Backstage tales and take-home tips from the 5 Canadians creating beauty looks at New York Fashion Week

The cheat-sheet on how to get the next hottest looks from the artists who invented them.

The cheat-sheet on how to get the next hottest looks from the artists who invented them

Backstage at Son Jung Wan, New York Fashion Week SS19 (Credit: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Make no mistake about it, New York Fashion Week is seven full days of fast-paced action, and, arguably, the starting point for some of the biggest beauty trends of any season. Behind-the-scenes each and every show, there's a network of makeup, hair and nail pros working their magic to create and pull off the looks you'll see everywhere, and Some of the biggest backstage players behind our favourite beauty trends are in fact Canadian. If you're wondering who they are and what they have in store for us all, look no further. Below, the inspiration for their NYFW creations, and a cheat-sheet to doing the same at home.

Jorge Joao, International Redken Artist

(Courtesy of Jorge Joao)

Number of seasons at NYFW: "I think this is number 8."

Favourite show so far this season: "Claudia Li was fun for hair. We wanted the hair to look like day three or day four hair, so, reality for this cool girl on the street that made plans last minute and has to step out. Every girl had an individual style. We just said the theme of the runway show was texture and dewy lived-in hair. Some girls had messy buns or knots, random braids or untucked ponytails. We looked at the models and did little consultations to decide what suited her face, and then had the ability to get creative. As hairdressers, usually you're following a guideline, for this one, we had the openness to get in there, and do what we wanted."

Favourite trend so far this season: "Most shows, it was the wet look or the lived-in look. I don't want to use the word grunge, but it's very New York street, borderline overworked with product or the wet look. I love working with the models' organic texture, whether it's straight, curly, wavy. I love working with what the model naturally has. I think it just suits them best. Every time we have a uniform look and we have to change from the natural texture completely to the opposite of what they have, I feel like it looks forced."

Top tip for getting the look at home: "Less is more. You want to have a good dry shampoo. Most people use it when their hair is starting to get oily. I say use it right out of the shower. It's like using deodorant. You don't use it when there's a problem, you put it on out of the shower to prevent it. When you style your hair out of the shower, put some in and it start working even before becomes a problem, so you actually get more longevity out of it."

Must-have product of the season: "Right now, for me, it's our Fashion Works 12 light finishing hairspray. Fashion Works 12 is controllable, and it's not sticky when you get your fingers caught up in it. It allows your hair to move, and it has 24-hour humidity control. Whether your hair is down or up it's going to keep it fresh. Every model has a bit of it in her hair during Fashion Week."   

Rita Remark, Lead Nail Artist for essie Canada + Global Educator

(Credit: Robby Mariani)

Number of seasons at NYFW: "13!"

Favourite show so far this season: "It's a tie! This season I worked on two completely different but incredible shows. First up, I was back working for Monse. I loved this show because I polished both the girls and guys walking the runway. Next, I had the great honour of designing the nails for Brandon Maxwell's show for the first time. His show was inspired by Texan 'it' girls with a playfully pink runway littered with Texan flags and pick-up trucks. The nails were polished in an effortless pink gloss, essie's 'sugar daddy.' The model list on the show was stacked and I was so thrilled to tend to hands of Gigi and Bella Hadid, Emily Didonato, Lily Aldridge, Joan Smalls and many others! Talk about a dream team."

Favourite trend so far this season: "It has to be the trend of men wearing polish. Though it may be a niche trend, it's so new to the runway and I love it! Polish is a beauty ritual, but at the end of the day, it's a really fun vehicle for self-expression, so why leave all the fun to the girls?"

Top tip for getting the look at home: "All models at Monse wore the same design, but there were small differences. While the girls wore a slightly more prim base colour of essie's 'mademoiselle' paired with white accents in 'blanc' and a shiny topcoat, the men wore the nail accents on bare nails with the matte top coat, 'matte about you'. For any guy wanting to venture into this nail trend, a matte topcoat is an edgier finish.

Must-have product of the season: "This season featured a lot of long and dramatic length, so grab something from essie's Treat Love Color collection; it comes in a variety of shades like all the colours we've been seeing on the runway this season and it's strengthening ingredients will help you grow your nails to talon-like lengths."

Grace Lee, Lead Makeup Artist for Maybelline New York Canada

(Credit: Maybelline New York Canada)

Number of seasons at NYFW: "Season number 11 with Maybelline New York!"

Favourite show so far this season: "KITH was hands down my favourite in my whole career. There were 122 models who did four scenes alongside KITH, Tommy Hilfiger, Greg Lauren and finally the Versace scene. It was a major show with so many elements and different makeup looks. It was a huge production and it was so exciting to be a part of it in New York City!"

Favourite trend so far this season: "I loved the graphic eye I created for Versace at the KITH show, but equally loved the red lip I created for Cushnie et Ochs where we used the same Made For All RED lipstick on every model."

Top tip for getting the look at home: "Don't be afraid to play with red lipstick! There are so many ways to use it and it always finishes off a look."

Must-have product of the season: "Maybelline New York Superstay Matte Ink Lipstick —  so many shows used this product. With so many colours to choose from, you can't go wrong by keeping this in your bag!"

Jason Lee, owner of Jason Lee Salon and colourist/stylist at Serge Normant for John Frieda

(Courtesy of Jason Lee)

Number of seasons at NYFW: "2."

Favourite show so far this season: "I loved the hair our team did for Son Jung Wan this season led by Jorge Luis. The hair was slicked back in a severe side part into a strong ponytail with ultra-glossy roots. The show itself was beautiful and my favourite aspects were the black and white prints as well as the iridescent tones used throughout the collection. The show was stunning, and the hair really complemented the look. 

Favourite trend so far this season: "I was obsessed with the brushed out roughed up beach wave that we did for Ozlana. Half of the models left the hair down; the other half had a ponytail at the curve of the head which gave it a slightly casual feel. I would say my favourite trend was a mid-level ponytail that was prominent at several different shows that I worked on." 

Top tip for getting the look at home: "I ran out of Bungee elastics on my first day and had to rush to a beauty store in NYC before my next day started. I loaded up on them because they make doing ponytails so easy! A bungee hair elastic is a small elastic cord that has hooks on each end. At the base of the ponytail, you hook in one end into the hair and then wrap the elastic around, hooking the other end into the hair securing it. Gone are the days of pulling hair through traditional elastics ultimately tearing and damaging the hair."   

Must-have product of the season: "I became obsessed with Milbon Creative Style Wet Shine Cream #8 to create the ultra-glossy wet looks that we did.  It kept the hair looking wet and glossy while securing the style into place." 

Jane McKay, M·A·C Senior Artist

(Courtesy of Jane McKay)

Number of seasons at NYFW: "I've been fortunate to have worked with M·A·C backstage for the last 25 seasons of NYFW or so."

Favourite show so far this season: "Brandon Maxwell. Not only does Brandon design incredibly beautiful clothes, but he works with the best models, hair and makeup teams. The high-end production quality and staging created an atmosphere right out of the heart of Texas. The makeup theme was "Baby Barbies" in Texas. We used pink on the eyes with the in Free to Be, on the lips we used Lipglass in Baby B, and powder blush in Pinch O' Peach blended with Pink Swoon on the cheeks. Pink captures the youthful energy of a baby Barbie, so it went perfectly with the theme."

Favourite trend so far this season: "Flawless skin. Who doesn't want incredible looking skin? A staple in my kit is the Studio Fix foundation, powder plus foundation and concealer. The line has withstood the test of time and emerged as the hero product for flawless backstage skin."

Top tip for getting the look at home: "Always moisturize your skin prior to applying foundation. This will provide hydration and moisture to your skin, help plump up skin and create a smooth base for your makeup. I prefer to apply foundation only where it is needed the most, generally in the t-zone area, and blend outwards. Next, I like to add a little extra coverage under the eye or on blemishes with concealer, with a brush it gives an airbrushed finish.

Must-have product of the season: "Without question, M·A·C Cosmetics' Powder Kiss Lipsticks have been a runway hit this NYFW. I know how time-consuming it can be to achieve the soft-focus blurred matte lip look that is all the rage at every fashion week. It takes multiple products and different tools, but now we can achieve the look with one lipstick thanks to this formula that blurs, smooths and hydrates lips immediately and over time."