XYNZ Beauty Blogging and Makeup Essentials workshop

There have been so many great bloggers events in Auckland lately! One I went to recently was held by XYNZ, an online magazine with a focus on fashion, beauty, lifestyle and music. The event description said “Ever wondered how to get into beauty blogging but not known where to start? Or perhaps you’d like to give your blog a little spicing up? Spend the afternoon developing your beauty blogging skills, learning essential make-up skills and meeting other bloggers”. To that, I said yes!

xynz workshop

When we all arrived, we were greeted by an incredible array of food from the delightful Bluebell’s Cakery, as well as teas from Harney and Sons, Hopt soda and San Pellegrino water.

Photo courtesy of XYNZ

Once we settled down with our afternoon tea, Garth Badger was our first speaker. He is a photographer who has worked with some big brands, including a number of our fashion and beauty favourites. Photography is something that I always feel like I could improve on, so he was the speaker that I was most looking forward to. One interesting thing that he said was that the equipment you use isn’t actually that important – if you don’t know how to use it, then you might as well be better off with something simpler.

Garth gave us great advice about making use of natural light, and told us about how if it’s not there then you can create light with good use of lamps – it doesn’t necessarily have to be fancy ring lights, although of course they are useful. Most importantly, he said to practice, practice, practice and take a lot of photos. It doesn’t cost extra like back in the days of film, and you will then have many to choose from when it comes time to edit. Experiment with framing your photos and angles, in an attempt to get the best shots. I often will take 20 or more photos for a blog post where I will only use two or three, so it’s good to know I’m on the right track.

Garth Badger
Photo courtesy of XYNZ

The next speaker was Eleanor Dorn, who is a makeup artist and now has her own line of makeup brushes. Interestingly, some of her advice echoed what Garth said earlier – she said that you can have all of the fanciest products, but if you don’t have the right techniques and tools your makeup won’t look very good. I think this is so true! You can drop heaps of cash on makeup but if you’re just smearing it all around then it is unlikely to look nice. Eleanor gave us a demonstration of contouring and highlighting on one of the attendees, which was interesting. She said that one mistake people do with contouring is using shimmery bronzers for the contour – she recommends the contour palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills as the products are matte.

eleanor dorn makeup
Photo courtesy of XYNZ

Nikki Lovrich was the final speaker, and she was so interesting. She is a makeup artist and beauty blogger, and told us all about starting out as one of New Zealand’s first freelance makeup artists in the 80s. It seems so different to today, when there are so many makeup schools and so many different people competing for jobs. Nikki’s stories about working before the recession hit sounded incredibly glamourous, travelling all around the world to do shoots for magazines. Megan from Thread asked what Nikki’s advice was for liquid eyeliner, and she said that while she loves Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner, nothing is better than practice! That seems to be a recurring them for the day.

nikki lovrich
Photo courtesy of XYZ

My friend Laura from Laura Loves Beauty Blog was there too, and as always it was nice to see here. It was also great to meet Lexie from nailgirl.net at long last too.You can’t quite see in this picture, but she filled her brows in purple – it looked awesome.


We received a goodie bag, which I was quite pleased with. On the beauty front there was a Smashbox mascara, Orly Flash Dry drops which dry your polish in a flash, a mini Aveeno body lotion as well as a discount code for Eleanor Dorn makeup brushes. In addition to that, we got a full sized Vita Coco cocnout water, a Moro bar and a handy pen. An afternoon tea, a goodie bag worth $50+, two free uber rides (which I didn’t use), three interesting speakers, all for $25 – such a bargain!

smashbox mascara, orly flashy dry drops and aveeno body lotion

The workshop was both fun and educational, and I hope the success means XYNZ will run more events in the future. Thanks to XYNZ, the speakers, and sponsors for putting on a wonderful afternoon for us.

lena x



  • This is a fantastic wrap-up of the event Lena, and I’m *so* impressed that it was only $25! I’d definitely attend a future workshop.

  • Looks like such an interesting event, I was so keen to go, damn living in CHCH!

  • Wow that sounds like it was really valuable. Thanks for such a comprehensive write up – I’m going to take a billion more photos now!

  • Jordanne-Elizabeth Leigh

    Ooooh this looks so good!! Love your write up and how you took pictures of each speaker. Made me feel like I was there… almost. xoxo

    • The photos were taken by the organiser – I was too busy taking notes! It was a really useful event.