by hellorousseau


“People can dress you the way they want, they can do your makeup the way they want, but they can never take away your voice.” – Sasha Grey

My mother gave me a tube of lipstick when I was six.

The packaging was a little faded, the black plastic sides rubbed raw from purse pockets and bra cups. I popped the lid off and twisted it all the way up. The top had curled around the shape of my mom’s lips. It was worn down about half way. I held it to the sunlight. It was clear. No pigment.

I clenched it in my fist when we left the car. I held it through our shopping trip at Garden City Mall. I held it during dinner. I held it while watching The Land Before Time, and I held it before I shut my eyes and fell asleep.

The next day I popped the lid off and twisted it all the way up. The heat from my hands had caused the top to slouch into a melted mess. My lipstick was no longer useable. I threw it in the garbage. 

Then, when I was a preteen, a friend of mine bought her first thong (which, by the way, was a really big deal).

“Don’t tell anyone,” she said, but I was excited- I had also bought an off-season, Christmas themed g-string with a snowflake sparkling on the front. Like, I was an adult now. I was buying adult things from adult stores. I was making adult decisions and no adult could stop me because I could not be tamed.

It wasn’t long until I had gushed to a few of my other friends about our purchases, and it wasn’t long until my friend found out I had said something about our grown-up underoos.

She came to the house where a few friends and I were supposed to hang out. Then she let me have it.

I apologized.

Then I bought her a tube of MAC lipgloss.

I handed it to her on the escalator at the mall after buying it at the makeup counter. She opened it, slid it out of the packaging, and twisted off the top. It was clear. No pigment. She put it in her purse.

As I started experimenting with makeup, I’d play with eyeliner, mascara, and copious amounts of bronzer. I’d try dollar-store cosmetics, Sephora cosmetics, and everything in between. Makeup to me was such a beautiful, challenging art, and I tried my best to do it properly, but there’s only so much a 14-year-old can do without looking like a troll-baby.

As my makeup collection grew, my lipstick collection stayed relatively small. I was afraid of drawing attention with bright colours and flashy pigments. I felt like I hadn’t earned the right to a bold lip, because I didn’t really have much to flaunt. I was a chubby, Emily Strange-loving, messy-haired teenager, who one time lost her retainer on salmon burger day and had to dig through the school garbage with a ruler to find it (thanks for the help, Marikka).

So I didn’t think I deserved to wear lipstick.

After all, who was I? Marilyn Monroe with her signature red lip? Dita Von Teese with her crimson grin?  Lucille Ball with her luxurious ‘lashes and royal reds?

To me, wearing lipstick was a big deal. It was reserved for women. Women who were looking to paint their pouts in powerful purples and persuasive pinks. Women who were confident enough to attract attention, and interesting enough to hold it. Women who took the time to add makeup artistry as an accessory. I was too insecure to try something daring, and I felt like I was unworthy of a tube of lipstick that wasn’t clear or glossy.

But then I started working at a makeup store.

I was immersed in hundreds of shades of red lipstick. I was lost in mattes and glosses. I tried on a stain, then a liquid lipstick, then a lip plumper (with a tint, and then without).

I tried on an orange, then a wine, then a violet, then a beautiful dark blue (with gold sparkles, of course). I started to learn what lipsticks looked good with what eye makeup, and how to properly contour my cheek bones (and a thank you to Josh). I became less terrified of fallout, more comfortable with applying mascara, and aware that primer goes underneath foundation and not on top.

Makeup makes me feel good about myself, and the skill is one that’s quite valued nowadays. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment for makeup artists to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2018, while the global make-up industry generated close to $35 billion in 2010.

People like their cosmetics, but very often we forget that on the other side of makeup artistry, there is an original, blank canvas. That before the confidence-boosting lipstick, the flawless foundation, the sharpened eyebrow pencil, the tacky eyeshadow primer, and the brightening concealer,

there is skin.


Josh: Contour Countess & Lipstick Leader

1. How has learning advanced makeup techniques changed your life?
Makeup techniques have definitely changed my mindset and how I view people. A lot goes into learning advanced techniques, and a lot has to be repeated and practiced so it becomes a habit. When I first see someone, I assess their face shape, eye shape, colouring, etc, because that’s what goes into advanced techniques.

I was a painter before I went into makeup artistry, so I’ve pulled a lot of the knowledge from painting into being a makeup artist. That has helped me in the learning process of advanced artistry. It has also made me a lot more confident when it comes to my abilities. A year ago, if I saw an intricate, beautiful makeup look, I would think, “I can never do that!”, but now that I know what I know, I can do anything.

2. What’s the best part about knowing how to apply makeup?
Making someone look and feel amazing. It makes them feel wonderful, and you feel wonderful as well. There’s no greater feeling than taking a step back from your final work and thinking, “Damn, this is beautiful!”

Once you’ve discovered what inspires you as a makeup artist, that’s when you can really let yourself shine. For some people, it’s using makeup to enhance their natural features. For others, it’s using makeup as a form of artistic expression, and as a medium for artistry.

3. How do you feel about ‘taking off your face’ everyday?
I’m someone who has suffered with acne for years. I’ve tried some of the most amazing skin care products and it has improved, but I just have acne-prone skin. It’s something I’ve come to terms with. Obviously I wish I didn’t need to use makeup to have amazing skin, but it has to come off- and there is no better feeling than having clean, fresh skin at the end of the day.

4. How has makeup made people around you feel confident?
Makeup has the power to cover physical imperfections.

If you have a scar, a blemish, a dark spot that is making you self-conscious, you can cover it and boost your confidence. I definitely notice people become more confident when they master a technique applying their own makeup. Liner can be tricky for people, but once someone masters it, they feel pride in themselves, and you can definitely see that confidence.

5. Pick a makeup technique and give me a step by step process on how to complete the look~
Everyone wants to create that perfect red lip. It boosts confidence, and can make you the centre of attention.

First, exfoliate the lips using a lip scrub, or even a tooth brush! To get rid of any dead skin cells on the lips, just gently buff the scrub on the lips and wipe off the excess.

Put on your favourite lip treatment or balm. Lipsticks stay on a lot longer on well hydrated lips.

Apply a red lip liner around your natural lip line. I recommend starting at the cupids bow, working your way outwards on the top lip, repeating on the bottom. Also, fill in the lips with the lip liner to give the lipstick something to stick to when you apply.

Apply your favourite shade of red lipstick overtop of the lip liner you just put on. For extra precision, use a lip brush.

To define the lips even more, outline your lips with concealer using a small flat brush. It is gonna give the lip line extra crispness.

This last step is optional, if you want that full pout lip: apply a dab of clear gloss to the centre of the lips to add extra plumpness~



Lauren: Eyebrow Emperor & Concealer Conquerer

1. How has learning advanced makeup techniques changed your life?
Learning techniques that are more advanced has helped me cater application to not only to my own unique features, but also a client’s unique features.

Having the knowledge about different skin tones, skin-types, and eye shapes allow for optimal confidence boosting in makeup artistry. At the end of the day, I feel that makeup is about enhancing those beautiful features you already have!

2. What’s the best part about knowing how to apply makeup?
I love how makeup can instantly change someone’s attitude. You could be having the worst day, but by almost ‘pampering’ yourself by putting on some mascara, or lip gloss, you instantly feel a little bit better.

3. How do you feel about ‘taking off your face’ every day?
At the end of the day, your natural self is your best self because its 100% YOU! (plus, taking it off only means you get to reapply it the next day, which in my opinion is the best part about wearing makeup). I love how applying makeup gives me that little bit of a creative boost every morning.

4. How has makeup made people around you more confident?
I love the way makeup can slightly alter someone’s features so they can feel like a more enhanced version of themselves.

Working in the industry, especially in a retail environment, there is a sea full of different personalities you encounter everyday, and I have seen firsthand how makeup can send a person’s confidence through the roof.

5. Pick a makeup technique and give me a step by step process on how to complete the look~
A bright, concealed under-eye (oh, under eye concealer. My saviour).

Okay, so first you want to moisturize the area to insure FLAWLESS application.

Apply a hydrating eye cream using patting motions under the eye. I usually let that absorb for around 5 minutes.

Then use a primer to prevent creasing and product settling into lines.

Next, grab your favourite brightening concealer (my favourite is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer) and apply from the inner corner of your eye, down along the side of the nose to the edge of your nostril, then diagonally up to the outer corner of your eye, forming a triangular shape under the eye.

Choose your favourite brush, sponge, or finger, fill in the triangle shape with excess product, and pat until blended. Set with powder~



Shayla: Liner Leading Lady & Foundation Freak

1. How has learning advanced makeup techniques changed your life?
I don’t know about it being life changing, but having more knowledge about makeup allows me to actually match to my foundation properly (and it goes down my neck!)

I guess knowing more advanced techniques has made it faster for me to do my makeup in the morning. What changed most would be I’m now more confident in my artistry because I’m doing make up the proper way, and I feel more comfortable when I’m doing makeup on a client. Plus, my friends all come to me when they want their makeup done, so I guess I must be doing something right!

2. What’s the best part about knowing how to apply makeup?
That with a simple stroke of your brush, you can completely change your face and give yourself some cheekbones that even Meryl Streep would be envious of.

3. How do you feel about ‘taking off your face’ every day?
When I first got into makeup a few years ago, I was scared to show up anywhere without my pimples covered, dark circles hidden, brows filled in, and some mascara, but recently I went traveling for a few months in some hot-as-hell climates where you’d be stupid to wear makeup ’cause it just sweats off.

I brought a limited supply on my trip, so my makeup was only used on special occasions. At first, I wore it ’cause I hated not putting it on and seeing all my imperfections. I thought I’d look hideous in all my photos from the trip. Then, I thought, “This is silly, no one cares. Who am I possibly putting this makeup on for?” Now that I’m home, I’ve found myself feeling the same: not caring about what I look like without makeup on.

When I look back at photos of the trip, with the little tan I had going, and with my freckles showing, I’m like, “Damn, I look good!” Now I try to not use as much makeup for everyday stuff, and I can’t wait to take it off after work! Best. Feeling. EVER.

4. How has makeup made people around you more confident?
Lipstick: the best makeup product out there.

Nothing makes a person more confident than when you can help them find a fun, bold lip that they thought they could never pull off. You make them put it on, and then it’s like BAM!– Instant smile!

I find that when you break people out of their comfort zones, that’s when you see their confidence shine. For example, I was doing a makeup consultation with a coworker. We were doing makeup for two friends that were going off to a wedding. My client was a seasoned false-‘lash wearer, her friend on the other hand, had never touched them before, and was scared to have wonky, fuzzy caterpillars on her eyes.

With a little reassurance from myself, my coworker, and the friend, we convinced her to try them. After they were on and the makeup was finished, she got up and looked in the mirror: “SHIT!” Best reaction I’ve ever had to someone trying fake lashes for the first time. I’m pretty sure the whole store heard her!

She couldn’t stop checking herself out in the mirror, and left with the biggest smile on her face.

That is how makeup should make you feel.

5. Pick a makeup technique and give me a step by step process on how to complete the look~
Winged liner. No matter how pro you are, winged liner can either look amazing, or it gets thicker and thicker until your liner has turned into a smoky eye! Take a deep breath we will get through this together!

Step one would be to make sure you have a good product to use. Either gel liner with an angled brush, or a liquid liner. For a liquid, the Stila liquid liner is easiest to hold and maneuver. I usually use gel for my winged liner, but right now I’m diggin’ the Benefit They’re Real! Push Up Liner. Again, easy to use, and it just glides right into my lash line, so they’re no gaps.

The hardest part is the “winged” part, so I like to get that done and over with. You want (your eyeliner) on an angle going upwards. Avoid looking like Cleopatra by measuring with the end of a small brush from the corner of your eye, to the top of your ear. Make a small dot depending on how far you want your wing to go. If you go to far, just take a q-tip and some water or makeup remover to make a new dot.

Make sure to remove the spot if you’re going to start over, or else you’ll look like a leopard, not a winged goddess.

Connect the corner of your eye to the dot and bam, you’ve got your wing. Now it’s all about playing connect the dots. Go from the middle of your eyelashes, and staying tight to the lash line, connect to the corner of your eye. Then go from the inner corner of your eye, again, staying nice and close to where your middle line starts. I find it easier to do small strokes instead of trying to do one big one.

Now this is where you must trust yourself in your new liner skills: start at the middle again, and going on an angle, connect that to the tip of your wing. To do that, you’ll start low at the lash and slightly flick up to connect to the tip of the wing. Then ‘colour’ in if there are any gaps. It’s up to you if you want your winged liner to be thin or thick, so start off thin and slowly build the thickness by repeating all the steps, but just going slightly above the previous liner to make it heavier.

Add some mascara. and you’re done!

Some tips: If winged liner is the Freddy Kruger of your nightmares, start off using a dark shadow or black shadow with an angled brush, and outline what you want your liner to look like. Shadow is much easier to wipe off incase of a mistake. Then it’s just simply colouring in when you’re happy with your work.

Last and most important tip: Don’t panic.

It’s just makeup. It CAN come off.

If you don’t like it, remove it, and try it again. I tell my clients that I do a winged liner all the time, but it doesn’t mean I don’t deal with the daily struggle of trying to get those little bitches even.

Q-Tips and a good makeup remover, (Sephora Waterproof Makeup Remover is my favourite!) is always good to have in your makeup arsenal. Good luck, and happy winging~