On and off the Red Carpet – beauty advice from Lancôme’s expert Lora Spiga

September 4, 2013

Lora Spiga creates make-up magic. We meet on a warm, late summer day, at L’Oréal’s head office in Toronto. Picture a large, bright space – Lancôme products line the walls, while make-up stations look fun and welcoming.

Spiga, who is Lancome Canada’s official make-up artist, says she holds many of her teaching sessions here, passing along years of experience to other make-up experts at the company.

This month, she shares some of her incredible expertise with FAJO’s international readership, providing many practical tricks on how to look fabulous on and off the Red Carpet.

Lora Spiga.

Lora Spiga.

This is your 19th year with Lancôme. How did you get started in the beauty industry?

If you had asked me 20 years ago where I saw myself, my answer would have probably been a teacher. I just knew I wanted to teach, and then I took a trip I couldn’t afford! (laughs) It was very spontaneous – I went to Switzerland and Italy. When I came back, I took on a part-time job, working for Lancôme as a demo; I was basically a promotional consultant. I loved interacting with people. Shortly afterwards, I became a beauty advisor at that particular location.

I just kind of immersed myself in it more and more. Two years later, I became the account manager, but my passion was always in education. That was my strength: I loved to be on podiums, talking to people. At some events, I wasn’t even talking to people, we had chairs set up and I would talk to the chairs in hopes of generating traffic. (laughs) So I would ask the store if we could get a podium, a microphone, a make-up chair, some make-up items and I would basically be commentating to empty chairs, giving tips on how to do make-up. By the end of my one-hour sessions, the chairs were full.

You’ve done some fashion collaborations in the past, such as the runway show with Denis Gagnon. What was that experience like?

What was really interesting about working with Denis Gagnon is that he has a really great way of looking at beauty, with it being unique to each individual. Lancôme has the same philosophy.

For example, each model had a customized look, so it took a lot of planning beforehand. We had to get all of them ready, and then decide what we were going to put on each model to make her look beautiful. So we actually created four looks for that show, and each model was designated a different look based on her facial features.

Spiga says she greatly enjoyed working with designer Denis Gagnon on his Toronto Fashion Week runway show a couple of years ago.

Spiga says she greatly enjoyed working with designer Denis Gagnon on his Toronto Fashion Week runway show a couple of years ago.

Here is a very practical question: many women don’t have a lot of time in the morning to have a proper beauty routine. Are there any tricks you could share?

I think that the first tip is to stick to a regime because with practice you’ll get better and faster. A lot of women forget that it doesn’t have to take 30 minutes – actually, it doesn’t have to take more than five.

I think the most challenging part for most women is putting the eyeliner on, but you get to know your eyes so well that it just becomes second nature.

You don’t need a lot of make-up to look beautiful. It’s also important to know the areas of your face that you want to enhance.

The average beauty regime for a working woman shouldn’t consist of more than five products: a good moisturizer, foundation, eyeliner, mascara and a lipgloss. Maybe a little bit of blush, but it shouldn’t be elaborate.

And what about men’s routine?

When it comes to a lot of men, it’s important to focus on what feels good on the skin. Men like fresh textures, they don’t want textures that are sticky.

Find something that you really enjoy having on the skin that’s virtually undetectable, but that’s also going to hydrate the skin.

Exfoliating is also very important.

Speaking of exfoliation, everyone has a different philosophy about it in terms of how much is necessary and how often. What do you recommend?

Typically, three times a week is best. The older you get, the more important exfoliating becomes, because cellular turnover slows down and the likelihood of getting a dull complexion and build-up is much higher.

That’s why chemical peels are so popular, because women get to that point in their 40s when they can see they’ve been neglecting their skin. They start looking for the fastest fix. If you take care of your skin leading up to your 40s, you’ll learn that there won’t be as much of a need for an invasive procedure.

Lora Spiga in her creative space.

Lora Spiga in her creative space.

What about the Red Carpet and fashion weeks – TIFF starts tomorrow and so does the New York Fashion Week. What would you say are going to be the big beauty trends?

In terms of Red Carpet looks, they don’t change very much. I think we’re going to see the classic red lip because we’re seeing that for fall again. Maybe a little bit of graphic liner: black or brown, with beautiful lashes. We might see a lot of matted skin, sculpted cheeks, more contouring. I don’t think we will see a lot of eyeshadow.

One of the hot colours is going to be russet. I love it because you can incorporate that colour on the eyes, or you can even do it on the lips.

The snapshots of Lancôme

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By Hannah Yakobi
Photography by Robin Gartner

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