Scarlett Dahlia Makeup Artistry

MB Designs by Scarlett Dahlia

Professional Woman's Beauty

A space dedicated to navigating the real life beauty issues facing women in the workplace.

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@scarlettdahlia_fotd Instagram and Why I'm No Longer Tagging Brands

Posted on 27 January, 2017 at 17:20 Comments comments (0)

Last summer I started a "face of the day" (FOTD) Instagram to show my looks of the day in conjunction with this blog. I fell off the wagon rather quickly with my posts, for a couple reasons:


  1. It was summer, and I was a bit lazy, and would much rather be getting dirty and sweaty in my garden than spending 20 mins doing my makeup and then another hour taking selfies, feeling like a troll, editing the selfies, wondering why I can't take an insta-glam photo of my eye (seriously, my own eye on its own is hella creepy – yet that's the instagram makeup standard shot), creating the layout photo, labelling and tagging each product and company.
  2.  I knew my intent was to show my followers/readers that you can wear colour in your 30s and beyond in a subtle way and not feel you look like a clown. My intent has never been to try become insta-famous for showing the same style of looks as other accounts – they are talented artists who are way better at those perfectly curated makeup posts than I am. However, I felt that I wasn't achieving my original goal with my posts.


I knew I didn't want to abandon the account, but it was perhaps an idea before it's time. After thinking on it, and interacting with some of you, I know that the reason people are interested (and why I'm still slowly amassing quality followers without posting in 6 months) is because you believe in what I am trying to achieve, and the honesty I put into my business and educating my clients and readers.


Here is the new format of the FOTD posts going forward:

  • There will be no more close ups. There's nothing interesting to see anyway, and I want the focus to be on how the colours look as a whole face. The problem I find with inspiration images clients bring me is that they are sometimes just individual features and people have a hard time putting those together and visualizing what that would look like on themselves. Think of it like those house-selling shows – the house is so crazy cluttered and there's too much to look at, and the buyers can't visualize their things in there or get an accurate picture of the space. Same goes for looking at eyes and lips in boxes; a full picture is always better.
  • Photo with and one without glasses. It's just not that common to see makeup photos on Instagram with glasses. I didn't even clue in until a reader (thanks Heather C!) commented on Marie's date night look, how nice it was to see a blog post with someone wearing their glasses. I always wear my glasses, and so hopefully this will help people be more confident in wearing coloured makeup with their glasses too.
  • No more tagging brands or naming products. I'm nowhere near influential enough for it even to matter if I tag a brand or not. I find it incredibly time consuming and tedious. Really, at the end of the day, I don't want you to get hung up on who made what, or needing to rush out and buy the latest palette for that particular colour. Instead, I am providing a swatch photo with each look so that you can see what colours I used. The swatch will always start with the eyelid (base, eyeshadow, liner), followed by cheeks, then lips. The upward swatch of the eyeshadow over the eye base will give you an idea of how different bases change the shadow colour. If you have a specific question, you can ask in the comments or private message me. I'm also not swatching things that don't change from day to day, like foundation, brow powder or mascara. The idea is to familiarize yourself with how eye, cheek, and lip colours work together to create an entire look.


So head on over to to follow along with my daily looks! Also, I am currently booking in more professional women for the blog, so there will be new posts starting next month.

Tips for Oily Skin

Posted on 16 December, 2016 at 11:25 Comments comments (1)

We're back! Today's lovely lady is Josi, who works in an office environment and manages a team of people. Josi wants a fresh look that looks good all day at work and is easy for a mom on the go. Like many of us, she has been using the same products for a number of years and is finding that they no longer suit her skin type – specifically her go-to foundation now feels too heavy and is having trouble lasting the day.



Look at how gorgeous her skin is without makeup! Her biggest skin complaint? That her skin gets a tad greasy throughout the day (which is the cause of the foundation wear issues). Want to know why her skin is so gorgeous on it's own? Because her "greasy" issue is actually kinda beneficial to skin health. People who produce more skin oils tend to see a delay in the effects of aging compared to those with drier skin types. What is important for an oily skin type is having a good skin care regime that keeps those natural oils in balance. Good skin care prevents breakouts and blackheads, without being overly drying – which can actually lead to even more oil production as your skin tries to compensate.



The look before she left the studio. Josi's typical look is some eyeliner and mascara, and she wanted to try a classic eyeshadow look. For the rest of her makeup we used the Essentials palette, putting the shimmery taupe (521) on the lid and blending the matte taupe (466) softly into the crease. I showed her how to contour for her face shape (contouring will be a future post!) and lastly we used the matte dusty rose blush (292), champagne highlighter (508) and 'Hello Dolly' gloss for lips. All items are available in the online shop.

I had a bit of an alterior motive once I understood more about Josi's skin type, and what we ended up doing was using her as a wear test for a foundation formula I was considering adding to my kit, and possibly the retail range. Josi was also going to a concert that night – packed venue and dancing, perfect! We prepped her skin with a toner to remove any surface dirt and oil from the day, and then applied the foundation straight on her skin with a bit of moisturizer as a primer in her dryer areas away from her T-zone. I know that this wasn't the ideal way of doing things, but part of product testing is to throw everything and the kitchen sink at your product and see how it performs. I wanted to approximate how someone might apply the product at home. Needless to say, things progressed as I expected and the foundation was fine through supper but broke down by the end of the night.

Josi's makeup journey does have a happy ending though. She came back to me a few weeks later to have her makeup done for her family photos. Since this was game time, I treated her skin how I would any other client – no experimenting today. We used the same toner to prep, then applied Nuturing Force Blot Out Offensive primer (this stuff will even stop you sweating!), then a thin layer of waterbased airbrush foundation. It felt great for Josi, and lasted the day.

You may be thinking, that's great for a photoshoot, but I don't have those products or an airbrush, so how can you make foundation last on oily skin?

  • First off preperation is important. Start with clean skin, only add moisturizer or a light facial oil where needed and make sure it is completely absorbed into the skin before proceeding.
  • Use a good quality oil-control or mattifying primer.
  • Choose the lightest amount of coverage foundation as possible.
  • For most people with oily skin, products with silicone in them tend to feel greasier and heavier, so you may want to opt for waterbased products.
  • If your foundation is not self-setting, you may want to try a setting spray; some of them come in oil-control formulas. (Self-setting foundations are generally advertised as cream-to-powder. If your foundation "dries down" a few minutes after applying and you can't rub it around, then it's a self-setting one).
  • One big thing though is that not everyone's skin is the same, and unfortunately it's a bit of trial and error sometimes to find a combo that works. Just remember, less is usually better – use as few products as possible to achieve your result, opt for lighter formulas over heavier ones, only use what you need/don't drown your skin with thick layers.
  • If you need to remove oil during the day, opt for blotting papers (gently press into skin, don't swipe) as opposed to powder which will build up and become cakey over time and may even change the colour of your foundation.
  • Don't stress over it – remember you'll be the freshest face in the retirement home! All of us dry wrinkly raisins will be jealous of you.


We will continue the blog series in the new year. Thank you to everyone who reads and has been asking me when the next post is coming. It's nice to know that you are finding this information useful. Happy holidays!! - Amanda

Win a makeup palette!

Posted on 7 September, 2016 at 10:10 Comments comments (24)

**Contest is now closed - thank you to everyone who entered!** Winner will be announced in the comments.

Last night I launched my new cosmetics line and today to celebrate the launch as well as the 3rd anniversary of Scarlett Dahlia Makeup Artistry, we are giving away one of the new Fall/Holiday 2016 palettes! It has everything you need to create a subtle to dramatic look.

To enter, all you have to do is comment below on this post. Tell me what you think of the line, which product is your favorite, or just say hi! Then be sure to head over to the webstore to check out the rest of the line or book in for a private shopping appointment here

Giveaway is open to residents of Canada only; one entry per email; giveaway closes on September 30th at noon GMT-6:00 SK time.

Date Night Makeup - or Makeup Psychology 101

Posted on 15 August, 2016 at 9:55 Comments comments (1)

Today's lovely lady for the blog is Marie! She typically only uses makeup to cover any blemishes that pop up, and wanted to learn a nice look for going on a first date.


When introducing makeup into your routine, I feel it is important to choose a makeup look that feels true to who you are – especially when we are trying to make a positive first impression on someone. Remember first impressions occur not only through meeting for the first time face to face, but also when others see a picture of us (which happens quite often in today's social media driven culture). If, like Marie, you don't typically wear much makeup during the day but still want to put a polished image forward, we need to start by asking some basic questions:


  • What makes us want to wear makeup in this situation? Possible answers could be "I want to try this new lip colour I've been eyeing up", or "I want to cover a blemish/uneven skin tone", or "I feel self-conscious about ______". There is nothing wrong with using makeup to hide a pimple or make a facial feature we're not fond of look better – for example: I feel like I have giant droopy tired eyes and eyeliner helps me feel more confident.


However, you need to step back and think some more if your gut reaction to this question is something like "I want to look/feel pretty", "I want people to think I care about my appearance/put effort into my look/take care of myself", or "I feel pressured to wear makeup to compete with the gorgeous girls I see online". The problem is a lot of women frame the desire to wear makeup based on some idea we have that our natural appearance is unacceptable in today's society; that this giant collective Other will not approve of us if all we wear is some mascara and lip balm.

Now, 99.9999% of us probably have answers that fall into the second category. It isn't wrong to want to wear makeup for those reasons, but I just want you to recognize the difference between a constructive, self-driven choice to wear makeup versus a choice stemming from feelings of self-doubt and peer-pressure. If you recognize the motivating factor has roots in problems with self-esteem, that's the first step in correcting this destructive way of thinking. Makeup should be a personal pleasure, not a tool to conform or hide behind.


  • Second question: Whose style do you admire? If you're not sure where to start in picking a makeup look to try, think of celebrities or people you know whose makeup you admire. Is this a look that you feel you would be comfortable in? Remember you can always take the same aesthetics of a look and adjust it to suit your comfort level.
  • Third question: How much do you want to deviate from your norm? I feel like your makeup look in most instances should not be a drastic change from how you feel most comfortable going about your everyday activities. Always put your honest self forward.
  • Fourth question: Now that we have an idea of a look that feels true to you – is this a look you can execute properly? If it's a bit out of your skill set, are you willing to put in the practice time needed? Avoid trying an overly technical look for the first time right before you need to be out the door to go somewhere – you may end up frustrated and feeling rushed. Give yourself plenty of time, and remember it's just makeup – try pin-point why it didn't work out the way you wanted to, wash it off, and start again.



After discussing a look for Marie's date night, we got go work. The fundamentals of this look were really quite simple: a light foundation, light shimmery lid colour with a matte dark brown blended into the crease to add some drama and definition to the eye, simple brown liner on the top lid, mascara, and light blush.

Next we discussed different ways of adapting this basic look:

1. Use a lighter brown in the crease (or no crease shade at all) for a work appropriate day look.

2. Use a brown or black liner on the outer corner of the bottom water line to add a bit more intensity – suitable for most occasions

3. Use the same brown or black liner all the way accross the bottom water line to add even more intensity – great for evenings out

Normally Marie would choose a lip colour closer to her natural lip colour, but we were having fun and I talked her into trying something out of the ordinary. We chose a brick-red and she looks fantastic in it!


Even though this was more makeup than she is used to wearing, she still felt that she looked true to herself, could execute the look on her own, and would be giving others a positive and genuine first impression. Success!


If you are inspired to start your own makeup journey, you can now book your makeup application or lesson appointment with us online here.