The 5 Best Backstage Makeup Tips I Took From Toronto Fashion Week

Grace Lee was the head makeup artist for every single show, and watching her work was a true learning experience.

I love watching professionals work, no matter their field. It's always interesting for me to quietly observe someone doing what it is that they do best, and I always file away the things that I see, hoping that the intel will serve me well sometime in the future.

Watching Grace Lee do her thing was no exception. Grace was the head makeup artist for EVERY SINGLE SHOW at Toronto Fashion Week, creating looks and using products exclusively from Maybelline, and she pulled it off with a seemingly effortless... well, grace.

Seeing her work was a learning experience. She would be applying makeup to models with a precise skill, all the while explaining her technique to a swarm of beauty journalists. I was impressed by her multitasking and took many mental notes while snapping away with my camera.

One of the coolest experiences was seeing her explain the makeup look for Joe Fresh, one of the biggest and most popular shows of the season. While the look had a wintry vibe, there were plenty of tips and tricks that I took away that I will continue to use well into the warmer months. They're techniques you can pop into your daily routine for a little somethin' somethin'.

Blur Everything To Perfection

For a while, "blurring" products have been popping up on the market. They're clear and have a silky texture that makes pores seem to disappear while giving skin an overall mattified, airbrushed effect.

Backstage at Toronto Fashion Week, Grace employed Maybelline's new Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser, a light-diffusing base product, at the start of every makeup look. It left the skin looking smooth and helped everything else to apply flawlessly. Dream Fresh BB Cream was then applied on top to even skin tone.

I've been using Baby Skin before applying my makeup ever since, and I love how it makes my skin look, especially my nose which has the largest pores on my face.

Lip Balm Works For EVERYTHING

Plain old lip balm is seriously a wonder product. I'm talking clear, slightly sticky stuff with no medicated ingredients, like original Rosebud Salve or Maybelline Baby Lips in Quenched, a clear, soft balm from the brand's best selling line.

Watching Grace work, she used Baby Lips on yeah, the model's lips obviously, but also on the tops of cheekbones for the prettiest hint of shine, or blended with cream eyeshadow to create a modern, glossy texture. I particularly love using balm for the former use, since highlighting products can be way too shimmery sometimes. Instead, clear balm provides the sweetest bit of glisten on the highest points of the face without making you look like a crazy disco ball.

A few more uses from my personal notebook of beauty tips: smear balm on scraggly cuticles, flyaways, and unruly brows. Instant perfection!

Layer Blush Shades AND Formulas For Dimension

The blush look at Joe Fresh was all about flushed prettiness, which I think looks great year round. It makes you look healthy, like you've just gone for a run or had a particularly intense make-out session.

Grace even applied blush to the tips of the model's noses for an "in-from-the-outdoors" vibe, but her application technique is what really caught my eye.

Cream blush, in particular Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick in Make Mauve, a browny pink-mauve, was applied closer to the hairline and along the cheekbones to sculpt, and then Dream Bouncy Blush in Pink Plum, a gel-to-powder formula, was applied.

The lighter, pinker shade was brushed onto the apples of the cheeks and near the temples for a natural flush.

It's Okay To Use Your Fingers

Yes, makeup brushes and sponges can make your makeup look flawless. Using the right tools can make inexpensive products look like a million bucks, but sometimes, your fingertips can do the job fantastically. Pat McGrath (all hail the queen) is famous for using her hands to blend and create many of her most iconic runway looks to date, and in between swiping on products with different brushes, I saw Grace Lee touch up models' faces with her fingertips.

With clean and dry fingertips, cream products can be pressed and warmed into the skin for a softened look. I love using my fingers for creamy blushes, highlighters, and cream eyeshadows. The heat from your skin really helps activate the formulas to blend better, so don't be scared. Just make sure your hands are clean, ok?

Use My New Favourite Mascara (Seriously)

The best tip I took away from watching Grace work wasn't actually a tip, but rather, a product recommendation. Maybelline's new Pumped Up! Colossal Volum' Express Mascara, which launches next month, is seriously fab.

I'm not really used to wearing drugstore mascara--I just haven't purchased a tube in ages. But when I tried this stuff, I actually said "wow" out loud, with possibly a couple surprised curse words thrown in. It makes my lashes look so long and voluminous, particularly along my lower lash line, and gives my eyes an overall doll effect. If you make only one beauty purchase in April, I would definitely recommend picking up a tube of this.

So, did you learn anything new? Is there anything in particular you'd love to learn about from a beauty professional?