Like most people, I have a glam squad of me, myself, and I. There are no celebrity stylists curling my hair, no Instagram-famous makeup artists painting my face, and not a single person dedicated to preparing my wigs and extensions (bummer, I know).
Still, every time I check Instagram or watch reality TV, I'm confronted with a barrage of images featuring celebs and their beauty pros. I sit there scrolling, wondering what it would be like to get dolled up for two hours a day just to live my life. So, I decided to try it and booked my very own glam squad for an entire week. Would it be as glamorous as it appears on TV? Would the early call time eat into my work schedule?
I booked five full days with the aptly named GlamSquad -- a company that sends beauty professionals to your door -- which paired me with three stylists: Brittany-Rae Brooks (hair), Steve Schepis (makeup), and Deborah Padilla (makeup). They were prompt and ready to go with huge, rolling kits that had just about every foundation, hair tool, and eyeshadow anyone could ever need. As a beauty enthusiast, I was really excited about all the things I'd learn from my squad. I felt a little bit like Kylie Jenner, soaking in everything so that I could re-create it on myself later.
Below, check out a Facebook Live video in which Schepis and Brooks walk me through day three's look, and then click ahead for a play-by-play of my experience.
To see full video tutorial click here.
It's 9 a.m. on a Monday and, in true celeb fashion, I'm already running late for my GlamSquad appointment. We get to work immediately, and decide on soft, brown smoky eyes, nude lips, and beachy waves.
Schepis, my makeup artist for the day, starts by sweeping a few of the bronzy shades from Smashbox's Full Exposure eye palette onto my lids. He blends MAC Face and Body foundation onto my skin, and adds definition to my cheeks with Anastasia's Contour Kit. He finishes with a light layer of nude L'Oréal Colour Riche lipstick and a few individual eyelashes from Ardell. (Pro tip: Schepis always reaches for individual eyelashes because they give the most natural effect and are easier to apply than a full set.)
As Schepis paints my face, Brooks, my hairstylist, works on my hair. She mists a little Kérastase V.I.P. volumizing hairspray (a dry texturizing spray) over my entire head before curling small sections with 1-inch and 1/4-inch irons. Using two different curling-iron sizes gives the hair a more natural-looking wave, she tells me.
I love the finished look. I'm a cat-eye regular, and the smoky eye is a welcome departure from my go-to flick. And the hair? I don't think I've ever had locks so bouncy and voluminous. (See it in action here.)
We don't finish my makeup until 10:45 a.m. that morning, so I have to hustle to get my work done. But after chatting with Schepis and Brooks for nearly two hours, I feel like we're forging the beginning of a friendship -- which often happens between a client and his or her glam squad.
Brooks and I bond over our love of the Kardashians' hairstylist and go-to braider Justine Marjan, so we decide on a braided updo -- the perfect look for my second-day hair. I slept in my curls the night before, so Brooks brushes a little hair serum through my strands before braiding the pigtails back toward my nape. (According to Brooks, the serum also helps keep flyaways and frizz at bay.) She finishes by tucking and pinning the ends of my braids at the nape for a short-haired variation of a low chignon.
Padilla, a beauty veteran who has been dolling up faces for over a decade, is on makeup duty today. And she is by far the fastest makeup artist I've ever met. She slicks on Inglot black gel eyeliner, MAC Face and Body foundation, Tarte's Park Ave. Princess bronzer, individual eyelashes, and Hourglass lip gloss in Muse (a pretty coral) in under an hour. This look feels the most like "me," so I'm really excited to actually have plans after work (a rare occurrence)
On the third day of the GlamSquad experience, we film an FB Live video detailing this look (a half-topknot and champagne eyes). I feel like a Kardashian getting ready to film a tutorial for my app. Am I on the fast track to becoming a beauty mogul?
The inspiration for the look came from makeup artist Patrick Ta's recent work with Gigi Hadid. I'm a little bummed that the lipstick Schepis chooses (NARS Lipstick in Rikugien) isn't a perfect match for Hadid's brown-mauve pout, but I'm still happy with the outcome.
Hair-wise, Brooks goes for a half-topknot with wavy ends. She beefs up my bun by teasing my hair at the roots. This isn't my favorite look (it was a little too out-there for me), but I liked that Brooks pulled me out of my comfort zone.
By day four, I'm starting to miss doing my own hair and makeup. As a beauty junkie who has managed to turn her obsession into a full-time job, I take pride in my morning ritual. My weeklong pampering session (although wonderful in its own way) makes me realize how much I truly love doing my hair and makeup. In a way, getting ready is one of the only times during the day that I truly have to myself -- it's a time when I can recharge and mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. Without it, I feel off-kilter.
Nevertheless, there's only one day left, and I want to make the most of it. So we go all out with super-sleek hair (courtesy of Chi's Classic Tourmaline Flat Iron) and a copper smoky eye with various shadows from Schepis' kit.
I feel a little ridiculous working all day in makeup so dramatic, it elicits comments like, "Where are you going tonight?" and "Someone's doing something fancy later!" from my coworkers. So on day five of my experiment, I just want to look like myself. I ask Brooks and Schepis to give me a cat-eye, red lips (these are courtesy of Givenchy Le Rouge in Carmin Escarpin), and some loose waves.
By the end of the week, I realize I just don't have time to commit over an hour every day to having my hair and makeup done by professionals -- no matter how gorgeous it looked. Having a glam squad isn't ideal for my regular 9-to-5 writing gig (but if it is for your job, by all means have at it). For celebrities whose jobs often revolve around their appearances, it totally makes sense.
That being said, I learned so much from Brooks, Schepis, and Padilla during my five days with them. Would I call upon a glam squad every day? Hell, no. But for a special event, I would definitely consider it.
At the end of the week, the tips and tricks I got from these artists were what made this experience truly valuable. On Saturday morning, I jumped out of bed and grabbed a bag of new products I had wanted to try. I took extra time to sculpt my cheekbones, zhuzh my hair, and draw on my cat-eye. When I finished glamming myself up, I looked in the mirror and smiled. Sure, my makeup wasn't red-carpet-ready, but I felt like myself.
By: Mi-Anne Chan