Makeup 101: 10 Things Not To Do


Should you be charged with crimes against beauty? We’re here to set you straight.


As seen in

Remember in high school, when passing the part of the building where the bad rocker girls smoked in the bathroom? Remember their magnificent floating heads of ginger just to their jaw lines and then, ffsstt!, white from the neck down?

Was one of those girls you? Admit it. Some of you have never graduated past those dark and lonely days.

Well, it’s time to put on your mortarboard and bid farewell to high school habits. Think of me as your valedictorian and take notes: 

Dark and light: foundation match

1. Take a deep breath and trust your professional cosmetician to divine your skin tone. Don’t spend 5 minutes insisting you’re dark and lovely if you make Cate Blanchett seem swarthy. Accept what you are – and then work with that palette. If it’s a deeper or bronzed skin color that you desire, don’t be tempted to go with a dark foundation. Although it seems counter-intuitive, match it to your skin tone, adding a powder or gel bronzer. 

When applying a bronzer (Tarte “Sunkissed” is my fav), think of how the sun kisses your face naturally. Pass your powder or bronzing brush at the forehead, cheekbones, across the nose and at the jaw line. If you feel the need to have that deeper skin tone in a liquid form, use a tinted moisturizer. They are meant to be sheer, they blend nicely on the neck and they will make your skin tone more believable than brazen.

2. For those dolls who crave the porcelain look, but clearly have a deeper skin tone, never fear. Remember the ginger-faced girl from the first paragraph – don’t be her Geisha Girlfriend. If it’s a brightness that you desire, try adding a liquid highlighter to your foundation or a powder highlighter on top of the foundation you have applied. Application of powder highlighters are applied in exactly the same manner as the bronzing powders – with care and love.

Eyeliner and mascara

3. Calling all gals who lived through any part of the 70s, 80s or 90s! Let’s talk about eyeliner. Remember junior high school when you first discovered this strange and mysterious product? Remember the great application techniques that you had: rimming the table of your bottom eye lid; putting your liner at the base of the bottom lash line and either smudging it out or leaving it as it was? Wow. That was a great look.  Nothing says “Talk to me!” like a nice, heavy bottom lid that makes you look tired, miserable and unapproachable. 
If your eye is large enough, go ahead and continue with the “smudge” technique, but add something to the top lash line. Smudge in a little liner to that lash line much the same way as you are doing to the bottom. You’d be surprised at how much happier your eyes look. 

On the other hand, those of you with smaller peepers should retire your bottom liner technique completely. It’s only making your eye look smaller. Instead, just add a little liner into the base of the top lash. Pop! Go the peepers. A light highlight shadow color on the eyelid will open them even more.

4. As for mascara, make sure that you are cleaning your eyes properly at night. Adding mascara to your lashes from yesterday and the day before produces three or four big spikes, a la Tammy Faye. If you are a mascara aficionado (and who isn’t?), invest in a good eye makeup remover, one with oil (the kind that the liquid separates and are generally blue in color). Don’t worry; the oil won’t give you zits around your eyes. Apply your mascara from the base of the lash, just hitting the tips. This technique works for everyone. It’s amazing how your lashes will keep separated by doing this as well.


Eye shadow and frosted brow bones


5. Can we talk about the urge to match? Just because you are wearing a purple suit doesn’t mean that you have to do up your whole face in purple. 


Do you remember, around grade 5 in art class, when you learned the color wheel? If you can find it in your catacombs, haul it out. Otherwise, visit your nearest Loomis and Toles to purchase one. This is your new oracle.


The simplest thing here is to remember: “opposites attract”. For example, you will notice that on the wheel, the opposite of green is red. I’m not suggesting to wear red eye shadows with green eyes, but anything that contains red (such as orange, purple or pink) will suffice.


6. Toronto Makeup Artist Lindsay LaRocque would like to remind you of frosted eye shadow on the brow, saying to “remember age appropriateness. If it looks crêpy, then don’t do it.” She’s right on the money, here.  When you think frosting, think birthday cake. And if birthdays fill you with more horror than joy – leave the frosted look for the kids. Don’t feel bitter, they won’t get away with it for too much longer.




7. What gives a great frame to an eye? Yes, you are right. A good brow. While a small percentage of you out there are hard to find within the forest that is growing around your eye, I know that most of you readers are not. If anything, you may suffer from the plight of walking a thin line. At this point, please refer to my article, The Fine Art of Brow Beating. Learn to get a great brow in a few simple steps.




8. In the cinema in my head, there’s a one-song soundtrack forever playing in the background. It’s Peggy Lee’s “Fever”. Blush too close to the eye will make you look ill. Do you have the desire to look like you are constantly suffering a fever of 102? 


Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. Place a little blush just where the top of the cheek pops out. This will provide a soft and youthful appearance. If it’s an evening look you’re striving for, add a little more blush onto the cheekbone and pop a little more above the temple, not in the temple. Remember, no fever. 




9. No offense to our fabulous Miss Pam Anderson, but overdrawing the lip just leaves you with a moustache after your lipstick or gloss has fled. If it’s fullness you desire, research local doctors and find a master filler. However, if you are lacking the necessary funds for lip injections, don’t compensate with lip liner. Go ahead and draw a little fuller over the lip if you have a non-existent lip, just at the top of your lip line and be sure to blend it in. Use lighter lip shades and a little gloss just in the middle of the lip. Over-glossing on any lip just gets messy and bleeds out past the lip line quickly, giving you a look not unlike a clown. And everybody knows that clowns are frightful. 


And finally…


10. Don’t be so attached to what you think looks great. It may have looked fantastic 20 years ago but remember that, as you graduate, so must your makeup.


These are the absolute, bare essentials, girls. Once you’ve mastered where you need to go with this, then go ahead and experiment.


The Fine Art Of Brow Beating

Architecturally, brows are the most dramatic part of the eye and, by extension, the entire face. You may have a great eye makeup application but, if you don’t have a properly shaped brow, you have bubkis.

When your brow job is closer to fascistic than fashionable, an angry, constantly happy, surprised or sad look may take up long term residence on your face. Before you even consider tweezing solo, study the brows of the sad girl in your office or local cocktail lounge who always appears miserable or worried. Is she suffering under the weight of a bad brow? Look closer. Then, put down your tweezers till you finish this article and nobody gets hurt.

So, what to do if you have a big ol’ bushy brow or – alternately – a soft, blonde and practically non-existent brow? 

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin…

Have fun with your brow, but beware of the little devil at your side that tempts you to over pluck. 
The most important thing when brow beating is proper measurement. To measure your brow, start with a pencil or the handle of one of your brushes and make a line from the outside of your nose (nostril) to the inner corner of your eye. See how far in or out your brow goes from that line. The inside line of the pencil next to your brow is where your brow should start.

Next, angle the pencil from the outside of your nostril to outside edge of your pupil. Where the end of your line meets the brow is where the peak of the brow should be.
Finally, use the pencil to measure from the outside of your nostril to the outside corner of the eye. Where the line of the pencil meets the “tail” of your brow is where your brow should end.

 Brow Measured  Brow After Brows Cleaned & Measured 

 brow measured (before)

 groomed brow 

 groomed brow measured 

Now, emulating Catherine Zeta Jones’ fierce brow is all about your arsenal. Today, we talk tweezers – future columns will delve into waxing and threading.



A great brow is only as good as your tweezers. My favorite brand is Tweezerman, but there are armies of stellar tweezers on the market. What I like about Tweezerman is the lifetime warranty:  if ever they become dull you can return them to the company for sharpening. FYI, I have never had to send my Tweezermans back in the ten years I’ve had them at my side.

If you’re a novice, the best-shaped tweezers that you can get are angled. These darlings boast a flat, angled edge that comes to a point on one side. This shape both allows for grabbing a forest of hair with the flat edge, and fine-tuning with the pointed end. 

When pruning, the most important thing to remember is to think, I am just cleaning up the area. Don’t go overboard and end up with tadpole brows or stark lines reminiscent of Gloria Swanson or Jean Harlow. I have heard hundreds of stories over the years from clients who were tweezer-happy back in the day and must spend eternity looking like Liza circa Cabaret. Take it easy, girls, a few hairs won’t send your true love scrambling for a weed whacker or divorce lawyer.

Use your measurement guides – trust me on this.

 What Not to Do: 'Walking the Line' Brow  What Not to Do: 'Tadpole' Brow

 don’t walk the line

 don’t make tadpoles

For those of you in the know who opt for a high maintenance regime, use tweezers that come to a fine point. This allows for maintenance and fine-tuning under and over the brow.

If you are lucky enough to have a robust brow, you’re unlikely to need a pencil or powder shadow. At the same time, if you are follicularily fortunate, you may wish to invest in a brow gel to keep the brow from being too wild kingdom.  (Try the gel in lieu of clear mascara; I have found that clear mascaras in the brow often flake!).

If you’re the gal that has either fine hair or blonde hair, you opt for the aforementioned brow pencils or powder shadows. Personally, if I’m using a pencil, I prefer one that has a powder content rather than a wax for you can go over it with a hard angle brush or mascara wand to soften out the look.  Wax, on the other hand, often has all the flexibility of JLo’s pre-nup agreements.

So, before you grab your instrument I have one last word of laving caution: Have fun with your brow, but beware of the little devil at your side that tempts you to over pluck.  It’s true that tweezing can soon become addictive and we’ve all seen the grim handiwork of an obsessive plucker.  Don’t succumb to the demons! Flick them away or poke them with your tweezers. But the fashionable girl need be ever diligent; for just like your brow hair, those demons just keep coming back.

Color Theory

(as seen in the fabulous online magazine

Jake Surette

Oh You’ve Got Green Eyes, Oh You’ve Got Blue Eyes… Sung to the tune of the classic New Order song, Temptation. Am I dating myself again? Let’s hope not. What’s more important is that you are not dating yourself. Of course, I mean in your makeup.  

I’ve talked enough in the past about what eye shadow colors are best for your specific eye color. I like to call them the “best ofs”. I’d like to go on the record now as saying that whatever your best ofs are, it does not mean that you are limited to these colors. Remember this mantra and you will be fine: the only rule to makeup is that there’s no rule.

Remember when you, your mother or your grandmother had their “seasons” done back in the 70s and 80s (and, sadly, still continued into the 90s and into today)? Forget about what season you are. Those of you who did have their seasons done should take those little swatches of fabric and chuck ’em. You are only limiting yourself. I think that whole idea was far more destructive to a woman’s psyche than it was a positive thing. Nothing like telling a woman what she can’t have to make her feel empowered.

That said, let’s review those simple little “best of” colors and follow them up with what else is great with each particular eye color.

Old blue eyes

As I’ve mentioned in past articles, brown, bronze, coral, orange and yellows are the best ofs for your baby blue peepers.

Have a look at these combinations:

Blue Eyes: Shadows: Bronze at the outer corner and lining the bottom, Copper in the crease, Coral over the eye lid.

Now, change it up a bit. Also smashing for blue eyes are every other color that does not involve blue, such as pink, purple, burgundy, copper and green. The sky’s the limit really. Well, not sky blue. (Sorry to all of you that learned from someone in the past that blue eyed gals should wear blue. It washes out the color of you eyes.)


Blue Eyes: Shadows: Soft Lavender over lid, Medium Lavender at lash line around the eye.

Brown eyed girl

Greens and blues are your ‘best ofs’. Have a peek at these combinations:


Brown Eyes: Shadows: Light Green on the eyelid, Aqua in the corner and lining the bottom eye lid. Black Kohl liner to define.

Don’t stop there! Other beautiful colors for brown eyes: pink, purple and burgundy. For example… 


Brown Eyes: Shadows: Aqua blue over the eyelid, Purple in the outer corner, into the crease and in the bottom lash line for definition.


 So you’ve got green eyes

The best ofs for green or hazel eyes are purple, pink and burgundy eye shadows. Check out these combinations:


Green Eyes: Shadows: Purple Classic Smoky (all over the lid and into the bottom lash line)

 Also great for green eyes are blue, brown, bronze, coral, copper and orange eye shadow.

Let’s take a look…


 Green Eyes: Shadow: Bronze eye shadow over the entire eyelid and into the bottom lash line; Copper shadow continued into the crease for a more intense smoky look.

Don’t be afraid to play

Application of eye shadows vary. Play around with the various combos that I’ve used above. For example, where I’ve played with a classic smoky eye in purple eye shadow for Green eyes, apply it the same way for brown eyes with purple shadow or for blue eyes with brown shadow. 

Don’t take it seriously. It’s only makeup; very easy to take it off if you’ve messed it up and very easy to start over again.

Have fun!

The Mythical Makeover

Lately, Deven Green has been entertaining me and a plethora of my friends with her series of dubbed videos of Brenda Dickson of 80s The Young and the Restless fame.

When I think of the word Makeover, my minds eye immediately sees the image above. Oh, Brenda.

Makeover is a term rampant from the 80s. It implies that you are not fit for the world. Further images of a mass of women sitting in Department Store Cosmetic Chairs being made over by other women who looked similar to the image of Brenda above (and whom still look like this but 25 years later) haunt me.

Makeover still exists, sadly. Preying on the insecurities of women everywhere, retailers convince women what their look should be based on the dictated Look of the season. It’s true. I lived it for years- I was that flamboyant gay guy who sold many of you The Look.

Luckily, women today are much smarter. And men too, for that matter. [We all know at least one Metrosexual.] Because information moves at such a rapid rate through the internet (or what my buddy Johnny calls The Oracle), people, in general, are much more educated and savvy as to what they want. The problem for people (from what I have encountered) is that, even though they know what they want, they don’t know how to get there. I have deduced that we all (at least in the Western World) play at least three different characters in our lives: Work Me, Home Me & Social Me. Another concern I have encountered from people is that all three of these characters can often meld into one more than not.

Even if- in most cases- peeps would rather have a little more distinction between their three faces of Eve. Okay. Maybe I’ve carried it too far, but you get my meaning.

The Studio offers makeup, hair and styling services that suit your needs and wants. Where you walk into most salons, you are inundated with having to become- at least a little- part of that culture. I am more concerned about being part of your culture, working with you and developing a look that works for you in every aspect of your life. Your Look has to represent you. Your Look shouldn’t necessarily own you, as it owns our dear Brenda above. Sure, sure. There’s a time and a place for pulling a Dickson. But we’re not always on a Red Carpet in 1984.

No. Own your Look or Looks. You should always have the final say of what you look like, appropriate to the situation, of course. And if you’re having a problem getting there, email me and let’s consult!

Please help me with some research!

Hi peeps!

I am conducting a survey on the personal care industry and I would LOVE to have your input on some questions. Please copy and paste this and answer it in “COMMENTS” or paste it into an email message and send it back to me at by Monday. Thanks so much for participating in this and helping me in my quest!


1. From 1 to 10 (1 being least important, 10 being most), please rate the following statements:

1. My hair is the most important thing about my personal style.

2. My makeup is most important about my personal style.

3. My clothing is most important about my personal style.

4. My hair and makeup is most important about my personal style.

5. My hair, makeup and clothing are all equally important about my personal style.


2. When choosing a place to have my hair done, the most important thing to me is:

a. location.

b. Price.

c. The stylist. I will go wherever he or she is.


3. I have my hair professionally done:

a. once a year.

b. twice a year.

c. three times a year.

d. four times a year.

e. five or more times a year.


4. Are the following statements true or false:

a. I have paid to have my makeup professionally done.

b. I would pay to have my makeup done.

c. I often pay to have my makeup professionally done.

d. I don’t pay to have my makeup professionally done but I do buy products after having it done.

e. I have no interest in having my makeup professionally done.


5. Are the following statements true or false:

a. I have paid a stylist to help me with my clothing/ personal style.

b. I would pay a stylist to help me with my clothing/ personal style.

c. I often pay a stylist to help me with my clothing/ personal style.

d. I don’t pay to have a stylist to help me with my clothing/ personal style but I do buy products after having been styled (i.e. in a retail establishment).

e. I have no interest in having a stylist help me with my personal style.


6. When it comes to personal styling (hair, makeup and clothing), I spend:

a. less than $200 a year.

b. more than $200 but less than $500.

c. more than $500 but less than $1000.

d. more than $1000 but less than $5000.

e. more than $5000 but less than $10000.

f. more than $10000.


7. Would you rather:

a. shop or have your hair/ makeup done at a large retailer (i.e. Macy’s, Nieman Marcus; The Bay, Holt Renfrew) than to go to a boutique?

b. shop or have your hair/ makeup done at a boutique than go to a large retailer?


8. From the previous statement regarding large retailer vs. boutique, please explain your decision.


9. Please rate the following (1 being most important, 3 being least) in order of their importance to you: Hair.




10. If you were presented with a space/ studio where you could have “one stop shopping” (hair, makeup, aesthetics, retail products, personal styling), would this be appealing to you?


11. Please take a moment to comment on what else might be important to you in having any image/ image modification/ personal care services (i.e. environment, personality of stylist, body modification; ANYTHING!). Thanks!

Check out House of Glamma! has officially launched!

Please take some time to look around. Although there are a few kinks to be worked out (!), it is looking pretty cute.

Stay tuned for step-by-step how-tos and video tutorials!

And be sure to let me know what you are listening to right now to be entered to win F-I-E-R-C-E House of Glamma swag!

Summer, Stars Down, Stars Up, Weddings and Over-all Feeling Good

I live for summer.

It is everything that is important to me: longer days, loads more sun; it’s great for the soul. 

As many of you know, I have worked as a makeup artist, hair stylist and stylist for many moons. 

Until two years ago TODAY, I had made my rounds working in the fashion, TV and Film, and Fashion House industries. The last of the preceding, I had spent many years working. I worked for a major label within the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey) groups and I thought it was the answer. 

In the last year that I worked for them, I began to write. Well, I had written before, but- mostly- that had consisted of either thesis and papers in University or preparing curricula for post-secondary schools or training material. No. I was writing about my experience; my expertise in the business. It got me. It had me. It made me realize that I was more than a cog in a machine. Which is what i had essentially become. Without realizing it. 

Two years ago today. Crazy how time shifts to going fast when you are doing things that you love. When I left this fashion house in question, I knew that I would have a go at it. I felt lost but at the same time, I had wanted out for so long. It just wasn’t who I was anymore. For all of the ups and downs that I have experienced in the past two years- for all of the struggles I have had to face- I stuck to my conviction(s) of both making sure I had work for myself, that I would work for my Self and that I would be happier in the end.

And I have had great successes. I am happy about that.

But I am bummed about a couple of things. With successes comes the nay-sayers- people that you have known and loved for a long time- that will stop at nothing to try to either bring you down or accuse you of being a Mr. Big Shot. I am not. But I do realize where a lot of it comes from. I have been that nay-Sayer. But, the more you see yourself for your Self and the more you are comfortable with the new niche that you are providing your Self as you move on, carry on, the more you recognize what and where those feelings from the nay-Sayers are. It stings- I’m not gonna lie- but it becomes clear. I remember the first time I felt this; the first time that I felt disdain from someone because I was doing something that was out of the norm or out of character. But- as I believed in my convictions- I was doing it. I was shunned by a lot of people. There were even rumors about me, about what I was REALLY doing and a lot of: “I don’t really believe this is happening” kind of thing. “How could he just do that?”

Sadly, I am 38 years old and this has happened to me a lot in the past few months. 2008 has shaped up to be a kick-ass year (the best in years). A lot of people that I have had familiarity with, I find that I do not anymore. 

I wish that I could share my joy with a lot of these peeps; a lot of the people whom I love. I wish that they would really want to do the same for/ with me. But that continues to be my wish-

And I carry on-

So, it is Summer. It is. Not officially, but it is.

I continue to be blessed. I will travel to LA to work a little more this summer (next week; July; perhaps more). Stars Down will be a hit. You will love their songs. You will hum them in your car and in the grocery store and in clothing shops around the country. It’s that kind of strength in music; in lyrics. I am glad to be along for the ride with these rising stars.

Stars up. The summer also brings meteor showers. My favorite. August- although a long way away- will bring the Perseid Meteor Shower. I will be somewhere far from a city and any city lights to be at one with the Universe when I feel closest to it; my spiritual nephew Joey in tow.

I have a few weddings to do and to attend. Which usually kinda bums me out but this year, I’m kind of looking forward to it. Who knew?

And that, mes amis, is where I am at the moment. Feeling good apart from the fact that I have had a few negative Nellies around me. Hopefully, they will change their mind. 

To all I say: Find you. Find your happiness. Do things for you Vessel that makes it happy; that feeds it.