First of all, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Maria Helena Ghadban but I just go by Maria. I was born in Montréal, raised around a very strict environment in the Middle East with a Syrian mom and a Lebanese dad. I was never able to express myself growing up, especially being part of the LGBTQ+ community.
I don’t necessarily label myself as an influencer, I’m an artist. I’ve loved painting since I was 5, until I discovered that I can paint my face. I realized make-up is how I break out of the strict and pressured environment that surrounds me every day, it’s how I free my heart and mind. I’m a freelance make-up artist, mostly creating on myself but always wanting to expand. My ultimate goal is to break the mold of the very popular “flawless and polished” beauty and social media standards. I want to share my life stories and emotions through my art; raw, unedited, and imperfect — because no one is.
How did you discover your passion for make-up?
Back when I lived in Lebanon, I was about 8. My mom was never fully glamorous, but my aunt was and still very much is. Whenever she visited and would be applying her makeup, I always stood next to her and watched everything she was doing curiously. I would even recommend product placement and ask if I could try her lipsticks; she gave me my first one.
Around 2009 was when I discovered Lady Gaga and the rise of makeup YouTube, especially Michelle Phan. I remember watching the “Just Dance” music video, then seeing Michelle’s videos in the recommended tab. I watched just about all of her Gaga recreations, that’s when the hybrid of my love for Gaga and passion for make-up started. It wasn’t until 2015, when I moved to Montréal full time, that I discovered Rupaul’s Drag Race & I fell in love with Adore Delano. I started watching more makeup tutorials, slowly trying to replicate her look. 2015 was the year that I knew make-up was more than just a hobby. It’s a real passion that I knew I wanted to pursue, and I’m still on that journey.
What's a great make-up look that you would like to recreate, and why?
I’ve recently discovered @ a1jewel0310 on Instagram and I’m blown away by their talent and techniques. I love thinking about people’s thought process for a make-up look, and how their work makes you gasp in the best way possible. It makes me want to take out a pen and paper and challenge myself into sketching designs as intricate as theirs. They treat their face as if it were an actual piece of paper, without focusing on perfection, and that is the exact message I want to send through my art. I want to recreate this look because it would challenge my abilities and teach me new techniques. I also have ADD so it would be amazing practice to focus, breathe and take the time to perfect everything.
What are your favorite brands right now?
First, without a doubt, Haus Laboratories. I know it might sound a little biased because it’s my idol’s makeup brand, but I truly adore everything they stand for. Their global message is to stop comparing yourself to what you see on social media, to stop setting unrealistic expectations and letting yourself down, to embrace imperfection because that’s what makes you unique and beautiful, ultimately spreading the message of self kindness and compassion, because if you can’t be kind and respectful to yourself, you’ll never be able to do so to anyone else. That is the exact message that I want to scream out loud, it’s extremely important yet so overlooked. Their team is made up of the most amazing people. That brand was the first to ever reach out to me, allowing me to be a part of the Haus, and it still feels like a dream. They made me realize that the number of followers doesn’t matter, your intention does. Transparency and honesty shows way beyond a number. It makes me emotional knowing that they believed in me to share their strong and powerful message, sharing the same morals as my idol.
Second, Pat McGrath labs. I purchased two of her products back when they weren’t even available in Canada yet. Pat has been my idol since 2016. Her make-up intelligence is beyond. Her high fashion runway looks are nothing short of pure art that you can stare at and lose track of time. She markets her products as divine, and divine they are! Every time I apply them I feel like a model strutting fashion week. What’s special is that you can tell it’s made from one artist to another, for the creatives who dream of directing runway shows.
What are some items that you can’t live without?
Cream blush is a must have for everyone, the Milk makeup lip and cheek sticks are the way to go. They have a dewy finish, you can put it on top of your sunscreen and it looks like you’re naturally blushing and glowing too. My favourite shade is Perk, it’s the perfect in-between of peach and pink. They last very long which I really appreciate.
Haus Laboratories’ new launch has quickly become an every day must use as well, the PhD lip oil stain. I had never tried lip oils before, but they’re literally the better version of a lip balm. This formula however reacts with your personal pH and transforms into your unique shade which is genius. The result looks like your lip colour but more vibrant and enhanced. My favourite shades are Tint (sheer red) and Primary (sheer pink). They’re long lasting and extremely hydrating and I think everyone needs to try them.
Lastly, mascara, which I don’t always apply because I do dislike the removal process but when I do I literally feel so put together and sexy. I can put it on without any face products and still feel so pretty. It completes any look and takes it up a few hundred notches so I definitely cannot live without it, my favourite is the Kush mascara by Milk makeup.
Could you share with us a great beauty tip?
A tip that I’ve recently discovered and am in love with is putting lip balm on your eyes. I know “what is she talking about?” But trust me it changed me. It works wether you’re in a hurry or not, wether you want to try something new or have no time to try anything new, with or without an eyeshadow look, it’s just literally perfect.
Apply your favourite blush on your cheeks, eyes, and lips for a nice full pout, then use a clear or tinted lip balm and apply on your lips and eyelids. My favourites are the balm dotcom by Glossier in shades “Berry” and “Cherry”. They’re tinted so they give you an effortless healthy glow, and a slight gloss to your eyes which is so striking and sexy. Put on some mascara and you’re good to go. For a more editorial runway look, the Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Highlighter & Balm Duo is a fancier but perfect option. You’re guaranteed to feel like the hottest person alive with a glossy eye, forever a go-to.
Instagram : @mariagrxms