Lower Lonsdale makeup artist Denise Elliott began experimenting with winged eyeliner and big false lashes when she was 10 years old.
“Looking back, that’s definitely a type of makeup I wouldn’t recommend for walking around town, but it made for a lot of fun back then,” says the one-time competitive dancer.
Elliott, who grew up in Blueridge and graduated from Windsor secondary, went on to study at the renowned Blanche Macdonald Centre.
After earning her beauty school certification and honing her skills at Holt Renfrew’s cosmetics counter, Elliott took on and aced the delicate task of beautifying brides on their big day, starting with family and friends.
Elliott started picking up more and more clients through word-of-mouth referrals and quickly realized the wedding industry was growing. So she hired a team a contractors and by 2014 the team was doing nearly 100 weddings a year.
In 2013, Elliott won her first B.C. Wedding Makeup Artist of the Year award and was a finalist the following year. In 2016, Elliott snagged best makeup artist for a second time and her company Denise Elliott Beauty Co. earned first finalist spot in the hair category.
That same year, in late 2016, Elliott celebrated the opening of her eponymous makeup and hair salon in Lower Lonsdale, filling what she says was a void in the beauty industry on the North Shore.
“The concept of our studio is different because we provide both makeup and hair,” explains Elliott.
The boutique, bathed in soft flattering lighting, is a one-stop beauty shop: bridal, special occasion and everyday makeup and hair services, including cut, colour and blowouts, are done by the highly trained artists.
Elliott also offers makeup lessons and beauty parties, which leave clients of all ages feeling confident enough to apply the makeup tricks and tips at home.
“When you come to a makeup party at our studio, each person will receive a customized lesson for the look they want,” says Elliott. “We will show you how to highlight your best features, which products work best for your skin and request, then we apply half the look as a lesson, and help you apply the other side.”
A customized glam hair and makeup look starts at $130.
Makeup and haircare brands that line Elliott’s shelves are ones she is loyal to because they have proved their worth in her books.
“Stila has been a brand I’ve been using for many years as a makeup artist,” says Elliott.
“The line has great quality products at a medium price point, plus they have all-day staying power so your look will last all day. Paul & Joe is another full makeup line I carry and they have extremely cute packaging and amazing formulas. Glo Minerals is another great product line for people who are looking for a more natural mineral based makeup. They are cruelty-free and great for people with sensitive skin or any skin allergies.”
Evo, the haircare line Elliott carries, is paraben free, sulphate free and, according to Elliott, smells amazing.
On the skincare side of things, Elliott says her shop is the first in Canada to carry Korean-based Racinne beauty products, which offer solutions for sensitive skin, anti-aging, brightening and hydration.
At the end of the day, Elliott’s beauty philosophy is all about bringing out a woman’s natural beauty by enhancing their best features to complement their skin, style and personality.
Current trends for the summer, says Elliott, are neutral, bronze tones giving that sun-kissed glow.
As for bridal beauty trends, “You can never go wrong with a timeless look (especially on your wedding day) – this is our specialty, however we can always create any look you may have in mind,” says Elliott, who also offers mobile makeup and hair services on location.
Elliott’s handiwork has graced the pages of Vanity Fair, WedLuxe and Real Wedding Magazine, and the face of Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Denise Elliott Beauty Co. will host a grand opening bash Thursday, April 6, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Guests can enjoy sips, bites and a quick lip or curl at the event. 129 Lonsdale Ave. deniseelliott.ca