Make-up Artist Q&A: Shahnaz Cola-Wrensch

Hello lovelies!

An awesome part of my day job in Advertising is getting to be involved in fashion shoots. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing and talented people, including some of the loveliest make-up artists! I’m always glued to their sides asking about all of their techniques and products (when I’m actually meant to be art directing), and thought I should try share some of their knowledge with you awesome people.

So the first Q&A is with the amazing Shahnaz Cola Wrensch. Shahnaz worked with us on the Poetry and Carvela shoots, which both came out beautifully! Here are a few examples of her work that I love…





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And here are her insights into beauty and the industry…

How did you get into the industry? Any tips for make-up lovers who would love to become make-up artists?
I assisted in make up before I decided to take a course. I then did a makeup course in Cape Town but learnt how to create great flawless skin in London with an amazing teacher. Ultimately doing a course will teach you the basics, watching tutorials with the legend make up artists on Youtube will show you technique and products. Assisting is probably the best way to learn all the tricks and what you need to do it yourself. Practice practice practice on yourself and others. Get in with a new photographer starting out and test until you are blue in the face to get images which will help you get into an agency. It’s hard work but if you have passion anything is possible.

Which products would you advise that we splurge on, and what can we get away with on the cheap?
Skincare is the key to amazing make up, so splurge on a day and night serum and a good eye cream. If you really want to, splurge on a foundation but not for everyday. These days the budget brands have really stepped up their game and are bringing out amazing products. Concealer is also something you should invest in, some of the cheaper brands don’t quite get it right.

Best beauty purchase?
My best beauty purchase for my work is the Bobbi Brown foundation sticks, they are amazing for flawless coverage and I use them a lot. As well as NARS Sheer Glow and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation which sadly you can’t get here.

Worst beauty experience?
I have never really had a bad beauty experience so I guess I have been lucky there. Just had bad make up done on me.

What is your go-to look for clients, and what look do you love to wear yourself?
The current favourite go-to look requested by clients is the sports luxe look; fresh flawless skin, contoured face, highlights, contoured eyes or a wash of colour on the lids, defined brows and a nude lip. It’s a massive trend at the moment. The other is the retro look with the feline flick on the eye and a matte bright lip. My go-to look is dewy skin, bronzer to give sun-kissed skin, mascara and concealer.

Which skincare products do you use daily?
I am currently using Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Retexturizing serum and Kiehl’s Super Multi Corrective Cream, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, Ren 1 Minute Flash Rinse, Dermalogica Hydrating Mask and Clarins One Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser with Orange Extract. The list goes on plus I am using the Clarisonic Mia 2 that has just hit SA, love this for smooth amazing skin.

What products could you not live without?
Mascara, mascara, mascara oh and bronzer. Foundation and concealer are almost a must plus a bright red lip!

Do you have any skincare tips do you have for those of us in our 20’s who want to make sure our skin looks good when we’re 60?
Cleanse and tone every day to make sure your skin is always clean, take make up off every night, exfoliate twice a week and use a mask once or twice a week.

What techniques or products do you use on models but wouldn’t bother with yourself every day?
Filling in brows, I never do this on myself unless I am filming a video tutorial. It looks amazing on everyone else but for some reason I don’t really like it on myself.

Getting a perfect canvas seems to be the hardest part of an amateur make-up lover’s routine. How do you get foundation to look flawless?
Skincare really is key, if you get that right then foundation just looks amazing. On every shoot I cleanse skin, spritz with an antioxidant toner, moisturise and apply eye cream. I love my Sigma flat Kabuki Brush F80 to apply foundation, it’s just amazing. Then if anything extra is needed I blend in concealer using my Mac 217 Blending brush to give a seamless finish.

Some of us love spending an hour perfecting a cat-eye, but what make-up step or technique would you recommend for busy girls with very little time to get ready?
Get your foundation right, curl your lashes to open up the eyes and apply mascara. Contouring just makes everything look amazing and a bright lip makes your face seem so much fresher.

And for those of us who’ll spend hours trying out different make-up looks, what technique/product is really going to take it to the next level?
Getting the base right will always take your make up technique to the next level with amazing contouring and highlighting, plus perfecting your lips with liner and lipstick to get the perfect matte lip. Also working eyeliner to get that cool undone look is an easy way to up your game.

What beauty trends should we be looking out for in the next few months?
Beauty trends for SS14 are bright lips so matte orange, electric pink and red, the sports luxe look, pastel eyes like lilac, mint green and blue, bright blue eyeliner in the waterline, bronzed skin and eyes and of course the graphic eye.

A HUGE thank you to Shahnaz for taking the time to write for us! We love you!

You can follow Shahnaz’s work by reading her blog, following her on facebook, and checking out her website!

Have a great Wednesday dearests,





  1. […] few weeks ago I introduced you to the awesome Shahnaz, a make-up artist I met on one of my agency’s fashion shoots. Today I want you to meet […]

  2. Hi Beth. Thanks for the response. Will read the post now. Could you perhaps do a blog on the difference between a serum and a primer? (When you have time :)) Which one is best, for what etc? I’m completely clueless. Thank you :D I Love Smudged!!!

  3. Hi ladies, could you perhaps do a blog on toners? I don’t use a toner as I was once told by my dermatologist when I was much younger that it is bad! However, he was an extremely old man who I now wonder, as I am a bit older, if he should still have been in practice! As I am getting a bit older now, almost 27 (eek), I am contemplating buying a toner as I’m hearing that a lot of my friends use it. Please could you recommend some? Especially for sensitive/rosacea prone skin? Thank you :)

    1. Hi Bianca, we wrote a brief post on toners earlier this year. You can check it out here –
      Toners can be quite drying for dry/sensitve skin so I’d say first identify why you need to add a toner to your skincare routine and make a decision from there. You’ll never know if it works for you if you don’t try one out :)

    2. Hi Bianca, I’m planning on writing a full more in depth post in the next couple of weeks (just trying to get my schedule down but hopefully around the end of November) covering my own experiences with toners and what I have learnt about them since my skin has been every ‘type’ from extremely dry to oily (nothing is fool proof sadly and it really is a case of finding the write thing) but I’ve been gathering some more info that is pretty useful. Toners in general have changed A LOT in recent years so I plan on covering all of that. :)

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