My Green Beauty Makeover with Christine Jairamsingh
Before I had kids, I kept fairly current with makeup techniques. I had more time to learn how to apply products and practice doing so. But for over six years now I've felt my techniques getting a little rusty and my confidence slipping when it comes to application. Finally this past June, I decided I needed to refresh some of my techniques. Youtube tutorials are helpful, but there’s nothing like having a makeup artist apply your makeup and talk you through the process.
So I called on the uber talented Christine Jairamsingh, a professional makeup artist and hair stylist. Christine does freelance editorial work and is also the lead makeup artist for the Detox Market Toronto. Her range is phenomenal: she can create artistically dramatic looks for magazine shoots, or natural no-makeup makeup for everyday women. She’s equally versatile with her products. On the day of our session, Christine came to my house with her natural makeup kit, as we had agreed to use only non-toxic products for my look. After all, I am a green beauty blogger. She also works with conventional cosmetics - the choice is up to her clients.
Aside from having an excuse to play with makeup and drink wine, I wanted Christine to help me with easy contouring, where exactly to apply bronzer and blush, and winged eyeliner.
I also wanted to try some new products that friends have been raving about, to test how they worked on my own skin:
- Sappho Liquid Foundation
- Alima Pure Contour Powder
- RMS Master Mixer
Christine and I settled into my master bathroom and got to work. When she opened her makeup kit and I saw the array of green beauty inside, my heart almost stopped. When you love makeup as much as I do you get a visceral reaction to makeup cases. This is my vanity table with Christine’s arsenal laid out on it:
And here’s a close-up of two of the palettes:
The palette on top is a rainbow of Ilia lipsticks, and the one below it holds the new pressed eyeshadow shades from Alima Pure.
We discussed the kind of look we were going to create and decided on natural, glow-y makeup with light blue eyeshadow for a light and summery feel. Here’s the step-by-step of how Christine created her magic:
- primer - we used Hynt Beauty Sun Prep SPF 30, which is a primer and moisturizer loaded with antioxidants and other skin-loving ingredients. It disappears into the skin almost immediately and creates a smooth base for makeup. I use it every single day. You can read my post on Sun Prep SPF 30 here for more info.
- concealer - Christine surprised me by pulling out a concealer from a line I hadn't heard of before. What? A green beauty brand I don’t know about? Beauty bloggers tend to think they’ve seen it all, so the occasional humbling experience is a good thing. The product in question is Evelyn Iona Concealer in the Flawless shade. We used this under my eyes as well as on my lids as a primer for eye makeup. It’s less dewy than my usual concealer, RMS’s “un” cover-up, and did an excellent job of keeping my eye makeup in place all day without creasing.
- foundation - Sappho Liquid Foundation in the Lisa shade. I had been itching to try this but wanted to make sure I got the right shade, and the Lisa was a perfect match for my fair skin with olive undertones.
- finishing powder - Christine then dusted Sappho Silky Setting Powder over my face to set the foundation and concealer and offset too much shine. Although this powder is white in the container, it’s invisible on the skin and feels like silky air. Plus I love that it’s vegan and free of talc, gluten and dimethicone (which can clog pores).
- contour powder - we used Alima Pure Contour Powder in Sombra. It’s a matte powder several shades darker than my skin tone that Christine blended just under my cheekbones.
- bronzer - Alima Pure Bronzer in Mauna Loa. This has become my favorite powder bronzer because it’s completely matte and the color is so natural that application is virtually foolproof. And it gets bonus points for not having any orange or red undertones - neither of which look good on my skin.
- blush - we used W3LL People Universalist Multi-Stick 9 in Nude Flush. It’s a creamy formula that can be used on eyes, lips and cheeks and adds a satiny-matte flush of color.
- highlighter - after creating shadows with the contour powder we worked on casting light with highlighter. I usually use RMS’ Living Luminizer to highlight and wanted to try RMS' much-hyped Master Mixer. Christine suggested we mix the two together, because the warmer tone of the Master Mixer would balance the silvery-cool tone of the Living Luminizer. This turned out to be a beautiful combination: it created the perfect lit-from-within glow (an effect RMS is known for) that was so natural even I had to look closely to detect any highlighter. By the way, the RMS Master Mixer isn’t just a highlighter. It’s a multipurpose cosmetic that can be mixed with your blush, bronzer, highlighter, eyeshadow or lipstick to create a unique shade and add glow.
- eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara - all by Alima Pure. Christine first applied Pressed Eyeshadow in Cosmic on my eyelids and also used it to line under my eyes. Then she applied Natural Definition Eye Pencil in Ink and finished with a few coats of Natural Definition Mascara in Black.
- lip balm and lipstick - before applying any makeup, Christine primed my lips with Lip & Face Balm by Kahina Giving Beauty. My lips just soaked this up, and by the time she applied lipstick my lips were baby-soft. The last step was Ilia lipstick in a shade called In My Room - it’s the closest shade to my natural lip color, only better.
In case you’re wondering, neither of us is affiliated with Alima Pure. The reason we used so many Alima Pure products is because Christine is a big fan of the line, and I quickly understood why. The line uses high quality, pure ingredients and has several standout products, all at a very reasonable price point.
So after applying all of our hand-picked products, what did the finished result look like? Here's a pic of me bare-faced before we started:
And here's me after my makeover, from two different angles to show you Christine's gorgeous contour and highlighting work. I was surprised by just how natural I looked:
Lessons in Technique
Easy contouring: by blending well and using natural-looking colors, you can contour in a way that’s undetectable. Christine’s technique of blending, blending, and blending some more, together with the Alima Pure and RMS products, gave me defined features without looking obviously sculpted.
Bronzer and blush: turns out I was making the mistake of applying bronzer the same way as contour. But bronzer isn’t for defining your features - it’s for creating the illusion that the sun has hit the high points of the face. This is what makes you look youthful, well rested and glow-y. I also learned that I was applying blush too close to my nose. Christine showed me how to apply it further up on the cheekbones, above the contour powder, and blend upwards to really make the cheekbones pop.
Winged eyeliner: Christine showed me a clever trick: she used an angled brush to pick up color from the eyeliner pencil and line the eyelid, rather than drawing directly with the pencil. This gives you more control to draw a precise line. As for drawing the “wing”, the trick is to imagine a line going from the outer corner of the eye up to the outer edge of the brow, then making downward strokes to draw a “wing” that ends at the outer corner of the eye.
My makeup lesson reminded me of something I’m often struck by when doing my makeup: green/non-toxic products look so much more natural on the face than mainstream brands. Because the ingredients are clean and mostly derived from plant sources, the colors and textures blend seamlessly into the skin - as if they had always been there. Our skin (and body) likes ingredients it recognizes. Plant-derived butters and oils, vegetable and fruit-derived pigments, and pure minerals are similar to human cells. Synthetic emollients, dyes and preservatives aren't. Yet another reason to use non-toxic beauty products in case you needed one :)