Home > #FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Pedro, demitart Makeup Instruction

#FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Pedro, demitart Makeup Instruction

Like most red-blooded women, I love makeup. Like, I LOVE MAKEUP. Lipsticks, eyeshadows, eyeliners in every colour of the rainbow, blush – you name it. If it is colourful and I can apply it to my face, it’s good in my book.

#FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Piedro, demitart Makeup Instruction
Karla Santos-Pedro, Owner, demitart Makeup Instruction

My friend Karla Santos-Pedro also loves makeup on an epic level, so much so, that she started her own makeup instruction business. After 10 years of working as a makeup artist (MUA) with MAC Cosmetics, she felt she need a break from usual grind of boring makeup requests such as “safe wedding makeup”. She loved educating people about makeup application and dove into her business head first, hiring  several fully-trained makeup artists to form a MUA dream team.

Karla found working on ethnic brides more fun as they were more daring with their bridal makeup.  Yassssss….honey!

Karla eventually branched out on her own creating demitart Makeup Instruction, a popular Ottawa-based makeup instruction class. Karla teaches her students the ins and outs of makeup 101, how to achieve the perfect smoky eye, glam, bridal makeup and looks to transition from day to night, among others.

Karla and I went to highschool together and I hadn’t seen her in years. It was wonderful to sit down with her over a glass of prosecco, listen to her blunt, yet friendly “real talk” and learn what makes this face artist tick. Read on!

#FeatureFriday: demitart Makeup Instruction

KARLA! My Little Demitart!! So great to see you after all of these years! *Dom looks wondrously at Karla who zooms into the restaurant, looking flawless, wrapped up in a Krista Norris scarf, hair in a tight topknot, and the most flawless makeup*

*big hugs* Great to see you too, Dom! It’s been way too long!

Ok – sit down. Make yourself comfortable and tell me about demitart! First off, tell me how you came about the name “demitart”?

Funny story. I did bridal makeup for a friend of mine. While she was introducing me to her family and friends the night before the big day, she announced to everyone that I would be doing her makeup and that “everything will be fine as long as I don’t look like a complete tart”. I told her that tarty makeup was sort of my thing. She made me a deal – that we wouldn’t go full tart. “It’s my wedding so let’s keep it to demi-tart.” A light bulb went off in my head and “demitart” stuck with me.

Demitart is the perfect description of what I think makeup should be: not overwhelming (no one wants to looks like the proverbial clown) but fun and colourful while being clean and well-applied.

Exactly, Karla! I feel the same way. Makeup should be fun, not daunting. So, you see that a lot? A lot of women afraid to try out makeup?Yes – definitely. Working as an MUA, I got bored doing the same old, “natural” wedding looks. In fact, I would get excited to work on an Indian bride or black bride because they were so much more adventurous! They were always like: “Go nuts!” when I asked them what they were looking for makeup-wise.  During my makeup classes, I would also tell the students not to be afraid to try such looks as smoky eyes because you can always wash it off. Nothing is permanent.

#FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Piedro, demitart Makeup Instruction
“What kind of f*ckery is thisssss?” – Amy Winehouse

So, what else do you focus on during your makeup instructions?

Well, there is a burgeoning burlesque scene in Ottawa and I love the dramatic makeup that the dancers favour. I love teaching looks similar to that. I also make a point of telling attendees to not feel like failures if they cannot apply makeup like a pro.  It obviously takes practice!

I have to say that I kinda hate these YouTube videos and this insane contouring trend that’s happening right now. I call bullshit!! I totally blame Kim Kardashian.  Those looks are not real life. I also really can’t stand these myths that are floating around like “The 5 Minute Face” that seem to be featured regularly on daytime TV segments and magazine articles. While I preach simplicity, all good things take time. There is nothing wrong with that. I have a blog post devoted to the top five beauty myths I hate.

#FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Piedro, demitart Makeup Instruction
Beauty myth – Instagram eyebrows: heavily concealed both on top (bad!!!) and bottom, feathery and strange at the beginning, tapering to an unrealistic, too-perfect point.

Also, while I think YouTube is a great medium for learning about makeup, I highly doubt you will learn proper skills from a newbie YouTuber, or anything from a four-minute long video.  It isn’t realistic.  Makeup is art.  You have to know about colour theory, knowing your angles, knowing your options and techniques, knowing about product textures (satin, gloss, matte, shimmer), etc.

Tell me about your students. Who typically shows up?

I would say that it’s all over the map!  Young, old, experienced, no experience. I get all types. Makeup artistry is a skill that you can always improve on no matter your experience. I teach all types of things too that are of interest to all experience levels – different types of winged liner, etc. Also, students take a certain look and want to know “how can I do this for me?” How they can wear it for everyday.

Something I learned quickly was respecting everyone’s experience levels. For instance, I’ve been an MUA for 10 years. I assumed everyone knew what eyeshadow primer was.  Students would complain that their eye makeup would never last the day.  I’d suggest eyeshadow primer and they’d be like “what the what now??”

LOL! I gotta admit, if it weren’t for my bestie Vanessa introducing me to Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion, I’d look like a raccoon right now. Alright – name one beauty product that you can’t live without.


What makeup product stumps people the most?

FOUNDATION. My God. The only way to find a good foundation is to try them out.  Take a few hours, learn about foundation and start trying away. You can’t simply walk into a store, pick one, buy it and achieve great results.  It’s like throwing a dart in the dark. Every formulation is different. Every skin tone is different.  A person can have pink undertones, golden undertones or both.

Colour theory comes in here. Not everyone has the ability to recognize their complementary colours.

#FeatureFriday: Karla Santos-Piedro, demitart Makeup Instruction
Learning about complementary colours can help you achieve your best makeup looks.

Who are some of your favourite makeup artists?

Pat McGrath, Lisa Eldridge, Kevyn Aucoin.

A huge thank you to Karla for sitting down with me. That was a memorable couple of hours! Be sure to check out her website for upcoming classes and for makeup tips! Karla is also on Twitter.

Stay stylish,

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Dominique Baker
Dominique Baker

Dominique is a Canadian-based fashion and beauty influencer with a strong voice in Ottawa’s black community. Since launching her blog Style Domination in 2015, she has amassed a global fanbase. Dominique shares her life through beautiful imagery and compelling story-telling that speaks to her fans on a personal level. She’s been featured in The Guardian, Flare, The Kit and Cityline. She also hosts events for Dress for Success, the Gem Conference, and has been named a United Way Person 2 Know for the past three years.

Find me on: Web | Instagram

Leave a comment

  1. January 29, 2016 / 8:05 am

    Nice! I loved this!! I don’t like contouring for everyday makeup either! Although I actually never do it “fully”, I do tend to go pretty light on it when I do, it’s almost unnoticeable lol. And the Instagram eyebrows! Ugh! I can’t deal with it! I like mine to look fairly natural and not so fake and filled in. Some girls might give me crap though because they think “my eyebrows need work”. Junk off your high horse, I’m perfect fine with the way my brows look. lol. Great post though! I loved reading it! If only I could take a few classes. ?

    • January 29, 2016 / 11:12 am

      HAHAHA! Best rant ever. I agree with you totally. While I love a good contour, few do it properly and end up with “Crazy Face”. Don’t even get me started on the instagram eyebrows! Thanks for reading!

      • January 29, 2016 / 11:51 am

        Haha thank you, thank you! I’ll be here all day. ? and yes, crazy face instead lol.

        • January 29, 2016 / 4:15 pm

          HAHAHAHAHA! Ijust busted out laughing at the “I’ll be here all day”. Happy Friday, my dear! xo

          • January 29, 2016 / 4:24 pm

            Happy weekend! ?

  2. January 29, 2016 / 8:06 am

    I meant jump off not junk lol sorry my rant ran a little too long there lol

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