Everyday confidence from your lunchbox makeup bag

Note: I attended a beauty workshop with a friend this past weekend and it was some well spent girl-time. I wasn’t asked to promote this beauty workshop or any of the products mentioned in this post – I just honestly enjoyed it and think you may too.

For many years, I’ve felt entirely clueless when it comes to applying makeup. My mother is a beauty, but she’s never liked wearing makeup (and that’s okay – I still think she’s gorgeous and I respect her for her decisions). So naturally (pun intended) I had a huge gap in my beauty education. In early high school I started experimenting with makeup when I was going through my Avril Lavigne fan-craze phase – so it was basically black eyeliner and mascara – applied horribly on the upper and lower lash line. Shem, my poor parents. I explicitly remember one occasion where my dad said my eyes look like a crow’s hind-side (now imagine that said in Afrikaans).

That didn’t stop me from experimenting. It went from that to applying brown eyeshadow all over my lid – like the whole lid. Where the hell was YouTube when I was in school? I felt a little isolated in this struggle with the application of makeup. My friends seemed to be getting the hang of it, but I was a really shy girl and never asked for help. When I got to varsity I remember once asking some girls I hung out with a couple of times how they learned to apply makeup so well, because they always wore the most perfect smokey eyes on nights out. They laughed at me and didn’t answer the question – I kid you not. When I discovered the many makeup tutorials on YouTube it was like I hit the jackpot. Finally I could teach myself how to achieve some sort of makeup look. I got me some Cala brushes on takealot.com (I’m not professional, but they’re really nice, soft & affordable and I love them) and since then I’ve been trying out different products – searching for things that wasn’t going to break the bank and that works well for me on a daily basis. I don’t wear a lot of makeup every day, but every now and then I really enjoy experimenting with it and I always welcome the opportunity to learn more about it.



If you’ve ever felt a little lost in the world of makeup and beauty, like I have, it’s easy to also feel intimidated by other women who seem more beautiful or confident. Society created incredibly high beauty standards for women via media shoved in our faces over decades. Girls suffer from shattered self confidence at such young ages, it’s practically a crime, all because they can’t achieve that flawless photoshopped perfection in real life. That’s why it was so incredibly refreshing when I attended a Beauty Workshop with one of my friends this weekend, to hear the host speak of her passion to teach women how to use makeup to boost confidence in a natural way. Not changing who you are and what you look like – not hiding away those beautiful freckles, but simply enhancing and bringing focus and attention to your already gorgeous features. Boosting that natural glow and boosting your confidence with it. I’m passionate about natural beauty myself – so her approach resonated with me.


Candice Mac Nicol worked as a professional makeup artist for nearly a decade with international models and celebrities and now she’s sharing her insider tips and tricks to make your beauty routine easy, fun and flawless – using what you already have in that lunchbox makeup bag of yours. Of course, she does recommend many amazing products that she’s been using for years and I’ve added those to my wishlist. She’s hosting a series of makeup and beauty workshops in South Africa, of which I attended the Cape Town one this past weekend, and there are two more workshops coming up later this month, both in KZN. KZN ladies, you’re in for a treat – you can still book a seat, but you’ll have to hurry because seats are limited. You can find more information about these sessions on Candice’s website, here. She’s a wonderful person with a passion for sharing the beauty industry’s tips and tricks with women, instilling in them the knowledge they need to use makeup and with that, confidence to step into your day looking and feeling beautiful.

Upcoming KZN Workshops

22 May 2018, Tuesday (18h00) – Shop Adele Catherine, Kloof, KZN

26 May 2018, Saturday (10h00) – The Commune, Durban, KZN


The workshop was held at the beautiful Houghton View Boutique Hotel, Camps Bay and we had the best views of the ocean from the living room. Healthy snacks (and some sweet treats for those with a sweet-tooth like me) and mimosas were provided and the table was set up beautifully, complete with a standing makeup mirror and some basic makeup supplies provided for each attendee. Candice also provided each of us with a little booklet made especially for the workshop that mentions all the basic techniques and tools you’ll need and had ample space to take notes next to each topic she discussed.

The workshop was 3 hours long and covered a variety of topics in depth, everything from the importance of skincare and preventative measures when it comes to aging, instead of cosmetically trying to solve the problem, to the do’s and don’ts of contouring. I’d like to share with you a couple of gems from the workshop:



I’ve always known this, and it was nice to have it confirmed by a pro, but your number one defence against age is a good sunscreen. Two things have always stuck with me when it comes to sunscreen: 1) there was this song long ago of a guy who talks and shares some good and proper advice to the beat of some chill tunes – he used to emphasise the use of sunscreen. 2) I watched this video once in my mid-20’s of the unseen damage the sun does to your skin when viewed through a UV camera and what it looks like after you’ve applied sunscreen. It changed my life and I’ve worn sunscreen almost every day since turning 27. I really wish I knew the damaging effects of the sun earlier in life though. So but yeah, point is – wear sunscreen. Always. Face, neck, ears and even your hands and lower arms.


Facial Massage:

Candice is the second person I’ve heard sing the praises of facial massage, saying it’s completely underrated, and I have to agree. I don’t do this nearly enough, but it’s hugely beneficial for your skin’s health, not to mention super relaxing. You can make your own oil mixture to use for this, or use a good cleansing oil (I used to use Dermalogica’s cleansing oil for this some years ago, but now I’m on a tight skincare budget). Candice did mention what she used in her homemade mix for facial massage, but I can’t recall exactly what it was. I can tell you though that I simply use coconut oil. You can apply it before you cleanse, onto your makeup, as it dissolves the makeup very nicely. I usually do this while chilling on the couch and watching Netflix and then afterwards just wipe my face with a fragrance free sensitive baby wipe (if it’s good enough for a newborn’s delicate bottom, it’s good enough for my 30 year old face).



Using powder to control shine:

The dewy look is very trendy at the moment, so apparently you can get away with not using much setting powder and instead use a setting spray that adds a bit of a glow. If you really struggle with oily skin, like I do, then using some powder around your T-zone could be beneficial, but don’t overdo it. Candice also advises you use a soft tissue to blot the really oily parts on your face during the day. Oh and one more thing – don’t use powder under your eyes as that will accentuate fine lines and make you look much older.


Contouring and bronzer:

I was in stitches when Candice talked about her pet peeve with contouring and how she can’t stand seeing people offer advice on contouring online and then use bronzer to contour. She explains this so well: The idea with contouring is to create the illusion of shadows and highlights on your face, thereby basically changing your face and features’ shapes. But the problem comes in when people use bronzer for shadows, as bronzer – though darker in color – has a warm undertone and usually a shimmer to it. So it does nothing to create shadows, but rather lifts that part out and draws attention to it by giving it a sun-kissed look. She continues to explain that shadows in nature usually has a cool blue-ish undertone, which makes sense, and for that reason – if you really feel the need to contour – you should use a powder cream with a cool undertone to contour. To quote her: “If you use bronzer to contour, it doesn’t look like you have cheekbones. It just looks like you have an orange line down your face.” (I die 😂😂😂)



Color correction:

Well this is some voodoo right here. I’ve never seen a bright green being applied to red areas around your nose, just to have it cancel out the redness entirely after the concealer was applied thickly and blended out. I honestly can’t explain the details – you have to see this for yourself to believe it. What I do know is that it has to do with the complementary colors or some such. You know, green is the opposite of red and all that? Yeah, that.



Don’t apply blush while you’re smiling. As soon as you stop smiling your cheeks drop and the blush will look abnormal. Also, applying blush close to your eye creases while you smile means that the blush isn’t applied to the inside of the creases and when you stop smiling, those creases are extra visible. Congrats – you just aged by 10 years!




Doing the eye makeup is possibly by far the most exciting part of putting on your face for the day, so it was great to receive some expert advice on this. I laid out my meager collection of eyeshadow on the table in front of me and suddenly realised that it contained exactly one bold color – a dark pink/purple color. The rest is shades of greyish brown and beige. A very safe palette compared to what Candice was demonstrating on the model. According to Candice, gold, coppers and shades of red is perfect to use for blue or green eyes and it will really make them pop. So I asked her about the palette she was using on Megan – Urban Decay’s Naked Heat – and she quickly demonstrated what those colors can do for my eye color by applying the most gorgeous coppery shades to my lids. It’s safe to say I’m in love with the palette. Apparently if you have brown eyes, you can use pretty much whatever color you want on your eyes.

The finishing touches of course – lashes and brows. Another great tip is to curl your lashes (clean and without any mascara on, or risk breakage) before applying mascara to make your eyes open up even more. This is a great one for us moms to look more awake, as we constantly look dead or dying from exhaustion. Seriously, if a mom of babies/toddlers go out into the world without wearing mascara, you’ll probably be asked if you’re sick. “Haai shame, is jy okay? Is jy siek?” Yes, it has happened to me on multiple occasions.




Here’s a good one. Something I also discovered by chance since becoming a mom. Picture this: It’s winter. You drink a lot of coffee and the occasional glass of red wine after work to stay warm (let’s call it that) and not nearly enough water. One morning you wake up with dry, cracked and burning lips. And soon the skin is broken and peeling off. Or perhaps you have a cold sore on top of that. Whatever can you do to solve this problem? Enter a product you’ve relied on for similar symptoms experienced elsewhere on your body, back when you just started breastfeeding. Pure lanolin oil. Otherwise known as NIPPLE CREAM!

Yes. Nipple cream is the gift that keeps on giving. You can use it to combat cracked, broken nipples, your baby’s cradle cap, your dry elbows, moisturise your cuticles and now your poor dehydrated lips. Candice adds that you can create your own little scrub mixture first by mixing some lip ointment with a spoon of brown sugar, some honey, coconut oil and ONE drop of peppermint oil. Use the scrub to get rid of the dead skin and then at night, apply the pure lanolin oil to your lips and leave it on overnight. Lanolin is very tacky and quite hard to apply when cold – so warm it between your fingers before applying. Apparently you can even apply it to your cold sores and sort of “seal” it and before you know it, it’ll be a thing of the past. I can’t vouch for the cold sores, but I can testify about the dry cracked lips and using pure lanolin oil. Side note – it’s probably better to try and stay hydrated anyway and avoid this sticky situation in the first place.




So there you have it! These are just a few of the gems I picked up from the Beauty Workshop with Candice Mac Nicol. I couldn’t possibly write about all of it, there was just so much amazing stuff and I absolutely loved learning more about the art of applying makeup like a pro. Which is, if you know the insider tips and tricks, really not that hard. Candice – where were you when I was going through my Avril Lavigne phase?

I left the workshop feeling like I was floating on a cloud of newfound confidence. I got more than one compliment on my makeup when I got home, including from my husband, who claims not to like it when I wear makeup.

Huge thanks to Vaughan Treyvellan Photography for providing the pictures he took during the workskop for use on the blog.

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