Women We Love: DJ Alex Merrell

DJ Alex Merrell

The word effortless is frequently overused, but when it comes to describing DJ Alex Merrell, no other adjective will do. Whether it’s the sets she spins for the likes of HBO, Vogue and Louis Vuitton, or the way she effortlessly pulls her less-is-more beauty looks together on the fly, an innately instinctive approach is evident in everything she does.

Canada-born Merrell moved to New York after a stint working in the music industry in Los Angeles and, after a decade in the industry, it’s hard to go to a party in New York City without spotting her on the desks.

As someone who lives on a plane between gigs, we quizzed Merrell on how she stays fresh faced and glowy straight off a red eye, what it was like DJing at that Oscars after-party and the products that are mainstays in her makeup arsenal.

DJ Alex MerrellGrowing up, was DJing something you always wanted to do?

I grew up in an artistic family and was surrounded by music and musicians since the beginning, going to festivals and playing on pianos and drum sets at my parents’ friends’ homes. The career I have now as a DJ working with brands on events didn’t really exist at the time so it wasn’t something I was even aware of, but looking back it all makes sense.

What sort of music did you grow up listening to at home? How, if at all, do you think those sounds influenced your approach to music today?

My parents had expansive taste in music, but I was the one who brought hip-hop into the house. The first tape I bought at 5 or 6 years old was LL Cool J, which was promptly confiscated for the lyrical content. Coolio was next. My mentor when I started DJing was the original tour DJ for the Pharcyde, so hip-hip is a big part of my roots, even though it may not be what I’m known best for.

How would you describe your DJing style?

The reason I chose this career path is my strong love of music, and I hope that’s still what comes across the most. I play a wide variety of events and enjoy mixing different genres and eras from each to keep it fresh for clients and myself. After 9 years, it has stopped being as much about me honing a specific sound and more about the experience I want to create. I just want people to have a damn good night.

What is the most memorable set you have ever played?

There are way too many to count but so far this year, a real standout was a Golden Globes event I played in Hollywood. It was cocktail hour and I didn’t know if people were ready to start dancing, but it was such a celebratory evening that I took a chance and started to move the vibe in that direction. Emma Stone danced into the room, having just won the Best Actress award, and single handedly started a dance party which went hours later than expected. Before the night was over Derek Hough was dancing on top of a piano.

DJ Alex Merrell

You travel around 125,000m a year. How do you find all the traveling for work?

I feel extremely grateful to be coming up on a decade of getting paid to do something I love so very much. Travel has been a highlight of this whole journey, and I find it ceaselessly inspiring. Over time you find the hacks that make it manageable. You get a good chiropractor on speed dial. It works itself out.

What’s your in-flight beauty routine?

I keep makeup minimal and avoid anything on my eyes that could smudge mid mandatory nap. Maybe a serum if my skin is feeling dry. I dream of being one of those experts who wears a full face mask to hydrate while strolling up and down the aisles, but I haven’t graduated to that level of skincare yet.

What makeup products could we find in your carry-on?

Concealer for under my eyes upon landing after a red eye and a blush/bronzer to make me look awake regardless of how successful I was with the whole napping thing.

What are some of the products you never travel without?

Because of how often I travel, my makeup bag on the road is basically the same as it is at home. I just switch in a few bright lip options, making sure they don’t clash with my manicure. I also love a lightweight BB cream with SPF so my skin is protected from the elements. I’m also a new convert to the highlighter movement. Unless you’re getting photographed and have to be cautious about looking too shiny, a good dose of glow is a girl’s best friend.

What’s your approach to beauty trends? What are you loving right now?

I’ll try a metallic liner if I want to feel a bit glam rock for a night out and have dabbled in nail art, but I always come back to more classic beauty looks. I like the idea that someone could take a photo and you wouldn’t know what era it was from. Trends can be fun but I’m more a fan of timelessness.

DJ Alex Merrell

Any tips on taking your makeup from day to night?

My daytime look is very clean – concealer, blush/bronzer, mascara, brow liner, and little else unless I feel like wearing a bolder lip. At night, I love pumping things up with a smoky eye or a cat eye, if I have an extra ten minutes. I never get that one right on the first try!

What’s the biggest makeup mistake you’ve ever made?

Too much daytime eyeliner in high school.

Any beauty treatments you always book in for?

I have a pretty epic dermatologist in New York who has changed my skin dramatically in the six months I’ve been seeing her. I like treatments that allow me to be low maintenance and natural during the day, so playing with makeup becomes more about fun and less of a necessity.

What beauty mantra do you swear by?

Take care of yourself on the inside to help you glow on the outside.

Who are some of your beauty icons?

My beauty icons are women who are fiercely unique, like Carla Bruni, Florence Welch and Charlotte Rampling. I try and focus less on copying their looks, and more on finding what works for me.

What are three of your favourite trèStiQue products and why?
I love the Lip Crayons in Nammos Pink and Florence Fig. They’re actually great to mix together too. I’ve also been using the Eye Pencil in Swiss Chocolate. It’s a great color to take you from day to night without being too heavy. 
At trèStiQue, we champion simple, easy beauty. What are some of the trèStiQue products that you find yourself turning back to?
The Lip Crayons are my favorite because my lips chap easily with the amount of travel I do, and having the balm on one end and color on the other saves me from having to take multiple products in my day bag.

When do you feel the most confident and beautiful from the inside out? 

Having tried and true products I can rely on in my arsenal lets me forget about what I look like and focus on my career, my relationships and my inner strength. I don’t want to be the girl fixing my makeup in every mirror I pass. I want to be the one at the table of friends laughing my butt off, or coming up with a great idea in a creative meeting with a collaborator, who just so happens to be wearing a great lip.

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Correct & Cover Concealer Crayon

Color & Contour Blush Stick

Color & Contour Bronzer Stick

Brides: Prepared Brides Don’t Leave Without These Items


“Instead of lugging around a whole makeup bag in case you need touch-ups before your grand entrance, snag the Mini Essentials Kit from trèStique instead. The pouch holds five miniature makeup pencils of your choice, from blush, bronzer, and highlighter to lipstick, eyeshadow, and concealer. Choose the shades you love, then zip them up so you’re not scrambling for lipstick when it’s time for portraits.”

Designed to offer all of your trèStique favorites in easy, clutch-ready sizes, we were thrilled to be featured in Brides magazine’s round up of the top products prepared brides don’t leave the house without.

Read the full story here.

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Mini Essentials

Jennifer Kapahi: Why I Created Our Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8I couldn’t find an easy to use, everyday makeup routine. Everything in my old makeup bag was heavy, leaking, cumbersome and messy. As a mom, traveller, fitness buff and working woman, I am always on-the-go, so I wanted something quick and lightweight that fit in my purse and could travel around with me wherever I went.

TreStiQue Essential 8

Every brand offers so many SKUs and colors and choices and it makes it hard to find what’s right for you. As a long time product developer, I wanted to create an alternative, easy-to-use solution for the overwhelming beauty selection. The Essential 8 routine is a universal, curated collection of color products that you need to create a 5-minute face. Our site walks you through each step and helps you select your color to build a customized set.

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

Our Essential 8 routine is meant to provide lightweight, quick makeup that you can wear every day. Our products are easy to use and are cream gel-based so they glide on easily and feel weightless on skin. Every product has a matching tool to aid in on-the-go application so you can touch up anywhere! I believe women feel good when they look good and we give her the makeup to do that by herself- no crazy techniques or skills required!

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

The routine includes our Tinted Face Stick, Concealer Stick, Blush Stick, choice of Cheek stick (Bronzer Stick or Highlight Stick), Shadow Crayon, Eye Pencil, Brow Pencil and Lip Crayon. Each of these products are 2-in-1 which means they come with a matching tool such as a sponge or brush for blending or in other cases a complimentary product. Our Lip Crayon is paired with a BB lip balm that acts as a shiny top coat or a moisturizing lip primer and our Brow Pencil is paired with a tinted brow gel that has a two-sided brush so you can line, define, shape and groom brows all with one product. We also developed the first airtight magnetic crayon in the world, which helps to keep caps secure (no more leaking or spilling!) and allows us to use higher performance longer wearing formulas in stick form.

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

The set is perfect for on-the-go touch ups. It only weights 0.5lbs when fully packed so it’s lightweight for any purse, gym or travel bag! It also comes complete with a mirror in the cap that allows you touch up anywhere. As a working women and a new mom, it’s hard to find time to put myself together in the morning. I love that this routine only takes 5 minutes – products in stick form make it easy to apply & blend with one hand.

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

TreStiQue Essential 8

When I developed these products, I wanted them to be as universal as possible in terms of texture and shade. It was important to me that our textures worked for all ages and it was also important that the shades were universally flattering across a multitude of skin tones. I didn’t want the line to have heavy glitters or mask the skin too much.  I think women are beautiful the way they are. I don’t love what’s happening in the industry right now with all this full coverage, heavy thick makeup. It’s almost like a mask and everyone ends up looking the same. Makeup should enhance your natural beauty not cover it.


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Essential 8

Festival Ready: An Insider’s Guide

festival beauty tips

With the festival season in full swing, we caught up with two of our favorite festival attendees about the beauty tips they swear by. They’ve made the mistakes so we don’t have to. Here, they share their insider knowledge…

festival beauty tips

festival beauty tips

festival beauty tipsLavenda of Lavenda’s Closet

Prepare to be outdoors in the heat so use foundation sparingly. I wear zero foundation, opting for minimal concealer, trèStiQue’s Highlight Stick for a glow and statement brows with the trèStiQue Define, Sculpt & Set Brow Pencil. For my hair, I always opt for easy, natural waves. If you choose to wear foundation, I recommend a powder since you will often be hot.

If you have time for glitter and sparkles, just go for it. At Coachella this year, I was tight for time so instead, I did a fun lip that pops with braids instead.

Each day, I change my makeup and hair depending on what I’m wearing. I like things to feel a bit eclectic and personalized. If I have a really girly dress, I like to do something quirky with my hair or a fun cat eye. If I want to be super chill I gravitate towards a nude pallet. Sometimes I’ll  just wear lip gloss and no eyeliner – that definitely means a chill day.

To make my makeup last all day, I like to wear a good  primer. If I know I’ll be sweating a lot, I’ll wear less and bring a couple of staples with me to touch up. Powder and eyeliner are usually the must-haves. Also, a lip color for sure.

festival beauty tips

festival beauty tips

festival beauty tipsCorey of See Golden Style

There’s nothing like a pop of color to add the finishing touch to a look, and with festival season, that is especially true. My current favorite color is trèStiQue’s Costa Rica Coral. It’s bright and fun – and perfect for festivals! To keep the color all day, I always layer balm side underneath.

When I want my eyeliner to last from day-to-night, I turn to the  trèStiQue Aspen Pine Shadow Crayon. I use it as a liner rather than a shadow and love the way the green color makes my brown eyes pop.

Highlighter is a must-have. I dab it right on top of my cheekbones for a subtle (but necessary) dose of shimmer.

Since festival season means tons of pictures, I need everything super defined! My brows are naturally light, so my daily look isn’t complete without filling them in with trèStiQue’s Brow Pencil in Americano.

I’m all about bronzer, but when you’re spending all day in the sun, a powder formula can leave you looking cakey. Instead, I turn to the trèStiQue Bronzer Stick to keep me looking sun-kissed. Don’t forget to blend!



Featured In This Post

Define, Sculpt & Set Brow Pencil

Perfect Multipurpose Highlight Stick

Matte Color & Shiny Balm Lip Crayon

Magic Balm & Blotting Sheet Mattifying Duo

Color & Smudge Shadow Crayon

Color & Contour Bronzer Stick

The Ultimate Guide To Getting Perfect Brows

Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-1.jpg Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-2.jpg Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-3.jpg Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-6.jpg Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-6.psd Katie-Jane-Huges-brows-9.jpg

Perfectly groomed brows are like a summer glow. Nobody can put their finger on what’s changes, but suddenly, you look polished and pull-together. The good news is that strong, natural brows are here to stay and whether you’re kicking yourself for over-plucking in your teens, or have to drop serious dollars each month in a bid to tame yours, perfectly arched brows are within reach for all. All it takes is a little patience. Here, makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes breaks down how to comeback over past brow sins, the pro tip on creating the perfect shape and the finish touch that makes all the difference.

Find Your Frame

Begin by determining the eyebrow shape that’s most flattering for you. Use a pencil or brush to create a vertical line between the closest side of your nose and the inner corner of your eye. Mark this as point 1 – the starting point for your brow. From here, define the arch. Move your measuring tool to create a diagonal line from the tip of your nose through the outside center of your pupil. The end of your tool should align with the middle of your brow bone. Draw a dot here for point 2. For your final step, position your tool from the outer edge of your nose to the end of your brow and create your last point. Then, follow the marks as a guide while you fill your brows in.

Pick The Right Products

Choosing your products can be tricky. The difficult part about creating a beauty routine is that everyone has different features, but taking the time to figure out what works best for you will pay off in the long run. For bigger brows, just a tinted gel is perfect for grooming. For those with brows on the sparser side, a pomade or pencil helps you fill them in before layering the gel on top.

TreStiQue brows

Don’t Go Overboard

While thick brows are trending, be careful of overdoing it. Whether day or night, your brows should be the most understated part of your look. It’s all about finding the right balance and creating a natural look.

Maintenance 101

When it comes to brow maintenance, tweezing is the way to go. It keeps a more natural shape whereas waxing or threading can create too much structure and look over done. If you choose to wax or thread, limit your trips to the salon to once every two months. You can always do a little tidy up yourself in between. Rubis tweezers are the best ever!

Occassion Is Everything

For a glam look, it’s best to keep your brows looking natural. With bold eyeshadow or a festive lip, super dark eyebrows can be too much. However, if you’re going for a fresh face you could opt for a statement brow and add a bit more structure.  

It’s All In The Technique

Start by grooming your hairs upward. Use a soft pencil or brow pomade to flick on some hair-like strokes in the same direction they are growing. If you use a pomade, make sure you have a thin brush. Run it back and forth over your hand a few times so that the bristles stay compact. This will ensure your lines stay fine and appear natural.

The Finishing Touch

A good brow gel is a necessity. Don’t forget to finalize your look by applying the gel on top. It would be such a shame for all your hard work to go to waste!

For more beauty tips from Katie, check out her journal here.

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Define, Sculpt & Set Brow Pencil

Women We Love: Amri Kibbler & Katya Libin

Hey Mama - Amri Kibbler and Katya Libin

heymama founders Amri Kibbler and Katya Libin are full of words of wisdom on both beauty and life: Surround yourself with likeminded people that uplift and inspire you. Take time for yourself, delegate and ask for your help when you need it. Never forget that sleep is the most underrated beauty elixir and beauty always on the outside starts with beauty on the inside…

It should come as no surprise then, that they’ve made a business out of supporting women to fulfil their dreams through their networking hub and platform, heymama. The pair first met on a playdate in Brooklyn with their baby girls and became best friends before quickly joining forces. Since launching two and half years ago, the duo has amassed a massive loyal following of talented and creative moms across the globe and show no signs of slowing down. We couldn’t have chosen a better pair to front our new Modern Mama set.

Read on to meet Amri and Katya who share a glimpse into their lives at the helm of heymama and the trèStiQue products they can’t live without.

Hey Mama - Amri Kibbler and Katya Libin

Where did the idea for heymama come from?

Amri: We started heymama 2.5 years ago out of a personal need for connection to other women who understood the hustle and the daily struggle we go through as working moms as well as the incredible satisfaction we have in working.

Katya: I was craving more from a mama community plus I couldn’t imagine anything more fun that starting a company with my best friend around something so meaningful to us.

How did you both meet and what made you decide to go into business together?

A: We met by chance in our old neighborhood through our nannies. Mine had left a blanket at Katya’s house and Katya had let that nanny go. I posted on the neighborhood mom board (for the first time ever!) and she answered! We immediately fell in love and continued to be each other’s rock for years before launching heymama. We went into business together because we shared a passion of community and understood how it can change your life.

K: We balance each other very well and we are there for each other through thick and thin. I think one day we had an aha moment and said, ‘why not’.

Hey Mama - Amri Kibbler and Katya LibinHow has starting heymama changed your lives?

A: Building my own business has given me an incredible amount of confidence that I can do anything. This has been the biggest growing and learning period of my life!

K: I have way more friends, and lots more stress! But truly, it’s changed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine. It’s a huge part of who I am and it’s my calling.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about working moms?

K: That we don’t get as much done. In reality, I think we do it twice as fast!

What are some of the ways heymama is empowering moms?

K: We believe sharing stories of success can compel others to start their own ventures and that finding the right community can change your life. We bring experiences, connections and resources to make their big dreams come to life. We have perks now for entrepreneurs where you can get legal, marketing, PR, graphic design, all from other talented mamas in the network at a substantial discount. This helps women build their businesses smarter.

What impact did becoming mothers have on you both?

A: It made me much better with time management. I’m also super empathic and supportive of other women.

K: It changed my whole perception of life, success, love and what I value and what I’m working towards.

How do you both make time for yourself? What advice do you have for mamas on balancing work, life and family?

A: Put it in the calendar. Get a sitter.

K: I’ve been struggling with that lately but mediation is a huge goal of mine and consistently staying active gives my mind the clarity I need.  On advice, ask for help when you need it. Let loose when you can and surround yourself with mamas who get you.

Hey Mama - Amri Kibbler and Katya LibinWhat’s a typical week like for you both now?

K: I love some good solid office time to crank through my to do’s but meeting people in real life is what really invigorates me. I love sharing heymama’s mission so I try to have a few meetings per week with new people, catch up with existing partnerships and occasionally travel to other cities where heymama is growing.

Did motherhood affect your approach to beauty?

A: I’ve always had a less is more approach. I have a few favorite things and use those every day.

K: It’s become a lot simpler! Now I try and keep it clean and don’t wear so much eyeliner!

Do you have a specific fail-safe makeup look? What are you loving right now?

A: I go for a natural look, but am loving a refined brow! I’m in love with the trèStiQue Brow Pencil.

K: Honestly, trèStiQue has changed my beauty routine. I’ve been using the Highlight Stick and Lip Crayon all the time to give me that extra flow I need!

What are your day-to-day go-tos? How, if at all, does your beauty look change for an evening event or special occasion?

A: For daytime, I use the trèStiQue Concealer Crayon, a tinted moisturizer, blush and the trèStiQue Brow Pencil. For evening, I love a fun eye.

K: A light foundation or tinted moisturizer, mascara and a bright lip! For evening, I put on a fun shadow.

Hey Mama - Amri Kibbler and Katya LibinWhat beauty mantra do you swear by?

A: Sleep is everything

K: If you’re beautiful on the inside, you will always be beautiful on the outside. Also, smile!

Any makeup tricks you have learned over the years?

A: Less is more – pick one fun trend at a time. Like a crazy eyeliner on a toned-down face

K: Moisturize regularly and keep your lips scrubbed! I love lip masks and scrub to keep my lips looking fresh.

What are of your favorite trèStiQue products and why?

A: Definitely the Concealer Crayon, Brow Pencil.

K: The Highlight Stick, Brow Pencil and Lip Crayons. They just work! They are so easy to put on and they make me feel beautiful.

Who are some of your beauty icons and why?

A: Jane Birkin: she’s my fashion and beauty icon.

K: Sofia Lauren, Coco Chanel, Christy Turlington. Effortless and elegant.

When do you feel the most confident and beautiful from the outside in?

A: After yoga

K: When I’m in a great state of mind.

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Modern Mama Set