Whether it be a face full of stage makeup for competitive ballet at three y/o or set makeup for shoots / filming since fourteen, the act of professional artists working their magic before I could fully understand what it was or what it was for was not a foreign concept to me. I grew up thinking makeup was part of daily toiletries which led to me creating my own looks ever since I could remember.
My elementary school teachers would call home and report to my parents that i've snuck into my mothers makeup. My sassy Leo, Lalita would correct them saying that it was from my own collection and that I had full consent to look how I wanted. I remember once in grade 9 I went downstairs for breakfast ready to go to school with a fresh face- sans makeup. My dad said "where is your?.." and gestured to his face. I told him my plan to go natural, especially because I had been running late that morning. He said "Miss the bus, go take your time to get ready i'll drive you to school myself, its important to always be presentable!" During Christmas my family always had to be showered, in full hair, makeup, wardrobe attire prior to opening gifts. Why? So that the photos are prime, duh!
Thanks to my upbringing, i'm conscious of having myself put together at all times. Everyone is different, but I see this as a positive attribute as my mood is often depicted through my appearance. I think this habit comes from production companies always styling me head to toe depending on the characteristics of a role. I'm blessed to have had some insanely talented beauty gurus in my life to guide me through the ins and outs of the world of IMAGE!
"Where do you start?" "Which one is best?" "What is that?!" I would always ask my makeup artists every question I could think of about products, application or whatever I wanted to know. I have since learned a variety of techniques via the beauty angels that have graced my life.
I've decided to list my glam squad responsible for keeping me together and on point!
Hair- TONY PHAM, owner of Lac + Co. @lacandco Yorkville, Toronto.
Tony is one of my dear friends. His salon is just over a year old and he is already opening Lac + Beauty lifestyle boutique (I could NOT be more excited to have a place to get my hair and makeup done in one place!) Toto has been in my life since 2013 and is the ONLY human i've ever trusted to dye my locks. He has full control over my hair's creative direction and has always done whatever he wanted, surprising me with his vision- I've never been disappointed. I give him credit for upgrading my hairstyles and transitioning my image in ways I could never initially picture. I remember one incident before Tony had his own salon, spending three hours in the chair and being shocked with caramel/blond hair. The first thing I said to him is "NOW THAT IS TRUST! I LOVE IT!" He is a HAIR GOD and picked a colour scheme with the perfect undertones to compliment my skin colour and general image. I rocked the look for over a year before going back to black/brown basics for fall. I had the new look during a pivotal time of my life and I could not have planned a better time for it. It turned out to be a great surprise, all thanks to Tony. Not only is he talented, but he is fun, funny and gives you the attention and quality that should be required for such an important factor of your look/confidence. You wear your hair everyday, it is definitely key to maintain it's health! In my opinion, Lac + Co is the best salon in all of Toronto. I've since brought both my sisters, my brother and other friends to be #touchedbytoto
Nails- Sparks Salons @sparkssalons King st / Liberty Village, Toronto
I look forward to my time at Sparks every two weeks. Of course to have the incredible Japanese nail artists work their MAGIC on me, but especially for the social and warm energy that the team effortlessly brings to their clients. It feels like girlfriend time while we all chit chat, boy talk, sip tea, add input on what designs we should have on our nails, etc. 99% of the time I go into the salon with a simple design in mind to have done and I come out THREE HOURS LATER with a hand crafted, hand sculpted one of a kind design I could never begin to describe. That is one of my favourite parts of being introduced to the talented artists- they have a skilled vision and are genuinely excited to have a fun challenge with each set. The pride they take in perfecting their craft leaves you feeling loved and IN LOVE with staring at your fresh mani-pedi! It goes beyond nail maintenance, if you want designer nails.. Sparks Salons is the place. I've since become friends with the dolls that work there and we spend time together socially, getting glammed up and hitting the town. Sparks also specializes in hair services, skincare, waxing, makeup application etc. If you're ever looking for nail inspo, be sure to check out their insta! You'll find my hand modelling frequenting their page! Ha
Hair removal /Skin care- Infuse Med Spa. @infusemedspa Owned by Kavita Suri. Before Infuse blessed my life I had an awful experience with laser hair removal. I went to a place that had no experience lasering dark skin. How the treatment works is that new hair follicles grow every six weeks. For every growth spurt, you have a session which consists of a laser zapping each patch on your body until the hair in the root is dead. While this seems like a logical, simple method- the laser targets dark pigment and cannot differentiate between pigment in hair than from skin colour. It is for that reason laser was not suggested for anyone with dark skin where as someone with light complexion and dark hair would be an ideal candidate. Although I got into it prior to its advancements in technology, I was scarred from my initial experience until my gf Veronica Chail introduced me to Kavita and promised that my life would be changed. SHE WAS RIGHT! Its been over a year, Kavita and her beauty squad are well trained and qualified to work with dark skin among all other types. They use a Soprano XL machine and it is truly PAIN FREE! I have a low pain tolerance and in the past i've had to use intense numbing lotions to be able to bear through my treatments. I now do laser on my full body and I can already see the difference. It was a true blessing not to have to worry about waxing or shaving this summer!
As for skin care, I've been introduced to Hydra facials from Infuse. I am addicted to having my monthly treatment where a suction cup scoops all of the tiny particles of makeup, lotions and dead skin from my face. It leaves me feeling completely clean and my skin completely taken care of. Its a much needed reset every so often, especially when you have to be in TV heavy makeup so often. In the process, there is a grand finale of a shoulder and chest massage using my favourite all natural, crystal infused Atma shea butter! It is the best part of the hydra facial experience and I cannot wait until my next!
Eyebrows- Brows are SUCH an important aspect of beauty maintenance as it completely shapes the entire face. Kavita is an eyebrow GURU and has this special service called Goddess Brows. A seven step process which includes reshaping according to your facial structure as opposed to generic styles. It is a combination of skill and a gift to be able to rejuvenate a person's look based off symmetrical, strategic hair placement. Your first impression is SO important, thanks to my Goddess Brows I am happy to run around makeup free when I can. Personally I sneeze A LOT during any eye brow process and Kavita puts up with my needing to pause between sneezes (every other second). She has now become a wonderful addition to my older sister collection that i'm grateful to have in my life. It's safe to say her presence is a necessity in my routine both professionally but mainly personally. I would equate her to the Canadian Anastasia Brows and anyone who has had the luxury of Kavita styling their brows would agree!
I vocalize my appreciation to my beauty angels often, but I wanted to create this article to share them with the world. I have travelled and have worked with many specialists and artists, but these are the ones that i've stuck with. Even when I'm tired, stressed, busy etc, I look forward to the grounding/ loving/protective energy they give me. Aside from interests in aesthetics, the connection we have goes beyond them just dolling me up for events, they take care of me and ensure that my mind is in the right place, that i'm taking a moment to have enough water, that i'm happy and that i'm loved. People like this do not appear often. It's important to realize that even after years of history, relationships do not last without nurturing them through growth and gratitude.
I'll be writing a separate post to introduce my makeup artists because there are so many- each with their own skills and expertise. Lookout for that one, i'm excited to spend my energy sharing them with you all!