely the better deal - and you can stock up instead of paying the price of one higher end equivalent!
The verdict: Steal!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:30 PM | , , , , | 0 comments »

Ok so we all know and love the benefit of quality brushes for our make-up application, but that doesn't mean we have the same fuzzy feeling about the prices usually associated with them. I had been anticipating the Canadian Make-up Show in order to stock up on Crown brushes (among other highly coveted make-up goods) . A grand total of 45 minutes at the Crown booth, a swipe of the card and a bag of goodies later - I was a happy camper!

I've spent a lot on brushes throughout the years - some worth the cost, some not so much. Crown Brushes and Elegant Faces are two great places to check out for affordable and good quality brushes. At the Crown booth, I didn't see a brush more expensive than $15! I know - I was in awe. I walked away with absolute steals for the prices I paid (I felt like I was the woman in the IKEA commercial! "Start the car! Start the car!") For the aspiring artist, it's always great to have multiple back-up sets of brushes, especially when you do weddings and group appointments. Here are some recent additions to my kit from from Crown and Elegant Faces and their comparable higher end counterpart:

Elegant Faces Foundation Brush ($24) vs. MAC #190 Foundation Brush ($38.50)
Both brushes have a concentrated amount of synthetic bristles that taper towards the tip and make them perfect for blending. I equally like the way foundation glides on with both of these brushes, but with the price difference the obvious favourite is the Elegant Faces Foundation brush (top brush above).
The verdict: Steal!

Crown C309 Studio Professional Jumbo Chisel Powder Brush ($10) vs. MAC #150 Large Powder Brush ($50.50)
The Crown Brush (top brush in picture above) is shorter handled, but has a concentrated amount of soft natural hair bristles just like the MAC Large Powder Brush (bottom brush). To build up powder coverage or apply a light dusting of powder, the Crown Brush is just as effective and definitely a better deal! Go for the steal!
The verdict: Steal!

Crown B2K Luna Series Unique Pointed Dome Brush ($9) vs. MAC #129 Blush Brush ($41)
I love MAC's Blush Brush for the soft-rounded dome that allows for smooth blush application when both contouring or dusting the apples of the cheeks. Crown's Pointed Dome Brush is a comparable equivalent and blends just as well, but I'll admit that although the bristles are soft, they're not as soft as the bristles of the MAC brush. For the $40 difference in price, you can decide if it's a worthy trade-off!
The verdict: Steal!

Crown Badger Kabuki Brush ($8) vs. MAC #182 Buffer Brush ($55)
In this case, the MAC Buffer Brush is a clear winner. Yes, the difference in price should ensure there is a definite difference in quality, but you just need to rub your fingers across it to feel how soft it is and see how it has the most concentration of hairs. I also like how the MAC Buffer Brush has a taller handle and shorter bristles, which makes it perfect for buffing. The bristles of the Crown Kabuki are quite soft as well, but much too long for buffing the face. Either way you choose, this brush is a great addition to the kit for any make-up artist - just smooth the brush over your client's face after the application for a mini-massage treat!
The verdict: Splurge!

Check back as I'll also do a comparison post for eye make-up brushes!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , , , | 0 comments »

So happy that I was finally able to get a snapshot of this beauty so that I can show it off! (Last time we got together, silly me forgot to recharge my camera battery!) For today, we decided to bring the drama with the make-up and do a dark eye/light lip look for an evening wedding reception she was to attend. Gorgeous - I know!! Thanks, Marilyn!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:20 PM | , , | 0 comments »

I was first introduced to Embryolisse's Miracle cream when friends picked it up at the CMS last year. I've heard in past instances that the cream is an industry favourite (for top models and top make-up artists alike). Earlier this year, when it came time to replace the usual Neutrogena moisturizer that is a staple in my kit, I decided to try Embryolisse in its place. I mean who couldn't use a skin miracle and a cream that's top model approved?!

Needless to say, Embryolisse's Miracle Cream has become a kit essential! You only need a tiny amount of the lightweight product to get your moisture on. The formula works great for normal to dry skin types. The cream glides on smoothly and is non-greasy, absorbing quickly into the skin. It also doubles (well, triples and quadruples) as a primer, make-up remover and aftershave cream! I even made my boyfriend use it when he had forgot his shaving cream! The beauty of multi-purpose products - miracle indeed.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:00 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

At the CMS this past weekend, I had the opportunity to catch a panel of industry professionals discussing the ins and outs of the make-up business. There were many helpful tips and words of wisdom for both aspiring and even more established make-up artists. Here's my write-up, as originally posted on Make-up Junkie:

As a make-up artist and budding entrepreneur, I'm a huge fan of reading articles on others artists' experiences and (of course) self-help books! I was lucky to catch the Industry Insider Panel being moderated by Plutino Group Make-up Artist Jackie Shawn. I admire Jackie's philosophy of bringing out the beauty in everyone - it truly reflects how "down to earth" she is, even with all the accomplishments under her belt. The panel members included seasoned and successful make-up artists (each with a different niche) and Debbie Bondar, President & CEO of FACE atelier. If you weren't able to attend the CMS, here are some of the topics that were presented before the panel. I hope you find it as useful as I did!

What are the qualities of a successful make-up artist?

"Make-up is secondary – the relationship is first...Find out who they are and if you have any common interests before moving in." Keep in mind that when you apply make-up, you are stepping into someone’s personal space (most people aren’t used to having anyone that isn’t a loved one so close to their face!). Break the ice first to set any nerves at ease. You'll find the relationship building to be one of the most rewarding parts of the job, and hopefully, it will also encourage return visits (and referrals) from your client.

How important is speed?
For this response, the answer seemed to be “it depends on the work being done”. Take into consideration any time constraints, and instead of trying to do everything, “pick key elements/strengths” of your subject and know what will “read best on” camera to achieve your desired look.

How is the economy affecting the industry?
Economic times have been bleak, but rest assured there was hope for this question with Debbie's comment that “make-up is a recession-proof industry”. There will always be weddings, and always be women looking to buy make-up. Make-up is still an affordable option that can instantly help someone look and feel great (and it's definitely cheaper than buying a pair of designer shoes!). But the panel also pointed out that with tough economic times, there will likely be fewer paying jobs. With the constant influx of new artists in the industry, it likely means there will be more people competing for fewer jobs.

According to the panel of experts, that the best way to protect yourself is to know your market and remain flexible. Be prepared to re-evaluate your prices in order to be competitive, and make sure you're "on top of your art" to remain in demand. You don't necessarily have to lower your prices, but instead, you can offer free add-ons for services you would normally charge (i.e. eyebrow grooming, eyelash application). Be strategic and use smart, aggressive ads (hardcopy or online) to get yourself and the updated services you're offering out there.

Do you have any tips for negotiating prices?
"Know Your Market". The panel suggests cold calling your competitors in order to do your "market research". Inquire about the different rates for 1 person versus 5 people, and look at the patterns between the rates of different artists. Keep in mind that your rate in suburbia will likely vary from the rate clients will pay in a buzzing metropolis. Be realistic - your rates starting out will not resemble the rates that a top industry artist can command. (Well, your rates can be up there, but that doesn't mean people will be knocking on your day to pay you!). Even top industry artists take "low-paying" jobs to get better opportunities. Apparently, doing full-day magazine cover shoots only pays nominal fees of $75-$150 -- even to top artists! Yet, top artists "rationalize their losses" and instead view these shoots as an opportunity to get their name out there for more work. If you're stuck on negotiating prices, a good reference for a base price is the minimum amount you would need to spend at a make-up counter to get a "free" application. Usually, that price is $45 or a purchase of two products.

How important is it to specialize?
Being strong in a "niche market" can be beneficial, i.e. body paint and special effects. But overall, it is better to be "well-rounded - good at everything, and exceptional at a couple of things" to sustain your place in the industry. Be open to all calls that you receive. If you're "serious about make-up as your craft, you'll keep learning and growing" whether it be brushing up on product knowledge or updating your training.

Do you have any advice for new grads fresh out of make-up school?
Work with photographers who will make your work look better and stand out. If you can't work with the high-end photographer, try to work with his or her assistants. Build your portfolio constantly improving the quality of your photos (rinse, wash, repeat!). "If one door closes, remember that it opens in another direction."

What has been the biggest hurdle you have faced as a successsful woman?
"Overcoming mental blocks". Remember that attitude is everything. Negative thinking can be self-protecting but it can also be self-defeating. If you think "it's so tough to make it in this industry", you may be quick to give up and minimize your losses when it doesn't happen right away. Keep in mind that success doesn't happen overnight, and consistent hard work and passion can carry you through. When you're positive, you'll encourage others around you to be positive and they'll simply want to be around you more. Believe in yourself.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 10:00 PM | , , , | 2 comments »

I have a question about matching foundation with my natural skin colour. I test the colour of foundation on my jawline (at least that's what I always thought - correct me if I'm wrong). I have a foundation stick that matches perfectly with my jawline, but when I apply it to my cheeks and other areas of my face, there is a marked colour difference. It's much too dark/orange and doesn't match at all. Is it common to have areas of your face that are different colours? Once I blend in the foundation stick and use a finishing powder, everything looks fine (in my eyes anyways). Should I be switching to a lighter foundation that matches more with the rest of my face, and disregard colour matching with my jawline?

A: Great question! Yes, you are correct - the best place to test foundation is on your jawline so that it matches closely to the jawline and the colour of your neck. It is very commonplace to have different areas of the face with different tones, as pigmentation can vary (and usually the sun hits the top of the forehead moreso than it does the rest of the face!) But that's the whole point of foundation - to give coverage, even out the tone and make our skin look flawless without looking like we have anything on!

You won't need to switch foundations if it blends and matches with the neck properly. If you do go a shade lighter, you may risk looking too light and the foundation application suddenly becomes visible (and that defeats its purpose!). Basically, you want the colour to flow between these two parts of the jawline and neck - otherwise, you'll look like your head is detached from the body! A foolproof way to tell if the colour is right is to evaluate it yourself in the daylight with a mirror. You'll know the colour's right if you don't see it (no lines of demarcation here!). Hope this helps!

TIP: When shopping for a foundation, don't buy and settle on the colour before walking out of the store and evaluating the colour under natural light. (Natural light is the most harsh, so if it looks good in daylight, it will look great under any lighting!) If the salesperson really believes the foundation is the "best", then he/she will have no hesitation and encourage you to look at it under natural light before closing the sale. Test out the colour that best matches your skin, one shade lighter than it, and one shade darker. Don't blend the colour in completely so you can still see it a bit. Once under natural light, choose the shade that disappears into the jawline.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , , | 0 comments »

While we're on the topic of kit cleaning, remember if you have 6 empty MAC product containers - hang on to them! You can bring them to a MAC counter for recycling and in exchange you receive a free lipstick! Gotta love it.

You can find out more info on the Back to MAC recycling program here.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:31 AM | , , | 0 comments »

With the recent indulgence in make-up shopping, it was definitely time to do a kit purge and re-org. While rummaging through my kit, I came across a bunch of near-empty lipstick containers that were taking up unnecessary space and weight. Lipsticks seem pretty weightless individually, but adding 10 lipsticks to the kit means extra weigh-down, especially when there are alternate (and more efficient!) forms of transporting them! I did a recent post on the benefit of using palettes for aspiring make-up artists, but this tip is not limited to make-up artists only!

Rather than giving up on the near-empty tubes, here's a tip on how to maximize the product to the very bottom. You don't need to buy a fancy and over-priced lip palette (that has maybe one colour you like and three colours that are ok) when you can make your own! Just head to your local drugstore or even the dollar store to pick up a pill box. Yes, it's not as presentable as a blinged-out Christian Dior palette, but it's perfect for travel and ensures that even if you misplace it - no biggie - you still have the rest of the tube at home!

Ok, back to cleaning!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 11:30 AM | , , , , | 0 comments »

I attended Saturday's installment of the Canadian Make-up Show and had a fab time! I was thrilled to have the pleasure of meeting Michael DeVellis of the Powder Group. Michael is an industry veteran having (among other accomplishments) worked as Executive Director of Artist Relations for a little known company named MAC. Yeah, I know - he's kind of a big deal, right?!

Among other endeavours, Michael now runs the NYC based Powder Group, which offers resources for make-up artists and make-up lovers alike. The Powder Group brings current industry professionals to locations continent-wide to hosts workshops on everything from professional development to make-up techniques. The Powder Group will be back next weekend in Toronto, and I believe there were still just a couple of spots for the workshop being held at Industry Cosmetics (if they weren't scooped up already on the weekend!).

Another one of Michael's recent projects is On Make-up Magazine, a mag that focuses on the artistry of make-up with many of the professionals of The Powder Group as its contributors. Despite having so much on his plate, Michael's energy and enthusiasm was still constant and infectious. You could tell he really loves what he does, and that's always something to aspire to and be inspired by. Thanks, Michael!

To read more on the Powder Group, click here. Here are some shots from Michael's labour of love at the CMS this Saturday:...and of course the day wouldn't be complete without doing some damage of my own. These photos come courtesy of Crown Brushes, FACE atelier and my subconscious refusal to incorporate the words 'beauty budget' into my everyday vocabulary(!) :
A huge special thanks to Joy of Make-up Junkie for setting up the day and the quality time with Michael! Blogger high-five!

I'll certainly be posting shortly about these products and other tips I picked up from the seminars so stay tuned!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:01 AM | , , | 1 comments »

For me, there's no better way to start off a weekend (or a day for that matter) than doing make-up! Early Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of working with Gabriela, who was in town visiting Toronto from NY to attend a family wedding. Gabriela is a full-time portrait and fashion photographer and she said she wasn't used to being on the other side of the lens--but please--she's a natural!! Even though it was our first time meeting, she was very warm and friendly - we talked everything from fashion to family to Obama!
I hope to see you again soon on your side of the border - thanks Gabriela!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , | 0 comments »

MAC is terrific for the extensive range of pigments they offer. Whether you’re looking for something more neutral or more daring, you’ll find it here. Some of my faves and their uses include:

Naked and Old Gold
Use these neutral shades as a highlighter atop browbone, on the inner corner of the eye, and on cheeks. Add a bit to your lotion for a body glimmer.

Great for medium yellow and olive skin tones. Use dry for a subtle effect or wet your applicator for an intense shimmer atop the eyelids.

Matte Pigments
MAC Pro online offers pigments in matte formulas that are essential for any artist's kit. Some of my faves are Basic Red and Full Force Violet.

TIP: Combine any of the pigments with MAC's Eyeliner Mixing Medium and instantly have any colour of liquid liner your heart desires!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 2:00 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

Q: At what age, should I stop wearing shimmer?
A: First it's best to distinguish between shimmery, sparkly and luminescent make-up.

  • Modern shimmer has come a long way since it's '70s and '80s predecessors, when it had more of a heavy-duty glitter quality that matched the outrageous hair and make-up of the times. Today, shimmer beauty products are way more flattering due to advances in make-up technologies that allow for a smoother and finer jet-milled finish.
  • Sparkly make-up has larger glitter particles that are best left for 9 year old girl's dance recitals or a night out clubbing (for those 30 and under).
  • Luminescent make-up has tiny light-reflecting ingredients that help to give it a subtle shimmer. Luminescent products include foundations, concealers and powders.
With age, you do have to be mindful of wearing shimmer. For females in their teen years to their early 30s, shimmer is anyone's game. But as the skin tends to crepe up, women in their late 30s and up will likely have to adjust their make-up routines if they've always worn shimmer in the same way. For women in this latter age group, I would avoid using shimmer eyeshadow on noticeably crepey eyelids. We have to be especially careful with shimmery make-up, as we want people to notice you from across the room and not your high shine make-up! Instead of using shimmery make-up, choose luminescent make-up products as described above. These will help to give the skin a hint of shimmer, while the light-deflecting ingredients will help to take the focus off fine lines. A subtle amount of shimmer also helps give the skin a dewy glow that is characteristic of young and healthy skin. For tips on where to highlight, check out a previous post here. So as long as the choice and placement of product is adjusted with age, women of a diverse age range can pull off shimmery make-up - there is hope for us perpetual shimmer addicts yet!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , , , , | 0 comments »

The 2nd annual Canadian Make-up Show is making it's way to the Better Living Centre in Toronto this weekend. The CMS promises to be bigger and better this year with a slew of vendors, professional artist demonstrations and seminars. I'll be there throughout the weekend checking things out and reporting back along with the contributors to Make-up Junkie...and of course, I'll also be doing some damage to the credit card!

I've been anticipating the CMS to get a chance to stock up on Crown brushes, that are typically only available south of the border. Yes, serious damage. See you there!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:01 AM | , | 0 comments »

Get more bang for your buck by scooping up products that have multiple functions. Among some of the most versatile make-up products out there are pigments. Pigments can be used pretty much all over the face and are great for their shimmer factor that we have been discussing this week. Use it on the eyes, cheeks, body, and even on the lips! Here’s how to apply:

Apply an eyeshadow base first to help pigment adhere to skin and last longer. Build up the pigment to your desired intensity by layering it on with an eyeshadow applicator. Use a stippling motion to build up the colour. See post here.

Use a dense and clean blush brush or powder brush. Tap a bit of pigment into a separate container that’s at least wide enough to fit the span of all the brush’s bristles (or use a piece of tissue). Tapping a bit out rather than directly dipping your brush in the product has double the advantages:

1. gives you control over how much product you’re applying. Remember, especially with shimmer and the highly concentrated pigments, less is more
2. minimizes cross-contamination between your products
Use a light hand to apply it and blend it atop the cheekbones to add dimension to bone structure. For highlighting the cheeks, choose colours that have a subtle hint of colour that is enhancing to your skin tone:
fair tones - try an off-white to a light pink highlighter
medium tones - try a pale gold to a peach highlighter
dark tones - try a gold highlighter
Take the gloss wand out of the tube and swipe a bit on the back of your hand (distribute enough for one application of gloss). Take a make-up spatula and mix in your desired pigment. Again abide by the less is more principle: start with a small amount and mix before deciding if you need to add more. Apply away with your lip brush.

Make your own shimmer lotion by adding pigment to your moisturizer. Use all over the body or place strategically on collarbone and colletage.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , | 0 comments »

Since shimmer is an attention-grabber, we have to make sure that the areas we are drawing attention to are in check! Particularly, on a high-migration area like the eyelids, shimmer can go from fab to drab once the eye make-up starts to crease. Try these proactive steps to make your shimmer stay put:

1. Use a base. Distribute it evenly on the eyelid using a light touch with your ring finger (I know I'm using my pinky to blend out above I swear by MAC Paints and Paint Pots. For a neutral base, opt for either Bare Study or Sublime Nature depending on your skin tone.

TIP: Using a base will neutralize your skin tone and bring out the true colour of the shimmer you're applying. Applying a base will also help to absorb any excess oils on the eyelids helping your shimmer application to glide on more evenly and prevent creasing throughout the day.
2. Use a sponge-tip eyeshadow applicator (see pic above) to build up the colour of the shimmer. If you use a brush, use a patting motion to build the colour up. Brushing on the colour using a back and forth stroking motion will blend and undo what you've already done.
TIP: No need to spend lots of money on sponge-tip applicators. If you like the professional look of a long wand, Wal-mart has a great version that comes with replaceable tips all for under $2! Otherwise, buy the small eyeshadow applicators in bulk from a beauty supply distributor and save the real money for great quality brushes! ;)
3. Optional: Wet the sponge-tip applicator before dipping it in the shimmer for more of a high-power shimmer.

Shine on!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , | 0 comments »

We've been talking shimmer all week so I figured it fitting to review one of my fave products for getting my glow on! MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish (see picture at left) is a simple way to give your skin an instant wake-up. Mineralize Skinfinish has a high power shine that works perfectly to add dimension to the face. Use it sparingly atop the cheeks, browbone, inner corner of the eye and the cupid's bow of the lip. Blend thoroughly so that the achieved effect isn't screaming shimmer, but rather catches the light as you move your head at different angles. Highlighting is a wonderful make-up artist trick, but keep in mind to make it work for real life, its effect should be subtle.

Mineralize Skinfinish comes with options. You can either get it as a full compact (see top left pic) or as a duo with Mineralize Skinfinish Natural on the other half (see top right pic). Mineralize Skinfinish Natural provides more of a matte finish, but the baked-in minerals of this powder give more of a dimensional effect rather than regular and non-mineral setting powder.

Personally, I find powder highlighters a lot easier to work with than liquid highlighters. Liquid highlighters tend to dry fast and if not blended out properly can look like a bold bright streak. You'll know you've done it right as people will be complimenting your glowing skin and not your perfected make-up technique!

TIP: Make sure you take care of your skin with a regular cleansing and moisturizing routine. The shimmer of a highlight product can draw attention to bumps and uneven surfaces in the skin. If your skin tends to be more problematic, skip the highlighter on the cheeks but still use it on the eye area and by the lips.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , | 0 comments »

Shimmer is a gorgeous way to add dimension to your everyday look, but how much is too much shimmer? Some questions that I've heard are:

  • Can I wear shimmery make-up all over the eyelid and up to the browbone?
  • If I have shimmer on my eyes, can I wear it on my cheeks and lips too?
I find shimmer flatters the features best when it's not applied all over one area and all over the face at the same time. Wearing too much shimmer can definitely border overkill and leave you looking like a disco queen (which is fine if that's the look you're aiming for!).

To avoid shimmer overkill, combine and play up the use of different make-up textures. On the eyes, use both matte and shimmer eyeshadow formulas. Use shimmery make-up on the eyes, but then use gloss or a stain on the lips. You can still highlight the cheeks and the inner corner - just try to use a subtle highlighter with tiny light reflecting particles rather than a bold frosty highlighter. When shimmer has been applied everywhere, the viewing eye doesn't know where to set focus on. Just a hint of shimmer strategically applied is enough to make sure the attention is properly drawn in!

To get Mel's balanced shimmer look:
1. Use a shimmery eyeshadow on the eyelid and blend harsh edges into the crease. Choose a neutral shade that is at least 2 shades darker than the skin to add contrast. I used bronze on Mel below. Play around and try different colours on the lid.
2. Use a pale matte highlighting eyeshadow atop the browbone. I used a light peach matte eyeshadow on Mel, as white would have been too much contrast against her skin tone.
3. Apply eyeliner. I applied a turqoise pencil and then a black liquid liner tight to the lashes for something different, but use any colour your heart desires.
4. Apply a creme lipstick lightly on the lips.
5. Lightly dab a gloss starting from the middle of the lips and working your way outwards.

To see more of Melanie's different make-up look, click here.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 AM | , , , | 0 comments »

The technique of adding a highlighting product to the inner corner of the eyelid is a make-up artist favourite. Blending a bit of light shimmer in this area helps to catch the light and draw more attention into your eyes. If you examine photos of professional make-up closer, you'll likely see this popular technique in action.

For the application, I like to use a small, natural-bristled eyeshadow brush, as the smaller surface area of the brush helps give you better control over where the eyeshadow goes. For the highlighting eyeshadow, I either opt for MAC's StarFlash Eyeshadow in Grand Entrance or Inglot's Eyeshadow in #541, which both appear as soft peaches in their containers. Once applied and blended to the inner corner, they add a neutral and subtle shimmer. I prefer using these peach shades for all my applications, as it's tends to be more flattering on all skin tones than a shimmery white highlighter. The highlighting eyeshadow should be blended well enough so you don't see any harsh lines of where it starts and where it begins. Rather, when you move your head at different angles, you should see the highlighting eyeshadow catch the light.


  • Applied too much?
    Don't fret. Just grab a clean blender brush and use it to blend and buff off excess product.
  • Keep the look professional.
    Remember the importance of concealer, as drawing attention to uncovered dark circles would defeat the purpose of this look! Make sure the brows are well-groomed and use eyeliner/eyeshadow to add further dimension to complete your eye make-up look.
See Marites go from before to after here.

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 9:00 PM | , , , , , | 0 comments »

Here are more artist tips for building your kit. If you're a make-up addict like me, it's so easy to accumulate beauty products as time goes by. In the beginning as you're building your name and your kit, you'll want to give clients the impression that you're well-stocked with all the quality products that suit their needs. But as time goes by, and you lug your stuffed make-up case from job to job, you'll begin to wish there was a better and more efficient way to bring your product around.

I'm a huge fan of bringing only what you need - it's way easier on your arms and helps to lessen the chance of one of your beloved items going missing! Consider these tips for maximizing the most out of your kit space (and your valuable energy!):

Buy palettes.

a). Lipsticks
Use a thoroughly cleaned and disinfected make-up spatula to dig your lipsticks out of the tube. You can purchase an empty palette from a beauty supply company such as Japonesque (pictured at right). With the Japonesque palette, you have the option of adding your own lipstick colours (also great for use with cream concealers). Other cosmetic lines, such as Make-up Forever, offer their own refillable lip palettes that are customized to fit insert versions of their popular lipsticks.

I picked up my lip palette for $12 from a local Toronto company called Jordane Cosmetics . The palette pictured at right is from the Jordane website (I can't say that I have a blue lipstick in my kit!); the one that I bought came without any product, just the refillable container. The palette itself is made of a hard plastic that is durable, but doesn't crack when dropped.

What I love about this: You can easily mix back and forth between lipsticks to make up any colour your heart desires. Just make sure to do the mixing in a secondary container (or on the back of your hand) to keep the colours in the palette fresh and separated.

b). Eyeshadows
Many cosmetic companies offer easily customizable palettes. I stocked up on five eyeshadow palettes (addict much?) from my time working at Inglot (see picture at right), and now I'll have to go to Montreal (or Dubai, Australia or Poland!) whenever I need to restock on these.
At the lower end, Mary Kay and Avon offer refillable palettes while at the higher end, MAC, Make-up Forever and Bobbi Brown each do their version of a customizable palette.

What I love about this: Not only is this space saving within the kit, it's also environmentally friendly! No need for the excess product packaging that usually gets thrown away once the product is all used. Just drop in the refillable eyeshadow insert into the palette and go!

c). Blushes
Similar to the eyeshadow palettes, many cosmetic companies also offer blush palettes. My blush palette is from Inglot as well, but blush palettes are also available through MAC and Make-up Forever. Sometimes the palettes come mixed with a selection of eyeshadows, blushes and lip products, like NARS Bridal Palette featured at right. The mixed palette is a great kit addition for make-up artists who specialize in neutral and bridal looks.

What I love about this: Usually I use a combination of two blushes - one darker shade for contouring just slightly below the cheekbone, and one slightly lighter shade for highlighting atop the cheekbone (and blending out any harsh edges of the deeper blush tone). Having the blushes all under one roof means less fumbling around in the make-up kit looking for product and more time to spend on the fun stuff - actual application!

d). Concealers
Concealers come in all different colours and sizes: aside from the regular skin tone matching concealers, there are also colour correcting concealers. Rather than lug every colour of the colour correcting rainbow around, opt for an artist palette. I love the Lise Watier palette discussed in a previous post, and I also love the Make-up Forever colour corrector palettes that come in a range of tones to cover every ethnicity.

What I love about this: Just like lipsticks, when concealers are all in one container, you have the freedom of mixing. The Japonesque empty palette described above is also great for managing cream concealers in one place. Now you can mix with ease...like a true artiste!

Bring only what you need.
If you've already had a trial with a client and have gone through the items that you'll need, just bring those items. Be warned that sometimes your client may want to make adjustments to the look, so bring extra eyeshadows, blushes and lipsticks to have accessibility to different options. The foundation, concealer and powder will likely stay the same colour so you can ditch the ones you don't need and travel lighter!

Posted by Rhia Amio, Make-up Artist www.artistrhi.com | 12:00 PM | , , , , , , | 0 comments »
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