Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

August 7, 2013 9:32 am

How to: The Five-Minute Face

Here’s a question I hear from my clients all the time: “I lead a busy life. Is there a trick that can have me looking great in just a few minutes?” Let’s face it – even the biggest stars do not have a makeup artist living in their house. They love what we do for them, but they want a fast way to feel great on the days we are not there. Below you will find quick steps for a natural-looking glow that I recommend to all my clients!

Step 1: Foundation

Nathan Johnson's five-minute faceImmediately after applying moisturizer, work one pump of a liquid foundation into the skin. Use a brush or your fingers to blend it. This little touch will even out the skin in an effortless, natural way. (If you have oily skin, use powder instead.)

Step 2: Concealer

Using your pinky or a brush, apply a light touch of concealer under the eye. Apply it only where needed. To find that spot, tilt your head forward when you look into the mirror. A half-moon of darkness will leap right out. That is what you conceal. Done properly, this is the step that will give you the well-rested look.

Step 3: Powder

Set your foundation and concealer with a mica or silica based setting powder like the ones by Make Up For Ever or Cover FX. These look the most natural and will not change color through the day like talc based ones will. (If you used powder foundation, use this powder only on the concealer.)

Step 4: Eyeliner

Apply a dark brown liner to the upper lash line. Use a brush or cotton swab to smudge the color into the lash line for a really natural liner look. This small step makes the eyes pop!

Step 5: Highlight

It is the features that make this natural face so magical, so we need to make the right areas pop. With a brush, sweep a touch of highlighter across the high point of the cheek bones, along the brow bone and on the upper lid above the tear duct.

Step 6: Mascara

A touch of black mascara on the top lashes will make the eyes the focal point.

Step 7: Blush

For an effortless glow, add a little outdoorsy color to the face with a peachy-pink blush. When swept over the apples of the cheek, a fluffy brush will leave the perfect amount of color.

Step 8: Lips

A sheer, pink gloss adds freshness to the lips and face.

Final look

This natural look can be done in 2 to 5 minutes and will have any of your clients ready to face the world when you can’t be there!


nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.




August 3, 2013 9:00 am

Does the Clarisonic Really Work?


Clarisonic – you’ve almost definitely heard the name at least once over the past year. It’s been touted as the latest and greatest in skincare innovations and has appeared on just about every beauty guru’s YouTube channel imaginable. With a price point of $139-$225+ we can bet you’re wondering – does the Clarisonic really work? In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on the Clarisonic cleansing system and give you my advice on the matter. After all, facial cleansers can be expensive enough just on their own!

Clarisonic cleansing systems are designed to pulsate the top of your skin to encourage increased blood flow, exfoliation, and greater cleaning. You focus on four main zones: forehead, cheek, chin, and other cheek. In 60 seconds, you’ve washed your face and removed up to 60x more makeup and build-up than washing with your hands. Pretty amazing, right? You do need to be careful, though, as the pulsation may be too intense for those with very delicate, thin, or damaged skin. If you’re prone to bruising or getting broken capillaries, the increased vibration may worsen your condition. If you have normal, healthy skin – or are prone to acne breakouts and are looking for a solution aside from laser resurfacing and other drastic measures – the Clarisonic might be a good idea for you. As with all things, you should check with your dermatologist if you’re unsure.

I have combination skin and picked up the Clarisonic Mia 2 from Sephora last week. It has two pulsation levels – gentle and one that’s a bit stronger, comes with a travel case, gentle cleansing brush, and charger. It also came with a small sample of Clarisonic’s cleansing gel, though I prefer my cleansers from Clarins. I’ve been using the system for 60 seconds in the morning and 60 seconds at night and have loved it thus far. My skin has never felt so clean and has never before absorbed my moisturizer as efficiently. Some reviews say the system dried out the writer’s skin, so I’ve made sure to use ample moisturizer and take extra time massaging in it to avoid any possible dry patches while my skin adjusts to my new routine.

In summary, I’d say the Clarisonic can really work. You need to have the right skin for the system, the right amount of patience, and you need to know the cost, benefits and possible complications – just like anything else. I’ve been told there can be a possible “purging period” during the first two weeks of use, during which your skin is adjusting to the new routine and the increased exfoliation encourages any blemishes that were hiding to come out to the surface. This has not happened to me yet, but you should know it’s a possibility. It’s kind of like when you go for a facial, there’s the risk that you’ll break out a little more than usual over the next few days following.

Have you used a Clarisonic? Share your experience in a comment. Not into it? Let me know why. Thanks for reading my review!


July 11, 2013 10:05 am

The Busy Woman’s Makeup Kit

No matter what day job you have, you probably find your schedule pretty jam packed. We’re constantly on the go these days. And with so many people depending on us and so many stresses on our time, it can be all too easy to neglect our beauty routines.  Today we’re sharing the busy woman’s makeup kit in an effort to spread easy and effortless beauty to all! With the right tools, we bet you’ll find it’s easier than you thought to squeeze in a bit of pampering each day.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

This is our go-to product. These moisturizers are lightweight, but offer more coverage than most for that perfect ‘no-makeup’ look. It leaves us with a nice soft glow that we either leave as is or dust over with a light setting powder. There is a decent amount of SPF in it so it’s a really great choice for the summer months.

Cover Girl Invisible Concealer

If your skin is in need of a bit more coverage we love Cover Girl’s Invisible Concealers. The formula is great for all over use, from under eye circles to blemishes, and we find it blends well with a variety of foundations, tinted moisturizers and setting powders. It’s quick and easy to use, and one of our staples for sure.

Essence Fix & Matte Loose Powder

Makeup Forever’s HD Microfinish Powder will always be our number one, but we’ve recently come across this dupe from the wallet-friendly brand Essence. We have to say, it comes in a very close second. This transparent powder adapts to any skin tone, and truly keeps our makeup in place and looking great for as long as we need. If your skin is a bit oilier, we recommend stashing the Essence All About Matt compact powder in your purse. Trust us, you’re going to love this stuff.

Sephora Jumbo Eye Pencil

Okay, so admittedly we’re total suckers for a good liquid liner, but we know that not everyone has the time to commit to it every day. We find ourselves picking up Sephora’s Jumbo Eye Pencils more and more throughout the work week. Super easy to apply and with great staying power, it’s a great alternative to liquid eyeliner. This pencil is also a great tool for tightlining.

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara

Mascara is one product we don’t hesitate to splurge on. Elongating and filling out the lashes to frame the eyes is something we can’t leave the house without doing. We just don’t feel ‘done’ without it. Maybelline’s Mascara is a classic and a goodie. It’s waterproof, long-wearing, and goes on without clumping. Check, check and check!

Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay 12-hour blush

This blush is extremely long wearing, and so lovely to apply thanks to its ultra-smooth texture. It is highly pigmented, so you really don’t need much. Just a quick swipe across each cheek and you’ll be good for the rest of the day. Tarte offers a great range of hues, though we find the shade ‘Peaceful’ to be especially flattering on a wide range of skin tones.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm

These sticks are jammed full of moisturizing shea and mango butters. They smell absolutely divine and leave a pretty tint on our lips that lasts longer than we expected from something called a ‘balm.’ Our favorite part? It’s the easiest and quickest thing to apply. Just swipe and go!

Urban Decay Setting Sprays

Urban Decay has done a marvelous job of creating setting sprays for every skin type – and the best part is they actually work. Our favorite is ‘de-slick’. It’s our go-to setting spray in the summer, and it works well on all skin types. We spritz a few sprays evenly over our faces at the very end of our morning beauty routine. It keeps our makeup in place for hours on end and stops us from looking powdery. This product gets the QC seal of approval!



June 24, 2013 8:00 am

How To Do Natural Looking Makeup

how to do natural looking makeup

Everyone knows what I’m talking about when I refer to the “no makeup” look. Of course, a lot of people aren’t sure how to achieve this ultra natural look without going accidentally overboard. The no makeup, or natural makeup look, is all about letting natural beauty shine through and only really evening out complexion, hiding blemishes, and emphasizing the eyes. Read on to learn how to do natural looking makeup!

Natural looking makeup starts with a good base. For the “no makeup” look, I would recommend going with a light but build-able coverage – something like NARS Sheer Glow. This will allow you to let natural beauty marks like freckles show through while being able to build up the coverage to cover any imperfections – like a minor break out, scar, or dark circles. Apply with a dampened sponge (I love the Beauty Blender sponge!) for a line-free, flawless finish. Working with a slightly dampened sponge will also help you use less product and blend more evenly.

To hide any imperfections that you weren’t able to conceal with foundation, grab a creamy concealer like MAC’s Studio Fix palette. Apply a little and build when necessary. For the under eye, try using the salmon colored concealer and only targeting the darkest area – typically right near in inner corner of the eye. This will break up the darkness and make the eyes look more awake, refreshed, and avoid too much product from being used on the face. Be sure to set the product with a light dusting of powder or setting spray!

As for the eyes, you have a few options. You can apply a matte champagne shadow, dark brown kohl liner, and finish with a swipe of mascara – or you can just go with mascara. If your client has darkened lids from lack of sleep or genetics, you’ll likely want to use a matte shadow to add some brightness without looking overdone. The dark brown liner will draw further emphasis to the eyelashes and the mascara will provide a finished effect.

Opt for a soft, peachy blush like NARS Sex Appeal or grab a bronzer like the Shimmer Brick from Bobbi Brown. For lips, we love a neutral gloss or balm. If your clients lips are a little chapped, like the model above, recommend a sugar lip scrub like the ones available at LUSH. They’ll help slough away dry, dead skin while infusing the lip with peppermint oil and moisturizing at the same time.

Et voila, you now have the “no makeup” makeup look. This is a great look for everyday, weekend, or when you’re headed to the beach and want to feel confident but not look overdone. There are plenty of waterproof mascara and cream blush options out there that will help keep you looking gorgeous and natural all day long, too!

What do you think of the natural looking makeup shared above? Let me know in a comment and feel free to share your product recommendations for achieving the look!


May 16, 2013 11:31 am

Blog Feature: Toronto Beauty Reviews

Toronto Beauty Reviews is pretty much our one-stop-shop for all news relating to beauty and fashion. Elaine Atkins authors the blog along with some guest contributors, and she has a real knack for staying on top of the latest trends. She shares beauty reviews, news of fashion and beauty events in the Toronto area, and her unique style evolution through engaging blog posts.

Toronto Beauty Reviews

Elaine’s journey to becoming an influential fashion and beauty blogger started in 2010 with the blog Curls and Pearls, where she shared her styling tips for petite ladies. This is how we first came to know her. In our opinion, there aren’t nearly enough bloggers and retailers catering to the petite crowd. So when we find one, we follow them religiously.

Since we were already so in love with her first blog we were so thrilled when Toronto Beauty Reviews launched, a site dedicated to keeping readers up-to-date on the latest beauty and skin care news. We were impressed with her honest and informative product reviews, and she quickly became one of our go-tos. More and more we found ourselves checking in to see what she thought of new products before rushing out to buy them ourselves.

Elaine has since merged Curls and Pearls and Toronto Beauty Reviews into one site. We love that we can now get it all with just one click of the mouse!

At 5’1″ Elaine’s a petite girl herself, and you can also find her sharing her creative and flattering ensembles over at Petite Fashion Blogs. If you’re on the petite side, this chic blogger might just become your new style inspiration. And even if you’re not under 5 foot, we promise you’ll still find something to love!

Petite Fashion Blogs

Toronto Beauty Reviews

It’s hard not to love Toronto Beauty Reviews. Just take a look around, follow Elaine on Pinterest and Twitter, and we promise you’ll be hooked!

…Are you hooked yet?


May 8, 2013 9:00 am

4 Beauty Blogs We Love Right Now

4 Beauty Blogs We Love Right Now

Just as we love style blogs, we couldn’t live without our favorite beauty blogs either. In this post, we’d like to introduce you to 4 beauty blogs we love right now. We’re sure you’ll find the bloggers helpful, informative, and incredibly fun. Enjoy!

1. Makeup by Cheryl H

Makeup by Cheryl H is the creation of Canadian makeup and beauty blogger, Cheryl. She shares her latest makeup loves, trials and errors, and inserts an OOTD post once in a while too. We love her glamorous approach to makeup and can’t get enough of her gorgeous lashes. We think you’d enjoy her blog because she mixes in both high-end and drugstore products, and regularly posts tutorials and how-tos on her YouTube channel.

2. Gh0stparties

Gh0stparties is a UK beauty blog (there’s an occasional OOTD post) written by Kate. We love Kate’s honest and simple approach to beauty, makeup, and fragrance. Her reviews are always helpful, she’s not afraid to let the readers know when she doesn’t like a product (something we greatly admire in a blogger!) and you can always expect beautifully taken photographs from her, too. We think you’d like Gh0stparties because of its beautiful layout, easy-to-digest reviews, and wonderful images.

3. What I Heart Today

Lily Pebbles is the beautiful British woman behind What I Heart Today. We love this particular blog because of its originality and approachable feel. Lily regularly posts about makeup, beauty, tutorials, and storage. We think you’d love What I Heart Today because of the diverse subjects and issues it tackles – from packing for a vacation to getting the perfectly highlighted cheekbone.

4. 15 Minute Beauty Fanatic

15 Minute Beauty Fanatic is written by Christine, a US-based beauty blogger. This talented woman has taught us how to fake a blowout with a curling iron, get a perfectly lined lip, and how to properly work with an eyeshadow crayon. We think you’d love her blog because of its reviews of products at attainable price points and Christine’s dedication to her readers. Oh, and the photos are beautiful too! We love how she often goes the extra step and adds graphics and text to her pictures.


March 20, 2013 7:55 pm

How-To: Tightlining Eyeliner

You know how once in a while you come across a new makeup technique or product that just completely transforms your life? Well, that’s what tightlining eyeliner has done for us. We know that achieving that perfect eyeliner line can sometimes be frustrating, which is why we’re so excited about the tightlining method! It’s just such an easy and quick way to achieve lash definition and fullness.

Tightlining is when eyeliner is applied directly to the lash line, usually from the underside of the lash line. This technique is great for adding definition and depth to any eye, but is also great for those of you who prefer a natural, wide-eyed look. If you have shorter lashes you’ll appreciate this method too, as applying a dark liner right at the base of the lash line will give the appearance of longer and fuller lashes. The best part about it? It takes a minimal amount of time and effort. It’s also quite easy to cover up mistakes.

This technique is pretty simple. Gently lift your top eyelid so you can clearly see your upper water line. Gently pressing just above your crease and pulling upwards will do the trick. Now, get right up to the mirror and start applying eyeliner to the underside of your lash line. We’ve experimented with this a bit, and find that dotting a liquid eyeliner in between individual lashes works best.

Depending on your eye shape you may only want to focus on certain areas of the lash line. If your eyes are close set, start from the middle of your upper lash line and work your way to the outer edge. Going all the way to the inner corner will simply make them appear even closer together. If you have large eyes you can probably pull off tightlining all the way around the eye for a very defined and wide-eyed look. No matter what your eye shape, experiment until you find what works for you, and don’t forget to apply mascara to polish off the look!

Have you tried tightlining eyeliner? Let us know what you think of this technique in a comment below!


If you’re anything like me you have skin that is so pale it verges on translucent. Skin so pale that sunscreen with an SPF of at least 55 must be applied before any outing, and shopping for a foundation is like searching for a needle in about 20 haystacks. Finding foundation for pale skin is a difficult challenge.

Many foundations seem perfect at first, but after just a few hours of wear they begin to oxidize and turn darker than their original shade. I’ve spent many frustrating years seeking out the perfect product, and I think I’ve finally found one…well two actually. Let me tell you a little bit about them!

MAC Studio Fix Liquid Foundation in NW10
The first is from MAC. They’ve recently expanded their range of shades in the Studio Fix line to include some really light hues for the Edward Cullen lookalikes among us. I’ve tested out the NW10 – the lightest shade they have – and am incredibly happy with it. This foundation offers medium coverage, wears well all day while staying true to its original color, and sits nicely on the skin. If I wait for it to dry completely before setting it with powder it can usually last me throughout my busy 10-12 hour days. Though the lady behind the counter told me it’s a neutral, I would definitely say it has a peachy undertone.

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Siberia
The second is NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in ‘Siberia.’ This product is slightly thinner in consistency than the M.A.C, but it offers very similar coverage if layered and a lovely matte finish. Just like the MAC NW10 it looks quite neutral, but does have a bit of a yellow undertone. I opt for this foundation in the winter months when I am at my absolute palest.

I have classic combination skin; dry cheeks and an oily t-zone, and these formulas both work very well in keeping my skin looking matte and fresh all day long. Like I said, I usually stick with the NARS throughout the winter and switch to the MAC in the summer when my skin is a tad darker, but I also find that they can work well when mixed together. I just put equal amounts of both on the back of my hand to warm them up and then blend them together. I also tend to use the MAC Studio Fix as a concealer in the winter, as it covers imperfections wonderfully and better than any concealer I’ve tried.

Everyone’s skin is different, and so this may not work as perfectly for you as it does for me. I did just want to share in the hopes that it will help some of you with similar skin types to my own!

Have you found THE perfect foundation shade for your fair skin? Share it with us in a comment!

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Our School hears hundreds of inquirers asking the same question each day, “Will your courses properly ready me for work with M.A.C, or do I need to attend their Mac Makeup School?” We know it’s a bit confusing, so we’d like to take some time today to explain how it works.

Mac Makeup SchoolWhile M.A.C does offer individual advanced courses for professional makeup artists, those courses will not specifically qualify you to work in a M.A.C store or counter. They are mainly geared towards professional makeup artists who simply wish to further their education for personal growth. M.A.C actually does not offer their own makeup artistry certification; however, they do expect potential employees to have obtained certification from another school.

QC Makeup Academy is recognized by M.A.C’s Artist Relations Department and our graduates are eligible for the M.A.C PRO membership. While the M.A.C PRO membership doesn’t specifically qualify you for a position at a M.A.C store or counter, holding a certificate from our School will certainly prepare you and equip you with all the tools and skills needed to work as a professional in the makeup industry. Keep in mind that a strong portfolio is always key, but the first thing you should do before choosing a school is get in touch with the Human Resources Director of the M.A.C location you wish to work at; they will let you know exactly what they are looking for in a new employee.

Are you interested in an education with QC Makeup Academy? Visit us here and please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Our friendly student support staff would be happy to answer your questions.


Wouldn’t it be nice to have a step-by-step guide on how to become a professional makeup artist? We think so, because we know the process can be truly grueling for newcomers to the industry. You of course need to be persistent and make the most of every opportunity, but our best tip is to get some quality education behind you. It’s important to know what you’re doing and have confidence in your skills, and that’s where QC Makeup Academy can help! Our two professional makeup designations offer truly in depth training that will take you from being a makeup novice to a makeup pro.

How to Become a Professional Makeup Artist

Each course starts from the very beginning. In our Makeup Artistry course you’ll learn the basics of makeup artistry techniques, sanitation practices and the importance of client expectations. Then you’ll learn about facial shapes and skin types, and the appropriate correctors and concealers for each. Once you’ve mastered all that, the course will take you through various daytime, evening, seasonal, and bridal makeup variations. This course offers a C.I.M.P designation (Certified International Makeup Professional) and with it you’ll be well equipped to transform faces for any type of event or wedding.

In QC’s Master Makeup Artistry course we take things a little further. You’ll learn everything outlined above, but won’t stop there. You’ll move on to learn about the exciting world of glamour, fantasy, catwalk, and fashion photography makeup application. In the final unit we provide in depth training on how to apply makeup for any type of live stage performance; be it theatre, dance, or opera. Once you acquire an M.I.M.P designation (Master International Makeup Professional) your knowledge of character, aging, and body makeup will make you an unstoppable force in the television and film industry.

Upon graduation from either course you will be fully prepared to work as a professional in the fast-paced and ever-evolving makeup industry. You’ll no longer need a guide to teach you how to become a professional makeup artist!

Click here to find out more about QC Makeup Academy!