ottawa

Review: rephr Makeup Brushes

As a professional makeup artist, one of the questions I’m asked the most is always - what makeup brushes do you recommend? 

 

Well, that’s a loaded question! My first reply is always a combination of the following:

  • what tools do you currently have?

  • what tools do you feel you are currently missing?

  • what looks are you trying to achieve?

  • what is your budget?

 

For years, the answer was simple. I always loved and recommended MAC Cosmetics makeup brushes. The quality and softness was second to none, and they were adored by both consumers and pro artists alike. But over time, things changed - suppliers seemed to change hands, the source of the bristles raised questions (shedding and losing dye), and just overall manufacturing - in my opinion - started to slip. Which, quite honestly, broke my heart because they were my tried and true for nearly 25 years. And truth be told, my brushes from two decades ago are still amazing and perform super well; they’ve been put through the ringer and still look as good as the day I purchased them (back at the Bloor location in 1999!). But having had to replace my modern day #109’s 3 times in just as many years, I had to look for another option. NB: the entire line of MAC Cosmetics has recently been switched over to synthetic bristles, which, well... I’m not a fan of. But that’s a different conversation!

 

This is when rephr came up in my feed. Now, if you’d followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m not into the whole ‘influencer’ lifestyle, dream, market, whatever. I only trust the recommendations of fellow makeup artists who have a boat load of experience under their belt and have similar standards and expectations as myself.  Anyone who recommends a brand like Morphe or BH will never sell me on a single thing in life...

So when my fellow senior artist peers started recommending this brand rephr, it peaked my interest. rephr (yes, without a capital R), is a Canadian brand, with natural, un-cut bristles brushes and manufactured in Japan. If you didn’t already know, brushes made in Japan are typically 😍; Hakudodo brushes are the HG to many Pro Artists. So I went online, and purchased most of rephr’s Core Set (I have enough brushes that look like 02, although looking back, I should have purchased it regardless). The concept behind the way they develop their end result brushes is amazing - they have sent their brushes, at a promo price, to PRO ARTISTS all around the globe and asked for their feedback on prototypes. And what do they do with that feedback? They take the most popular feedback/change requests, and produce ANOTHER prototype brush. Still needs more work? Well, they make another...and another.... You get the picture. 

 

What I love the MOST about this, is that they are asking and valuing the opinion and feedback of real working pros! Not influencers who are paid for their content and/or reviews. It’s not about the clicks or the reach or the social media presence - it’s about those true artists who are on the frontlines, servicing real people. Whether it be artist who work with brides on their wedding day, or maybe local Moms booking makeup lessons to boost her confidence or improve her technique, or an perhaps a Pro Artist with a celebrity clientele. The end result is the same - rephr wants to know what the pros want and need! 

Delivered in a beautiful, sturdy box that protect your investment nicely. Perfect to double as your daily brush holder, too

Delivered in a beautiful, sturdy box that protect your investment nicely. Perfect to double as your daily brush holder, too

These brushes are THE BEES KNEES!!!

So unbelievably soft, yet supportive enough to do their job.

My thoughts:

  • The 01 is my favourite brush ever! It’s my new replacement for my beloved MAC #217; it is literal perfection. The tapered tip nestles itself effortlessly in the crease and allows for a controlled and well-blended application of product. $30

  • The 03 is the tightest, smallest pencil brush that gives you the most perfect and precise smoked out look. At first I thought it would be like any other pencil brush, but this is essentially half the size of others I have. And while its tightly packed and has a nice sharp point, it’s not scratchy at all. $30

  • The 04 is a beautifully shaped blush brush, that is perfect for contour and highlighting as well. Not too flimsy and not too stiff, you can create the most beautifully blended cheekbones with using this brush alone. $46

  • The 05 is a luxuriously fluffy powder brush, that doubles as a bronzer brush. Typically brushes that we use for bronzer are larger than blush brushes, so they give a seamless, sun-kissed glow all over, without being too heavy or mimicking blush application. The natural tips on these bristles allow the product to glide effortlessly over the skin. $66

  • The 07 is a longer blending brush, with a flat end. While it’s not the style of brush I would use to ‘apply’ a shadow colour, it’s the perfect type for blending out a crease. And even better use for this brush is for setting concealer, with a product like Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for Under Eyes (love that trick!). As a note, I was sent this prototype brush complimentary in exchange for honest feedback; this brush will soon be launched for $30, and is currently $0 in it’s prototype phase.


You can see the “Japan” stamp. Manufactured in Japan, in most cases, is a quality stamp in itself.

You can see the “Japan” stamp. Manufactured in Japan, in most cases, is a quality stamp in itself.

 

So after sending in my feedback, I was given a link to share with friends, family and One Fine Beauty fans. I was not paid for this review, nor will I be in the future. When people click the link to see my review, they can shop from the same page and rephr can track who/where they are getting their customers from. 

Additionally, consumers who shop via the link of an industry pro have the opportunity to have new prototypes sent to them for free to test, in exchange for feedback.  Pretty solid deal if you ask me! With the detail and thoughts I sent in about the 07 brush, I’ve already received an email back with the changes they will be making to that brush, and how the new prototype will look. I’m super impressed that this company cares so much and listens so intently to what we have to say. Hopefully in the future, other companies will follow suit and involve real professionals when trying to create an outstanding product, because honestly, this is working out really well for rephr so far.

 

Check out www.rephr.ca/onefinebeauty for my full testing notes!

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2019 Wedding Bookings

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Here we are - another year underway for our fabulous One Fine Beauty Team! We are currently over 50% booked for our season, which is great - this generation of wedding clientele actually books their makeup services quite a bit later than our clients in seasons past! But hey - we are easy and breezy - give us a shout anyways, even if your upcoming nuptials are happening before GOT is back on the air!

Being able to adapt to the flows of business and being really flexible to work with are two of the things our clients compliment us on. So if you’re still looking for an artist for your BIG day, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

We have 12 talented artists between Ottawa to Niagara/NOTL, all ready to make you picture perfect and enhance your natural radiance and beauty on the day it matters most!

**Please note, Shannon is 95% booked for all Saturdays during wedding season, but don’t let that stop you! Sometimes, she can squeeze in an extra bride, but quite honestly - you are in the best hands in the city with any of the #OFB team!

Truly a Canadian Moment!

DREAMS COME TRUE - EVEN THE ONES YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU HAD...

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to write about the amazing opportunity I had back in January!! Being a pro makeup artist for so long, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some pretty cool people for some awfully wicked occasions. But one of those that might take the cake, is a little something I worked on for the Canadian Olympic Committee!

 

When I received a call from the COC, the lovely lady who booked me mentioned it would be for a last minute gig—this was a Saturday night, and the photo shoot was on the Monday night. Couldn’t tell me location, couldn’t tell me the talent. All she could tell me is that it was top secret and that I would get more details Monday afternoon. 

 

There was a hair component to the photo shoot, so naturally my first call was to my partner-in-crime, Lori from Showpony Hair and Beauty. Whenever something cool comes in, she’s the one - always the one - I can count on. So we ponied up, got super excited and awaited our details! 

 

We got to the location, and it was dark from the outside, but we were welcomed at the door by part of the super friendly crew. Minute by minute, more people showed up, and we had an opportunity to get to know the photographer a bit by chatting while we waited for the talent to arrive from the airport. The photographer’s name is Chris Gordaneer - he’s part of a collective named Westside Studio in Toronto and his work is EPIC. Seriously, go check him out!

 

Talent arrived and we were blown away - it was Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir!!! The ‘soon-to-be’ Olympic gold medalists (again!) at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. We could not believe it - we were working on the official Olympic image for our Nation’s Flag Bearers!

 

They truly are the kindest, most genuine, and funniest, pair ever. What you see is what you get with them. We worked on Tessa first, and I gave her my classic soft smokey and a mid-tone lip. We kept it fairly natural due to the nature of the shoot, the styling/clothing, the setup etc. Her hair ended up being in a voluminous pony, but softly pulled back. For Scott, we just did the regular amount of grooming that we would normally do for a shoot or 4K video.

Photo: Chris Gordaneer

Photo: Chris Gordaneer

And a little #BTS action too!

A little #BTS shot from Georgia from @TeamCanada!

A little #BTS shot from Georgia from @TeamCanada!


As we were working with Tessa, she mentioned she would love to have us do her hair and makeup for the official press release the following morning at the House of Commons with Prime Minister Trudeau - so naturally we were so happy to doll her up the next morning as well. What an absolute pleasure to work with her again! You can see from the pictures below the overall look was a lot softer, but equally as pretty. When you’re working with such a natural beauty like Tessa, it doesn’t take much at all!

At the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa  Photo: Tessa Virtue

At the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa

Photo: Tessa Virtue

Photo: screenshot from CBC Broadcast, January 16, 2018  House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa

Photo: screenshot from CBC Broadcast, January 16, 2018

House of Commons, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa


And then they went on to win GOLD(s)!!!

 

This one will definitely go in the books as highly memorable and one that I’m eternally grateful for.

My AlumierMD Peel journey!

Last month, I decided to finally take control of my adult acne *cry* and figured it was time for some experimentation with a premium line I had recently heard a lot about. I also figured it was time for some grown-up facial care! I have recently had a bout with some not-so-lovely acne, and really, I haven't experienced acne like this before. While my skin was always not terrible, it's never been consistently broken out like this. After speaking and seeing the results of one of my lovely brides, I decided to take her advice and go to Dermis myself!

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So today, I had my second AlumierMD peel at Dermis Advanced Skin Care and Medi Clinic on Albert Street. I see Jessica K. there and she really is a wealth of knowledge! 

 

The first time I went, we did a very mild, superficial peel, as I have very reactive skin. We were trying to decide it's temperament and didn't want to go too strong, too soon. Today, we did the AlumierMD Glow Peel, and stuck with just one layer (apparently you can do up to 5!). Before the peel started, Jessica cleansed my skin and did a clay masque. After that, she used a 20% salicylic acid composition to start the exfoliation process. The Glow Peel itself is a combination of lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and resorcinol - all work together in perfect harmony to help to loosen dead skin cells, exfoliate the skin and treat acne. The peel itself wasn't uncomfortable, but it was a strong at times with a burning feeling up the nose (I tried to hold my breath lol). While it sat on for the full 5 mins, it was actually tolerable. Once the peel did it's thing, she went ahead and neutralized it, then used their Anti-Itch Intensive Recovery cream from their post care kit. Poof - instant relief! Having had the peel done about 6 hours ago, I currently feel like my face is tight and possibly like it's shrink-wrapped 😬

 

I also re-purchased an Essential Oil Complex from GM Collin which I am completely pleased with (and I feel like I'm always so disappointed with skin care). It keeps the reactive skin tame, soothed and feeling nice and clean. If I could bathe in that stuff I would...but at $64.00/bottle, I use it sparingly!

 

Here's a snippet of my current products that I'm using, that are NOT irritating my finicky skin.

Here's a snippet of my current products that I'm using, that are NOT irritating my finicky skin.

 

I can tell already that I will be pleased with the results. We are targeting some new acne (boooo!) and acne scarring from years of picking. Do as I say, not as I do... don't pick!

 

One thing I find interesting, is that a lot of skin care professionals who use the AlumierMD line, don't actually stock a lot of the products. You can easily order online and it should be at your door within 3-4 business days. I did do some sleuthing and figured out that Brookstreet's spa Au Naturel does carry the entire line. I guess it's a great way for pros to reduce their overhead and not sit on products that might not move - at first I was shocked, but now I understand. It's actually a great way to make sure that they products you receive are fresh and new, and not sitting on a spa's shelf for an extended period of time. But if you need it - Brookstreet will likely have it!

 

 

EXCITING NEWS - Expanding Across the Country!

Being one of Ottawa's most sought-after makeup teams certainly is a rewarding feeling.

To think - just over 4 years ago, I had this wild and crazy idea to quit my steady and rewarding career to start my own freelance company. Wasn't sure if it was the right choice, but it was a 'sink or swim' situation (and hope to heck I swim!).

Here we are - in year 4.5 and now we are across the country! You can find well trained, incredibly talented artists under the One Fine Beauty Team in not only Ottawa, but also in Kingston, Prince Edward County, Niagara and Vancouver!

I've been so gifted in my life to work with such exceptional makeup artists, but more than that, I work with people who CARE!

They care about their clients and their special day.

They care about their kits, keeping them super clean and having the best products.

They care about their reputation, and that of One Fine Beauty. We will never let you down.

They know they can offer the best service . We are more than just a group of makeup artists. We offer a wonderful experience to our clients' wedding day!

 

Feel free to check out the new gals profiles -  Marianne (Ottawa), Jordana (Vancouver) and Kathleen (Niagara)

Le Belvédère - always one of my faves

I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to give back to some of our incredible Ottawa vendors. Ones who support me and my business, One Fine Beauty as a whole and who always seem to selflessly give back. Here's hoping this post will motivate me to not just blog more, but as a means to say thank you to those support us always. 

 

Here's a bit of backstory - I first met Jessica from Le Belvédère at a styled shoot we did, back about 4 years ago. I remember it exactly - it was April 13th and we had a *massive* freak snow storm the night before. She followed up with a few emails the day before stating that there was a pretty steep hill and that we'd need to really giv'er in order to not get stuck on the snow and ice. The hill was salted, but still, it was slick. So naturally... we got stuck LOL! A lovely gentleman met us down the hill, told us to reverse and back our way up the hill in order to not get stuck again. Needless to say, I hopped in the backseat, perched in a toddler car seat and gave him the honours. We got to the top, and at that moment, I feel like my heart literally skipped a beat. I have never seen anything more breathtaking and picturesque in my life. That was it. I was obsessed and a fan forever.

 

Now a different story... fast forward to a couple of years later, when my best friend Linda's daughter was diagnosed with ALL (a certain type of leukemia). Through the coming days, weeks, months, and ultimately years following her diagnosis, we rallied and tried to find a way to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. I came up with the idea of a photoshoot fundraiser as I had seen it done before, and felt like it was something that we could pull off. Linda was signed up to do an event, to stand in solidarity, for 46 Mommas Shave For The Brave in Boston, MA, with a fundraising goal of $10,000. That was a lot of money to raise and truthfully, I felt this was the best way I could help.

 

It was Jessica who graciously, and so incredibly selflessly, offered up her venue Le Belvédère for our photoshoot fundraiser. Knowing that it was a bit of a drive for most of the families coming from the west end, she made sure the experience was an amazing one for all. Not only did she open on a Sunday, but she also brought in one of her incredible chefs who made a gorgeous plated meals for all the families. And I'm not talking something basic (although that would have been appreciated just the same!), but really - the families felt so pampered with their delicious meal, kids had yummy chicken fingers and fries, and everyone felt so well taken care of from the moment they walked in.

 

That day was an incredible success - we were able to raise $1200 for Linda's cause, she proudly met her goal and represented in Boston that summer. It could not have been such a success without Barbara Ann Studios, who donated her amazing photography sessions, and gave families such beautiful photos to cherish for years to come. And also Amy+Jen Decor, who came and set up our display ❤️

 

So how can I give back? Well, I can offer her free makeup services forever, which pretty much goes without saying. But being their preferred makeup vendor for their brides, also would like to extend a special weekday offer to her Le Belvédère clients.

If your wedding is at Le Belvédère from Monday to Thursday, we are offering an exclusive 20% discount off your makeup services

Now is the time to book in your makeup services, as weekday weddings are no longer a thing of the past - we are booking up quickly! Of course, some conditions do apply, so please contact us at shannon@onefinebeauty.com for full details.

Need help hiring your Bridal Makeup Artist? We've got you covered!

"There's so much information - where do I start?!"

Stunning Whitney on her wedding day, September 2016

Photography by Mondays With Mac

Like any other vendor you’ve selected for your wedding day, hiring a professional makeup artist is not something to be overlooked. Having been married not-so-long-ago myself, I know of the costs and expense (and blood, sweat and tears) involved in planning a perfect wedding - one that goes off without a hitch, and leads to your happily ever after. Do you really want to be worrying about your makeup on THE day - whether it be the overall look, the execution and perfection of it, or just worried about it’s wearability in +35C weather?

No? I didn’t think so. 

Here are some reasons why hiring a professional is the way to go!

 

Experience

Experience, I’d say, is the number one thing that should be considered when hiring a professional makeup artist. Someone who has put in at least a few years in the industry and has some proof behind it. Sure, we all know someone who knows someone who can do makeup, and let me tell you - some of the most fabulous makeup artists I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with are self-taught! But that’s not what I’m talking about here. Anyone can pay to go to school for any trade, but it’s the years of skill and experience behind them that really allows an individual to hone their skill - and OWN IT. I can say, without a doubt, that I am a highly skilled makeup artist, but I am always willing to learn. My focus is in beauty and glamour, which is perfect for the bridal industry, but there are some amazing makeup artists who specialize in Editorial or Special F/X that are fabulous just the same. So how do you determine who to go with, you ask...

 

Portfolio

Most makeup artists that are freelancers will have some sort of portfolio to show you - and don’t be afraid to ask. It’s a big deal hiring someone to do your wedding day makeup, seeing as you want to put your BEST face forward. Do your due diligence and research - with the internet today, it’s not that hard to dig around. Check out some testimonials or references, if you can; frequent their websites and Facebook business pages for a while, to check the newer work they are posting. And remember - you're looking for work that they can produce on actual clients, not makeup on themselves. 

It’s about finding a good fit - do you like their style, the overall looks they create, how the products look on the skin etc... Oh, products you say...?

 

Products

Now, I believe that a true artist can work with just about anything, when it comes to products; a lot of the time it’s the tools and the creativity within that artist that can make the magic happen. But do inquire what types of products they use. Ask about wearability, longevity (will always depend on skin type), what can they offer that maybe different than the next artist (maybe airbrush vs. traditional foundation). Quality products really are key when it comes down to performance on your wedding day - considering the day will likely be 16+ hours long! 

 

Makeup Trials

I always, 110% of the time, recommend doing a makeup trial. This really is the time that you need with your makeup artist BEFORE your big day, to discuss your overall vision, likes and dislikes, and to try the actual makeup out before the wedding. Unless I’ve done the client’s makeup before for another occasion, or if she’s from out of town and can’t coordinate a time leading up to the wedding, I always suggest doing a trial to take away the unnecessary stress out of the portion of the wedding day. I think they are best planned around another wedding event, such as your hair trial or dress fitting. It is an added cost, but an invaluable one, at that. And now we get to pricing...

 

Pricing

Now, don’t judge a book by it’s cover - pricing is all relative when it comes down to it. Don’t go for the lowest priced individual; even artists that are just starting out shouldn’t be selling themselves too short. And you don’t need to go with someone with over the top pricing either - but if you do, simply do your research and make sure that you are comfortable with their expertise and that you are really getting what you are paying for. 

Furthermore, when it comes to such a booking such an important service, you need to review your service provider's contracts, terms and conditions and payment structure closely. Make sure you understand all areas of the documents and ask questions if need. Sure, a contract is put in place to protect the artist but equally protects the client (you!).

This is important : If you don't have a contract with your artist, how are you sure they are going to show up on your wedding day? 

 

You only have one chance to make the right decision for your wedding day vendors, and by taking all of this info into consideration, it should help you make the correct choice!

 

One Fine Beauty has been a leader in the makeup artistry business in Ottawa for nearly 5 years, but all of our freelancers have a minimum of 10 years experience in professional makeup (some closer to 20 years - ha!). We can help you pick the perfect artist and plan the most dreamy makeup - drop us a line on our contact form here, or email us at shannon@onefinebeauty.com

CTV Morning Live - Cover That Sunburn!

Oh boy - have we been blessed with some amazing weather this past long weekend! So what happens if you indulged a bit too much, and maybe weren't so liberal with the sunscreen? Here are some steps to get your skin back in good shape if it's been stressed out by all that sunshine!

Here is the video, this morning on CTV Morning Live with Melissa Lamb : Cover That Sunburn

First things first - let's take care of all that's happened to that poor skin! Sunburned skin can be quite painful, turn an unsightly pink, red (or even purplish, depending on the severity), lead to flaking, dehydration and mucho peeling.

 

So let's add some much needed hydration back in! First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Liquid Recovery does just that - almost a serum type product, but most definitely a concentrated water base, this unique product adds intense hydration to the skin, as well as calms and soothes stressed skin, helping to repair damage resulted by environmental stressors. The sun is definitely one of those! [ETA : after a bit of research, it is clear that this is a miracle product given the reviews I've read - but it's also being discontinued by the company :( totally bummed! I will covet mine and highly recommend checking our your local Sephora to see if they still have it in stock. Their Anti-Redness Serum looks like a good second bet with Aloe in it!)

 

Another great product from First Aid Beauty is their Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40 - love this because it's a physical sunscreen, not chemical. This provides great moisture, while loaded with skin soothing ingredients such as Colloidal Oatmeal, which is awesome on tender skin.

I gave a good explanation of the difference on the segment, but for more reasons than the fact that a physical sunscreen prevents the sun's rays from even coming close to your skin, they are just better tolerated than chemical sunscreens. A lot of people can break out from chemical versions, or have reactions at the very least, whereas physical sunscreens are great for sensitive skin. 

 

Next up - colour correctors! Let's dial it back to colour theory, and break out the ol' trusty colour wheel.

Opposite of red on the colour wheel is green, hence the green colour corrector recommendation. Because we are placing the green corrector on top of the sunburn, this will do a good job at cancelling out the colour (if it were placed next to the sunburn, it would likely intensify it!). For this, we used Maybelline Master Prime Blur + Redness Control. Also, you can achieve similar results using a yellow corrector - so if green isn't working, or it's sold out in your preferred product, go ahead and use yellow! After you're done with the light colour correction, you will need to bring life and colour back to the skin with a good concealer and/or foundation. Your work isn't done just yet!

Now, don't go wild on this part - I feel with a really good foundation you may be able to skip this altogether. 

 

This next step is pretty much the main player in covering up your sunburn - a good coverage foundation! I absolutely love Estée Lauder Double Wear because it coverage is incredible (medium, buildable), it looks super natural on, 15 hour wear and can withstand heat and humidity! When you've got a burn, sometimes it wants to roast and melt your foundation off your skin - won't happen with this one! If original EL Double Wear is just too much coverage for you, try Double Wear Light - it's heavenly on almost all skin types!

 

Last but not least, you'll want to add a bit of sunkissed glow back into your once overly rosy skin. Using a matter bronzer like MAC Cosmetics' Matte Bronze Bronzer will add that perfectly tanned hue to your skin, without drawing out the redness. I'd personally avoid anything with shimmer as this might undo a lot of your work of trying to cover the burn up in the first place!

 

This week in Ottawa we are expecting some pretty hot and sunny days, so grab a sun hat, slater on some good sunblock and enjoy the sunshine!