Festival Makeup: Caribana Beauty Tips to Take Your Look to the Next Level
The Toronto Carribbean Carnival — commonly known as ‘Caribana’ — is the largest cultural event in Canada, attracting millions of tourists each and every summer to the city of Toronto. The beauty of Caribana lies not only in how it brings people together, but in the incredible show of culture through colours and costumes.
Mastering a Caribana look is an art. Complimenting a Carnival costume with a makeup look that will wow spectators is an expectation, but not an easy feat. That’s why we spoke to Solange Ashoori, founder of Toronto’s first and only inclusive beauty salon, to give you the Caribana beauty tips that will take your look to the next level. Ashoori’s style bar was created so that anyone with any skin or hair type could walk in and feel comfortable and represented without any anxiety. Each Caribana weekend, her style bar is filled with women of all ethnicities who book appointments with her team of experts in beauty services from makeup and hair, to brows and eyelashes.
Where to start with your Caribana lookIt’s Caribana morning and you’re standing in front of your bathroom mirror with all your makeup spread out onto the counter. You’re ready to create the most unique, electrifying Carnival makeup look anyone has ever seen. There’s only one issue — you don’t know where to begin.
When it comes to where to start, Solange recommends starting with your eyes to avoid a major makeup mistake. “Eye makeup first before any type of skin makeup,” she says. “Your eyeshadow will always just fall down a little bit and you don’t want it getting on your fresh base. If you’re doing a vibrant, smoky, or any type of makeup look that’s on the heavier side, definitely start with your eyes first and then move on to your base.”
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Choosing your Caribana coloursA good eyeshadow palette can be a little intimidating. With so many beautiful colours to choose from, it’s difficult to know which ones are going to blend together to perfectly compliment your costume. “You don’t always necessarily have to match your costume, but in this case, I think something that’s even within the same family would be nice,” Solange suggests. “I think the costumes are multi-coloured and vibrant enough where you could even just take one colour from a jewel off your costume that you could use, and that would still accentuate the whole look.”
Need a palette recommendation? “Right now, I would definitely say the James Charles palette,” Solange says. It has all the colours in there and it’s really beautiful. If you needed to find one palette that would be it.”
Making your Caribana look stand outIn a sea of masqueraders, you don’t want to blend into the crowd. The great thing about Caribana is that everyone tries to put their own unique spin on their costume so that no two masqueraders look alike. “Lots of highlighted glitter and for sure facial jewels are a big thing. That really makes your look stand out,” Solange says of making your look pop. “Some people like to just add a couple jewels around their eyes. Other people just go all the way off and do a whole pattern. I mean, if there’s any day to be completely extra, Caribana would definitely be the day.”
Don’t be afraid of glitterIf you’re a beginner at creating festival looks, you may be tempted to skip the face jewels and glitter altogether. According to Solange, glitter is an essential element of a distinctive Caribana look so you shouldn’t be afraid to use it. “If you’re part of the parade and you’re in a band, then find out your colours, get tools to match and add them all around your face.”
If you’re worried the glitter getting all over the place, there’s an easy way to avoid that. “There’s patches and pads now that you can put under the eye that would cover up the bottom of the eye so that even if you have any spillage, it’s easy to take off.”
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The finishing touch to your Caribana lookIf you want to take your Caribana look to the next level, eyelashes are must. Solange, who has a whole team of experts in eyelashes, gives a few of her pro tips. “I would definitely say a lot of people like to wear lash (eyelash) strips instead of lash extensions. I would recommend lash extensions for a day like Caribana. Outside, you’re sweating, you’re hot and they’re just more durable. But if you do prefer the look of strip lashes, then just get a glue that’s going to hold up.”
Surviving the heatCaribana — which is the first weekend of August in Toronto — is usually on one of the hottest days of the summer. After jumping and waving for hours on the parade route, be prepared for your makeup to melt. The sweat is inevitable, but there are things you can do to keep your look looking fresh from day to night. “A lot of makeup now is waterproof, but waterproof only goes to a certain point,” Solange says. “The best way to maintain it is to dab your face with a napkin or paper towel, and that way you’re blotting instead of wiping, and that will maintain your face makeup.”
If you have oily skin, your makeup may shift more rapidly throughout the day. “People who have very oily skin can use the oil sheets. Fenty has them in their brand — they’re just oil sheets that you put on your face to blot the oil and that protects the makeup.”
RELATED: 10 foods to eat for beautiful clear skin.
The number one Caribana mistake you can makeSolange points out a major beauty mistake she sees a lot of Caribana-goers make with their makeup, and it’s not what you might think. “I would say the number one mistake wouldn’t necessarily be colour or eyeshadow or lipstick based. It would be more on their skin base. I think going too matte would be doing it wrong because you’re going to be sweating and you want to go more for a dewy look to kind of compliment the amount of sweating you’ll be doing that day.
A dewier makeup look will help you achieve a sun-kissed glow like @ariba_pervaiz's Caribana look.
Achieving a more natural lookIf you’re more of a natural gal who likes to keep your makeup simple, you can still have a killer Caribana look with less makeup. “Take a vibrant eyeshadow — pick a colour that highlights your costume or one of your favourite colours in your costume. Even if you want to do nothing else, make sure your base and your skin is protected. Add that vibrant eyeshadow on your eyelids and some waterproof mascara for the day, and you’ll be good.” Solange recommends.
Ziba Style Bar has you covered for CaribanaLet’s face it — these Caribana looks aren’t easy. It takes practice and a steady hand to create these looks which are truly makeup art. If you’d rather leave it to a professional, Solange’s Ziba Style Bar is the go-to salon in Toronto for Caribana hair and makeup styling. With their extended hours and ability to handle any hair and skin type, Ziba is usually packed on Caribana weekend.
“We’re opening up at four in the morning to accommodate because more people that are in the parade need to be there by nine. If anyone wants to do any type of hair braiding or hair styling, I would definitely recommend coming at least the day before.” Ziba is regularly open late on Thursdays and Saturdays until 11:00 PM.
Ziba Style Bar offers hair, makeup, lash extension, and brow services. Appointments fill up quickly, so be sure to book as soon as possible if you’d like a spot Caribana weekend!
Our Caribana beauty expert: Solange AshooriSolange Ashoori is the founder of Ziba Style Bar, Toronto's first inclusive beauty salon. The style bar's mission is to create a space for all women of all hair and skin types to feel confident and comfortable to walk into a salon without anxiety. Having worked in the beauy salon business for 12 years, Solange developed a deep passion for her work, but also noticed that the business was very marginalized. Dealing with the difficulty in finding experts for her own curly hair, Solange did her research and created a space where she could hire the right specialists to cater to anybody that walks in. Ziba Style Bar is truly one-of-a-kind, attracting women of all ethnicities, hair types, and diverse backgrounds who trust her team of knowledgeable experts.