My Makeup Trial

Posted on July 2nd, by Helen in Blog, Makeup, Wedding Prep. No Comments

My Makeup Trial

“Girl! You need to fix your brows before your wedding. Like seriously! Right here…thread it right off,” says Allana Mirza ( pointing to bushel of long stray hairs underneath the arch of my left eyebrow with her M.A.C. brow brush.

I knew it was bad for the past three months – that brow was looking more caterpillar than Cara – but I didn’t realize how much it was changing the way my face was framed.

Good thing my makeup artist has no qualms about telling me the truth. And I love that. But that kind of brutally honest jab wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t established trust with my MUA (street for Makeup Artist).

That’s why you need to hire a pro months in advance to make room for experimentation because much like medical aesthetics and cosmetic dermatology, makeup artistry is a “technique sensitive” trade. Technique sensitive means that the results of a treatment depend on the technician’s ability to administer consistent results. In other words, it’s not the makeup that really matters, it’s the artist applying it.

How to Find a Good MUA (Tips from a Good MUA)

With makeup artists being a dime a dozen these days, how do you choose?

Allanna Mirza

Allana Mirza, Makeup Artist

Hands down, the best way is through word-of-mouth. Online portfolios cannot always be trusted because of the rampant use of Photoshop, notes Allana. “Remember you get what you pay for, so if you want to look great in your photos, hire a professional makeup artist with experience in all aspects of media, print and video.”

If you don’t know where to start, I suggest asking at least two friends who have similar skin and/or features as yours, and ask to see photos. When you get a name, book them for a trial on a day that you will be heading out so that you can see how you look in social settings under various lighting (natural daylight vs. night light).

If you’re not 100% happy, don’t give up on them completely. The first trial is like a first date – you’re still trying to get to know each other. “If you dislike your look but like your artists ability then re-book a trial if needed it explain exactly what you want altered. Generally clients have one trial where we go over one look, however if you have a couple of looks in mind you should book extra time and often muas will not charge you as much as booking two trials,” says Allana.

Though if you really hate how you look after the first trial, Allanna says, “Move on! That’s why it is good to start looking and booking your artist at least 6 months in advance.”

How I Found My MUA

Before I worked in media, I would always shill out money to get my makeup done at M.A.C. and Sephora counters for events. I know my limitations.

Despite being in the beauty industry for a decade and having watched all of Michelle Phan’s makeup tutorials on YouTube I would never attempt to do my own makeup on my wedding day! My contouring skills are non-existent, I don’t really get blush, and I always seem to pick nude lipsticks that look like mud on me. And liquid eyeliner? I quiver at the thought. I saw a funny quote on a famous MUA’s Instagram recently that sums up my inability to do the cat eye. It read: Stay cool and calm around liquid eyeliner. It can smell your fear.

Today I’m lucky that I have a job where I meet beauty industry folk constantly, and get the rare chance to build true friendships with them where a foundation of respect and honestly keeps things real. Allana and I met last year, before I got engaged, via all things: Instagram! I was looking for a Toronto-based MUA for a project and came across her account.

She did my makeup for an event on a very early morning and I loved her work. She was quick and didn’t make me look like a clown with pointy eyes like many MUAs had done in the past (funny how many MUAs can’t do Asian eyes).

Before my engagement in January, she had done my makeup twice so I knew she good. Since then we’ve chatting about various looks for the big day on email and in-person. I count her as a friend now…I mean, c’mon, you know you’re friends when you can take an usie together in a bathroom…


Instagram @helenvong

My Trial Look

Eyes: When Allana suggested using liquid eyeliner for my makeup trial after telling her that I wanted a dramatic eye look but natural-looking face, I was all game. I love a cat eye but could never get it right myself. For the shadows, Allanna used the Clinique limited edition All About Shadow Naturally Pretty 8 shade palette – a beautiful range of beiges that when layered and blended together created this long-lasting smoldering effect. Allana had used this on me before and I very much liked it, even more so than the more expensive shadows she had in her kit. (See, it’s not all about the makeup. It’s the technique.)


sideSkin: Allana’s blush and contouring technique is amazing! And she always seems to make my nose look less wide. I’m not quite sure which foundation she used on my skin but it felt very light, blurred my large pores, and made it glow-y. We had decided on a less-is-more look like she wrote about here, but I’m going to request for more coverage on the big day so that my acne scars are a bit more concealed in natural light.

Lips: Something mauve-y rose. I normally hate dark colour on my lips but I know it always look better in photos than the poopy nudes I pick for myself. Allana has been working on introducing my pucker to more pigment and so far I am liking her slow approach. I’ll be changing into a traditional red Chinese wedding dress halfway through the night, and I’ve been contemplating wearing a bold red lip – something I have always felt to be too show-y and severe looking on me. I’ve booked Allana to do my makeup for my bachelorette in three weeks, so it’s another opportunity to nail down the look. If she can make me feel comfortable wearing red lipstick then I’m pretty sure I’ve got a keeper.

Phone Seflie

Phone Seflie

Did you hire a MUA for your wedding? Who did you use? Let me know below!

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