Estee Lauder's Social Network Event at Holt's: A Long Tribute

I have had my makeup done only a few times in my life.

I worked events as part of a team of people showing off new makeup done by revolutionary makeup artists. This wasn't the normal makeup of new spring pastels. I had black shadowed eyes like a vampire and bright yellow across half my face like an abstract painting.

So when Estee Lauder offered bloggers a chance to have their makeup done and then have a new profile picture taken, I lept at the chance like a dog jumps for a frisbee.

For one, I really and truly love Estee Lauder makeup. It lasts and lasts and its quality is always top notch. And it makes me look way better than I am.

Two, my profile picture is about 7 years old. It's hard to get a picture that is appropriate for your profile AND where you look good. For me, its taken just 7 years.

So I made my appointment with the Estee Lauder counter and actually went down to Holt Renfrew at 4 pm on a Friday no less, without a spit of makeup on. Talk about ego deflating - have you seen the lights in there? It's like they're filming an episode of Law & Order.

Oh, and I was THE ONLY ONE not to wear makeup. The staff are more than happy to remove yours when you arrive.


I expected there to be a few girls, but nothing like this. 10-15 women are getting their makeup done while as many beauticians and makeup artists run after their misplaced brushes and seeking out just the perfect shade of eyeshadow. I wait for 10 minutes and then am taken to a chair by a beautiful woman, coincidentally named Stephanie too (same spelling and everything).

The first thing I liked about her was how plump her skin was and how symmetrical her features were. I could definitely stare into her eyes for the next hour.

The next thing was her makeup. It was exactly the kind of look I've always lusted after - indigo smoky eyes, just a bit of blush and well-lined pink lips - but never can achieve on my own, hence my black eyeliner since high school look.

Steph, as I'll call her, asked me about my skin, what products I currently use (a loaded question for a product tester - do you have a pen and about an hour?) what kind of look I was going for and then told me what she liked about my skin.

Good start, girlfriend.

Then she proceeded to moisturize my skin with the most delicate touch. It's amazing to feel someone else applying products to your face, when you've been doing it for decades. It's like a massage, only you look better by the end of it.

She started with Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refresher, following by Time Zone Line and Wrinkle Reducing Lotion SPF 15. My skin felt fantastic. Completely drenched in moisture for once.

Then she began to work on my eyes.

This blew me away because at home, my next step is always, always, always foundation. She told me that since we were doing a smoky eye (oh yeah) that the shadow will fall under my eye and why have to do my makeup all over again?

Of course, I think to myself.

If only Steph had been around all those years ago....

The second thing she does that I cannot believe is she covers my eyelid completly in Jade and Royal Blue Eyeliners. Eyeliners covering my eyelid? Have you gone mad, woman?!

It turns out that again, Steph is a genius (duh) and she's creating something for the shadow to stick to, as well as forming the most fantabulous canvas of colour. I mean, I can't believe these are my eyes.

Which by the way she says are hazel. My passport up until I was 26 or so says blue and the last one declares they're green. Am I going to be deported?

Steph works on my eyes for a really, really long time. It's enjoyable because there's a ton of chatter and excitement around me and we're in Holt's on a Friday night, so the rich are shopping away and I'm being pampered, so really, I could do this all night.

After the smoky eye is complete, she uses MagnaScopic Black on my lashes and well, I look freakin' fantastic. I am meeting a friend for dinner in Yorkville after this and all I can think is...

"Please let me run into an ex. Please let me run into an ex."

After the eyes, she then does my foundation in an insanely light shade, Resilience Lift Fair, which she does not like me - everywhere on my face - but sponges it ever so lightly in little bits, like she's doing pointillism. I am again shocked by this because it's never occurred to me that you could not have to do the whole face and yet still make it look even. She wasn't going to use concealer at all, but I tell her I don't leave the house without it (my pink undertone, you know) so she daubs the slightest bit of Ideal Light Brush-On Illuminator.

I'm almost done.

The amount of blush that she uses compared to me is laughable. A mere nudge against my cheeks and then it's over. Really? That's what you're going to send me out there with? But it is so perfect, I want to weep. I have those just slightly perfectly pink cheeks like Grace Kelly or Robert Benchley.

Then she does my lips in this Barbie, rich real estate agent pink. (actually it's Pink Blush) I think it might be too much, but this woman has taught me so much - who am I to say no now?

She takes me over to the photographer and her team - a tiny gal at the printer and a guy who's retouching photos hunched into a kitchen counter to work. These poor folks. The photographer Ingrid Punwani is fantastic. She makes me feel confident, of which I am not. Photos often have me looking like a lumpy David Spade. But Ingrid takes 2 (the photography area is right in the front doorway of Holt's - could we be any more in the public's faces? - and says to come back in an hour.

I do errands in Yorkville, feeling like a rich person. Rich folks have people doing their makeup, hair, etc. for them, don't they? Anyway, I feel like a million bucks.

"Please let me run into an ex. Please let me run into an ex."

I don't. It'll happen as it always does, when I've got a high fever and am on my way to the pharmacy, looking like Steve Buscemi.

I get back into Holt's and the guy doing all the retouching to make us look better than we are - even with all of this makeup on - is working away and tells me how good I look in the picture. Now, I'm sure he's saying this to the 60 year old's that were there today, but I appreciate it nonetheless. I am of the age when I'm not too old to be old, but not young enough to be considered hot.

The pictures are laid out on the kitchen counter they've got set up and I get to see a range of women of different ages and styles. It's fascinating. We are all so very different.

But we do have one thing in common - today we look good. And probably, these women feel good as I do. It's nice to be pampered like this. I don't go for manicures or facials, to spas or even go shopping really unless it's for a birthday present or groceries. I've had an hour and a half of being made to feel pretty.

I could get used to this.

My picture slides out of the tiny little printer and I am shocked. Despite my wonky hair, my crazy cheekbones and all the rest of it, I am so pleased with my picture. It's not the best picture of me ever, but I am rarely happy with photos of me. I just always think, "I can't look like that, can I?"

I like it so much that I changed all my online profile pictures as soon as the jpeg was sent, only a few days later.

And thanks to being shown how experts apply makeup, I feel like I do a much better job now at applying my own makeup. I'm no expert, but I'm certainly better now.

Thank you to everyone at Estee Lauder who made me feel fantastic for an afternoon and now, I have a profile picture that is not out of focus for once (a famous trick of mine) and that I feel represents me faithfully - no one has to know that it took a team of people to make me look like that!

p.s. to see the picture of me in all of my glory- and Estee Lauder makeup, go to my twitter page (and sign up while you're there!).

Stephanie Dickison

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