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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Who are some of your favourite makeup artists?
Pat McGrath, Lisa Eldridge, Kevyn Aucoin.