I never got into the magazine business to be a beauty editor. I got into the magazine business because I loved magazines. I devoured Sassy, Young & Modern, and Jane because I loved the photography, fashion and profiles.
When it was finally my time to join the business (which was long before the blogosphere), there were only two fashion magazines in Canada that were high kickin’ it onto newsstands: Toronto Life Fashion (now Fashion Magazine) and Flare. My only way into the biz was an opportunity to be the assistant to the editor-in-chief of Toronto Life Fashion and I helped her produce the beauty section (in addition to faxing—yes, I said faxing—all the major international designers to request a seat for her to their shows).
Essentially, my 16-year long career as a beauty editor was an accident. I eventually got into skincare and I’m kind of obsessed with perfume, however only from one perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès. I’m addicted to Un Jardin sur la Nil. It’s fresh, but a grown-up, sparkling, Parisienne kind of fresh. What it’s not is simple, soap-y, or citrus-y (blech). I was fortunate enough to meet him, which only adds to its allure for me.
Here’s the real injustice for known beauty junkies: I was a beauty editor and I never loved makeup—and I still don’t. However, I have a fine-tuned appreciation for amazing formulas and colours that grew over the years after visiting cosmetic factories, meeting with product developers and interviewing celebrity and runway makeup artists.
At the end of this long journey, I do have a collection of all-time favourites. I always have a few flavours of the month that possess my passing fascination, however, these are the ones I can rely on to wake-up my face after an all-nighter when my daughter has a stomach bug. The ones I rely on when I want to fake a J.Lo kind of 90’s glow (c’mon, admit it, we all wanted to look like her) without having to pile too much on. The ones that always make it into my makeup bag whether I’m travelling to the beach or a city. The ones I’ll actually pay for now that I don’t have a beauty editor’s closet full of samples in my office. Now, that’s saying a lot.
What’s In My Make-Up Wardrobe
1. Any powder bronzer from Clarins or Guerlain
Bronzer has had many incarnations since it exploded onto the scene in the 90s from glitter to cream and gels. I like to keep it old school with a powder formula that has just a hint of shimmer (I always find too much shimmer makes you look shiny or even sweaty) and Clarins and Guerlain rise to the top. They offer up a truly ladylike glow with the finest pigments that melt onto your skin with an anything but amateur finish. Right now I’m using a limited edition from Clarins which I use to contour as well. I always brush the darker shade along my cheekbones, my jaw line, the perimeter of my hair line and even along the ridge of my nose.
2. The Body Shop Brow & Lash Gel
I think I’ve been using this since I was in my twenties, which is when I think The Body Shop first started selling makeup. I hardly wear eye makeup because I often rub my eyes, so I’m prone to effing up smokey eyeshadow or a coat of mascara at any given moment. A clear gel is the only way I can define my brows and lashes without the risk of looking like a mess as the day goes on. And honestly, I haven’t found another formula that doesn’t leave behind clumps and goes on as clean and easy as this one does.
3. Nars Lip Gloss
If I had time to write a sonnet for Nars Lip Gloss, I would. The pigments are rich without being overwhelming. They’re shiny without looking too slick. There’s no weird smell or perfume. It goes on just like it looks in the tube and stays on as long as a venti coffee that’s sipped slowly during a run-on gab session. I’m always a sucker for tropical coral and pink shades (this one’s called Paris Follies and likely a long gone limited edition) because they just plain make me happy.
4. Chanel Les Beiges All-In-One Healthy Glow Fluid
Sure there are BB creams, CC creams, tinted moisturizers and so many more ways to spoil your skin and give it a hint of colour. If you’re like me and you really are looking for just a hint of colour and not a major cover-up, treat yourself to this. I love it because it’s actually a fluid (not a creamy paste), so it goes on sheer and the pigments are so fine, they meld with your skin. It also has no chalky residue or heavy makeup feeling, which really drives me crazy. Plus it hydrates thanks to hyaluronic acid, a cosmetic industry golden child for so many moisturizing products on the market. P.S. I ran out. That’s why I had to sub in a cutout of this fave.
5. Vasanti Cosmetics Lip & Cheek Colour Pod
This is a recent addition to my shortlist. I met the owners a little over a year ago, and was struck with their passion for products and formulas. Their T.L.C. comes through in this little ditty. It’s smart and creamy colour that’s pumped up with hyaluronic filing spheres and mango butter to help your skin radiate too. My fave shades: Candlelight (shown above) and Natural Light. There’s nothing like the convenience of a cream blush when you gotta get glowin’ before an early morning bake sale.
6. Benefit Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealor
There’s a lot of buzz among beauty editors over the miracle concealor from Clé de Peau. Admittedly, it’s amazing, but it comes with sticker shock (approximately $70US). The formula is seriously creamy, it floats across under eye wrinkles (instead of settling into them), and it covers up dark circles…like really covers them up. However, I’m equally at bliss with this concealor from Benefit. I always have two in rotation, just in case I lose one on the road.
7. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blush in Rose Ambré
I love a dusty rose blush. Unlike baby pink, this shade really can be worn by almost any skin tone. It’s the most democratic, universal and sophisticated pink I have ever met. And this blush is one of the early products from Bourjois, which has been around for over 150 years. Here’s another interesting tidbit: The brand was owned by the same family who owns Chanel (up until last year). Talk about things that make you go hmmmm.