(Paul Venoit in 6 days)
When I first received the confirmation call for a sit down and mini-make-over with Paul Venoit, I was thrilled. As makeup artist to the stars and Cover Girl Makeup Pro any ‘face time’ with Paul would be a huge boost to a girl’s personal beauty regimen. Unfortunately, within minutes, my excitement turned to panic.
Paul has worked with some of the most beautiful people in the world – Kate Moss, Minnie Driver, Claudia Schiffer – to name a few. And how was I, a simpleton plagued by pimples, sun spots, and no particular skin cleansing regime to compete.
I better start drinking water, eight glasses they say?
(PV in 5 days)
Starbucks just around the corner…will power nowhere to be found. I swallow a large gulp of water while brushing my teeth. That has got to count for something.
(PV in 4 days)
I spend an hour with a magnifying mirror. Big pores. Big meltdown. Big mistake. Self esteem in toilet. I exfoliate four times in a row and attempt to stick face into garment steamer. After all, that’s what the professionals do isn’t it?
(PV in 3 days)
I should get a facial, brilliant! By the time I meet with Paul I will have a beautiful clear complexion. I book one immediately as I Cuisinart a cucumber and glop it onto my face.
Wait…what if I have an allergic reaction to some unknown salon product? Or redness from all the poking and prodding? I cancel the appointment within 5 minutes. What a flake.
(PV in 2 days)
Can’t sleep. Horrible dream. I cradle the magnifying mirror for comfort and instead, come upon a terrifying realization. I have a mustache. It’s barely noticeable, but it’s there. I know it’s there. Will Paul notice it too?
I spend the next day gathering evidence – that is – asking friends, co-workers, and my dogwalker to examine my upper lip and report findings. The general consensus seems to be that it’s not noticeable and I should spare myself the pain of waxing.
(PV in 1 day)
I’m still not convinced. And so, I ask my friend Tara to lunch. She’s tiny, a fashion stylist, and most importantly, brutally honest.
Before we even sit down I pop the question.
“Tara, do I have a mustache? Tell me the truth!”
Then I bend down. Tara’s short and I want to make sure she has a good vantage point. She carefully surveys the area.
Crap! What am I going to do? If I try to wax or bleach at this point it might cause an irritation, and that would be unacceptable. Tara suggests plucking since there are only a couple hairs. Tara’s brilliant. Pluck, pluck, pluck, and I’m PV ready!
Its time to meet the Paul Venoit!
He comes into the boardroom looking stylish and sporting his signature button down revealing a hint of ultra tanned chest. His smile is radiant, and he has on a pair of large black shades which make him look like a total Hollywood A-lister himself. For somebody with an incredibly successful career as a makeup artist, judge on Canada’s Next Top Model, and one fourth of the style team behind hit show Look-A-Like, Paul has remained incredibly personable and humble.
We start off by taking a look at the contents of my make-up case; one of the primary things Paul does with his private clients. This establishes what a client is doing right, wrong, and products that he/she is missing.
First we go through my face regime. I hold up a tube of concealer. Paul asks about foundation or powder but I have neither in my case. I thought this season was all about natural skin showing through so I’ve gotten into the habit of mixing a bit of moisturizer with my concealer and applying all over my face, right? Wrong. Paul reminds me that I should be using at least one product on my face with SPF – be it moisturizer or foundation, and then asks if my makeup lasts all day. Well, it doesn’t.
Powder not only helps protect skin and even out skin tone, but it also sets everything else, making makeup last all day long. For people like me who don’t like to wear a lot on our skin, Paul recommends CG TruBlend Liquid Makeup which gives the look of virtually no makeup.
Next, Paul wants to see my blush. I take out an eye shadow palette and show him the delicious pink shade I’ve come to trust…at least since I knocked my actual blush to the bathroom floor and it shattered into fairy dust, beautiful useless fairy dust..
Paul’s doesn’t approve and with good reason. He explains that products intended for the eyes have different formulation and should not be used elsewhere in the day-to-day. Paul suggests using the CG TruCheeks Blush trio which comes in six easy-to-use pallets for that perfect skin tone match. He’s also not too pleased with my cheap blush brush which is small and flat and came with a kitschy traveling case of some kind. I think it’s for camping…
Paul confides that when it comes to great make-up application, it’s all in the tools, which should be proportional to the surface area being covered.
Next we work our way to the eyes. I have no shortage of shadows, liners, and mascaras. This is one area where I’ve covered most of my bases. He begins opening up all the cases and trying out the colours on our hands. (This is shaping up to be the most fun play date I’ve had in a while). All that’s missing are descent brushes. I have an angle brush for lining my eyes, but when it comes to everything else, I rely on the little sponges that come in the compact. This is a mistake many of us make, and Paul recommends purchasing a real brush. Busted.
As for my white eye liner pencil, which I use to line inside the lid and in the corner, Paul says it looks too stark. He opts for a pale yellow or light gold, which looks way more fresh and flattering. Put that on your eye and smoke it!
Finally its time for the lips! Anything goes this season – from daring shades of reds, oranges, fuchsias – to more natural shades like peaches and pearly pinks. One of the coolest new products to come from Cover Girl are the CG Wetslicks AmazeMint glosses which contain real Crest peppermint oil ensuring amazing breath. Four of the delicious shades also contain blue undertones which make teeth look whiter!
Paul’s main piece of advice is to always use lip balms as healthy hydrated lips are key when it comes to applying lip liner and blending into the lip colour. That’s what I was missing.
Then we begin talking about colour pigments. I only have one, but it’s a plummy sort of colour and I’ve never known what to do with it. Paul gets visibly excited and tells me that he loves working with colour pigments on lips, especially in shades of gold and silver. That’s crazy talk. But when applied, we end up with a look that’s different and very polished. Part of what sets Paul above other beauty experts is his disregard for limitations.
We wrap up the product consultation portion of the chat and move onto celebrity tricks. I demand to know Paul’s secret to making his celebrity clients look as ravishing as they do. What is it that makes all the difference? Highlighting and contouring is the answer. Really…that’s it? It seems too simple, but Paul assures me that “in subtleties we find the largest differences.”
He opens up his kit filled with the CG makeup mother load.
To do this right, Paul always begins with a clean base. From there he uses a shade – a tad darker than his client’s skin tone – to sculpt the face.
He did a brief demonstration on me and used two shades of CG TruBlend Minerals Loose Powder, which he mixed atop a napkin, to get it just right. He then applied it to the hollows of my cheeks. Immediately my face looked thinner and more defined. Then I asked him to do something about my nose, which I’ve always found a little round at the tip. To thin it out, Paul applied just a dab of the powder above the nostrils and voila – my nose looked instantly sleeker. I was falling in love.
Next it was time to feather in the highlights, which should fall exactly where the light naturally hits one’s face. This means the arch of the brow, cheekbones, etc. The key to this look is to BLEND, BLEND, BLEND!
In fact, Paul reveals that one of his very favourite looks is starting with a completely clean face, highlighting and contouring, and then playing up the focal point – strong brows. He uses a baby toothbrush to fill them in and smooth the natural arch into a straight, squared line, with only the very tip pointing downward. Hot stuff.
It’s now time for my favourite part – the one where we talk about my own makeup application and Paul gives me the star treatment. I’m smug and quite sure that I’ve impressed Paul with my mad skills and edgy colour combinations. I have gold shadow (from the CG Dazzling Metallics palette) all across the lid, lined with black on top, and gorgeous green shadow (from the CG Tropical Fusion palette) on the bottom. Three coats of mascara, rosy cheeks, and glossy lips… I patiently await my gold star for a job well done.
But things don’t quite work out this way. While Paul is fond of my choice of bold colours on the eyes, he doesn’t think my application is all too edgy or particularly creative. He calls it ‘safe.’ A tiny dagger pierces my heart.
Luckily, Paul’s here to help. Here’s a before and after of Paul’s genius performed on my eyes, as recreated by me.
The first step – Paul elongates the liner and tells me to keep it thinner in the middle as it makes the eye appear more elongated. Then he adds black liner to the bottom lid and thickens up the green below the eye. Next, and most surprisingly of all, Paul adds the Tropical Fusion shade from the CG Eye Enhancers 4-Kit Shadow palette just below the green shadow atop the cheekbone. This makes absolutely no sense to me but looks incredibly cool. Then Paul adds the same green shadow in the middle of my upper lid.
So I think we’re done. My eyes look wicked but Paul has another trick up his sleeve. He tells me to put on more CG LashBlast Volume Blasting Mascara in Very Black (which kicks major ass by the way). I already have a couple coats on but Paul isn’t having it – “Girl, your eyelashes look naked to me right now!” So I listen like a good girl and not only apply the mascara to my bottom lashes but also add at least five more coats on top. The look is ultra glamorous. Having tasted the forbidden fruit, I cannot stop. I add one more coat.
The process is finally complete and I don’t think I’ve ever looked better. Though I will miss Paul’s expertise and charisma, he has opened my eyes to whole new world of makeup tips and tricks. However, I have a feeling Paul wants me to remember one thing most. That is, to never stop playing.
We have 8 Cover Girl Prize Packs to give away. For your chance to win, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with “I HEART COVER GIRL” in the subject line.
Please include your shipping address in body of email; contest ends Monday July 28th at 4 pm.
Prize Pack includes:
* LashBlast Mascara in Very Black (some are waterproof)
* Wetslicks AmazeMind in Toast-ed (NEW, comes with blue undertone)
* Blast Eye Encancers in Blazing Blues (NEW)
* 2 x $1 off coupons for Wetlicks or Cover Girl eye shadows
Total approx. retail value = $25