I met Sandrina when I did my spotlight on the Fortino family. You only have to spend a few minutes talking with her to know she loves what she does and that she has the utmost respect for her craft – she’s the ultimate champion for the beauty industry.
Here is my interview with two time award winning make up artist Sandrina Lomedico.
How did you get your start in the beauty industry?
When I was 7 or 8 I started going to the salon with my mom and her hairdresser would teach me how to properly round brush. I’d stand beside him the whole time just wanting to learn everything he was doing. I’ve always been in love with the beauty industry.
When I was 16, I did a co-op placement at Storm Hair Salon. Luca Crescia and his team taught me everything from shampoos to booking appointments to colour applications. When the odd makeup client would come in, he would let me do the appointment. I had a lot of training with Aveda makeup.
I also did makeup for every fashion show in high school and every play and drama festival for other high schools as well. I remember for proms and semi formals my house always had girls going in and out because I’d do all my friends.
I had a good head start prior to makeup school but felt I needed more confidence in the theory of makeup to better understand my craft.
You studied at Sheridan College – I looked at the program and it includes and introduction to hair styling as part of the curriculum. Why is it important for makeup artists to have knowledge of hair styling techniques?
It’s very important for a makeup artist to understand at least the basics of hair. A good hairstyle goes hand in hand with makeup. I think we are in the industry of overall style. It’s rare someone who knows great hair doesn’t have an appreciation for great makeup or fashion. I watch runway shows daily. I try to imagine just the makeup or just the hair but a little of both is always required to complete a look.
If we took a look in your makeup kit what would we find?
If you took a look in my makeup kit you’d find: A light and dark shade foundation, 6 Ellemme cosmetic glosses, a brow highlighter which I use for under my eyes too, my Ellemme cosmetics loose powder and my triple action Eminence serum, because I may get stuck somewhere overnight and I don’t sleep unless that’s on.
What is the most common mistake women make when applying or choosing cosmetics?
The most common mistake women make when choosing or wearing makeup is that they don’t understand the basic purpose of why they do what they do or why they are buying what they are buying.
I want women to understand the basics first. Know why you want and need a foundation. Know why the colour you need is correct.
I feel if women can start to learn the basics of each product they will be more confident in both the application and purchasing process. It’s all becoming too serious for people who all ultimately want an easy quick makeup routine that leaves them feeling confident.
When I started as a makeup artist we were only really booked for weddings. Now I see clients on a weekly basis for makeup applications. I want women to take a more light hearted approach to makeup. It’s supposed to be enjoyable and uplifting. It isn’t supposed to make you feel frustrated or insecure.
What is one beauty product women should never leave the house without?
I’d say one really amazing lipstick. If all else fails at least have a deadly lip colour to bring you back to life!
Tell us about Ellemme Cosmetics.
Ellemme cosmetics is an extension of a Canadian company based out of Vancouver. They are cruelty free and they don’t test on animals. This makeup lasts in the craziest conditions. I’ve used it on models for photoshoots for national competitions and these models have been in intense lighting and remained flawless to the end. So I trust this with my brides and makeup clients and in my photoshoots. I can do a face in the morning and I get pictures of them at midnight still looking flawless. Proud to put my name on it!
You have a close connection with the Fortino Family. Even though success in this industry is based on your individual skill and ability – it’s important to surround yourself with a good team and mentors. Who have your mentors been?
I’m so fortunate to have a long list of mentors. First and foremost my parents have always guided me to have a strong work ethic. I think without that, I wouldn’t have gotten very far in anything I chose to do. Professionally Alex, Rachel and Vanessa Fortino have mentored me on a daily basis, in all aspects of my career, from competitions, to photoshoots, to every day clients and how I run my business.
I’ve had the opportunity to work closely with Daniel DiTomasso and Mirella Rota Sementelli. Gianpaolo Colombo and the Fortino sisters these people have pushed me artistically to heights and levels of creativity that I used to be afraid of.
These artist have all challenged me to see what happens, if I push just a little further. They’ve brought me into the editorial world which has always been a dream for me. Whenever I am overwhelmed or in need of an opinion these people are all there to help me overcome these mental roadblocks.
Pretty in Pink
Hair: Mirella Sementilli Rota
Makeup: Sandrina Lomedico
You were one of the makeup artists for the Wella Professionals’ Birds Segment at the 2016 Contessa Awards – a collection by hair stylists Mirella Rota Sementilli, Daniel DiTommaso and Rodrigo Araneda. Where did you get your inspiration for the makeup?
That was my first time backstage for such a big event. Mirella Sementilli’s owl was so incredible to do. I let myself have fun and made sure to make a subtle suggestion of owl like features. The hair piece and clothing were the main inspiration. It all just ended up being cohesive and I feel we pulled off a great show stopper that night.
Earlier this year you visited St. Catharines Collegiate with Rachel Fortino to share your knowledge of the industry with the students enrolled in the cosmetology program. What was the biggest piece of advice you had for them?
My biggest piece of advice was for the students to create their own opportunities – not wait for someone to give them an opportunity to bring their images to life.
I encouraged them to grab a friend who loves makeup and a friend who loves fashion and throw together a team of people whose passion all jive and just begin to create looks.
You have to start creating in order to see where you are strong and where you need to grow. I play with makeup looks all day long. Whether it’s on my hand or I grab a face of a friend. It’s my way of ensuring I’m always learning something new about the way I work.
Live competitions are a great way to challenge yourself and keep your creative juices flowing. You have won awards at the Allied Beauty Association trade show. And, earlier this year you competed at the 2016 OMC Hairworld championship in Seoul, South Korea. Tell us about these experiences.
The Fortino family brought me into the world of competition. They recognized my passion for creative and fantasy makeup. They also recognized I could work quickly and still produce great work. They train with me and time me with models and are involved in every aspect of my planning for competitions – from hair to clothing to critiquing my makeup. I trust their taste and opinion of my work. My closest friends are world champions, New York Fashion week hair team members and not to mention a world judge. They keep me focused and are constantly pushing me.
I have won 2 awards with the Canadian Allied Beauty Association and I was hired by the Canadian Long Hair team to represent Canada in South Korea. My role was to help complete the vision the team had for their models.
It was incredible to hold the Canadian flag and do what we love. South Korea was a very inspiring trip for me creatively. I got to see the Fantasy Makeup category and with Alex Fortino’s encouragement, I’ve decided to compete in Paris in 2017. I believe it will be the first time a makeup artist will represent Canada on an international level. I’m very excited about that.
Competing is a huge part of how I push myself to become more precise in my craft. It’s what separates me from my competition. I encourage everyone to compete as a way to stay precise while working against the clock. It helps me when I do up to 16 faces sometimes in 4 hours. I’m able to work quickly and still be precise.
I loved your L’Oreal “The Brush Contest” video submission from 2015. How much research and preparation is involved in putting a submission like this together.
My L’Oreal “The Brush Contest” was so much fun. I prepped a few days before trying to imagine what I wanted the end result to be. I mostly just wanted to challenge myself to enter something that I had never tried before and my goal was to have fun. I got to display my range in techniques. No matter how much I plan a look beforehand the day of I always tend to take it to another level. It was more of the editing which my videographer did – which took the longest. We had a blast shooting that.
This question has nothing to do with hair or makeup – but I remembered the ending of your video. What is your favorite pizza? (If you ever come to Ottawa – I’m taking you to Roberto’s Pizzeria – it’s so good!)
My favorite pizza is a good old Sicilian eggplant pizza. The best kind is from back home where I was born in Bagheria, Sicily. The second I land it’s usually already on the table by the time I walk into my Nonna’s kitchen.
My brother and his pal are about to open the best pizzeria to hit the Falls – Le Cascate Pizzeria. So, I’ll have to take you when you’re in town to have a taste of my home cooking.
How would you describe your personal style?
I have an interesting style. Almost every client that comes into the salon and the studio tells me daily that I never look the same twice. I am constantly changing. I love fashion. I love mismatched prints, knits and texture. I love colour. I have a pretty eccentric style most times.
Hair: Vanessa Fortino
Makeup: Sandrina Lomedico
Do you have a daily beauty routine?
My daily beauty routine always starts off with my Eminence skin care routine: cleanse, serum, moisturizer.
Then I always wait until I get to my studio. I throw on my music I leave my door half open and I just start singing and dancing and I do my makeup. The girls always pop into say hi and it’s just the best way to start my day.
What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?
My favorite way to pamper myself is to have a facial. I always feel 10 pounds lighter when my girl Diana, who’s a skincare master, spoils me with her Eminence facials. You can buy the most expensive makeup but that glowing look comes from great skin care and eating a well-balanced diet.
I come from a big Italian family with generations of hairdressers. My style and approach to beauty and fashion have been heavily influenced by them. You’re Italian as well. Do you believe that culture plays an influence in beauty?
I believe that every individual culture standard of beauty varies. I think as professionals in this industry we have a responsibility, to some degree, to encourage each individual to embrace their own unique features.
My Italian culture has been known for its beautiful sexy women and I do, to some extent, reflect a lot of that in my work. But I think it’s important to remember every face is different. So a beauty trend isn’t necessarily going flatter every face the same way.
I try and keep every face true to itself.
I think that’s why my clients feel comfortable coming to me. I always try and just make them look like themselves, only fresher and subtly glammed. Unless they tell me I have free range. Then I’m busting out all the works.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
If I could be anywhere in the world right now I’d be in Osaka, Japan people watching and hop over to Harajuku to see the fashion of the street kids.
What is coming up in the New Year?
2017 will be an incredible year. The calendar is jammed with weddings, photoshoots, competitions and of course the backbone of my studio my clients who make me want to be the best I can be. Without their loyalty and support none of us would be here!
Finally pick three words that best describe you.