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Cassie McGaffin is fast becoming a favourite in the NZ Beauty Instagram game, with her feed showcasing her undeniable talent and passion for everything beauty related. We were lucky enough to chat with Cass & learn about her life, what inspires her, her favourite place, as well as talking all things make up! 


Tell us a little about yourself, who is Cassie McGaffin? 

As a young 19 year old, I’m still in the process of figuring that out! But to put it simply- I like to think of myself as a friendly, bubbly girl who loves her family, God, friends, and all things Beauty related.  I grew up in Whakatane, New Zealand and most recently moved to Tauranga to study Cosmetology at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.  Another big part of my life is teaching others about the Bible as a Jehovah’s Witness.


(photo by @photographybyjudynunez)


How did you get into makeup?

I have always been quite a ‘girly-girl’ growing up and have enjoyed what the beauty industry has to offer. It wasn’t until late 2016 when I realized I wanted to work in the industry myself, and I haven’t looked back since. I started off watching YouTube tutorials and practicing on myself to get my technique right. Makeup is an art and it does take practice. Even today I am constantly learning. It wasn’t until an old friend asked me to do her makeup for her high school ball that I branched out to doing makeup on others. After doing her makeup, I realized I loved it and wanted to turn it into a profession.  I decided to start my makeup page (@makeupbyycass) on Instagram to share the different makeup looks I was doing and promote my work. Social media is a great marketing platform to get your name out there. It has definitely given me many opportunities to grow as a makeup artist and work with some amazing people such as photographers, hairdressers and other makeup artists. I’m very thankful for these opportunities and look forward to more that may come my way. I just love that doing makeup has become part of my life as there’s something so satisfying about making someone not only look beautiful but feel beautiful on the inside. It’s a very rewarding job.


Do you watch many YouTube beauty bloggers? If so, you are your favourites?

I used to watch many YouTube beauty bloggers when I first started out! Some who helped me along my makeup journey were Shaanxo, Lauren Curtis, Makeup with Jah, Monika Blunder, TheMakeupChair, Jasmine Hand / makeupby_jaz. I still watch the occasional beauty YouTube video here and there but I tend to watch more client tutorials nowadays as it helps me with ideas for my own clients and to learn techniques I haven’t seen before. People who do great client tutorials is Makeup with Jah, Monika Blunder and Jasmine Hand – I love their work. YouTube is a great, free resource to teach yourself so if you’re looking at starting out definitely make great use of it!


Who or what inspires you?

I think there are many inspirational people out there. But what does make someone inspirational? I think its motivation, drive and kindness to others. You don’t get very far without it.  Of course, you can’t get very far without support either so I’m very thankful to have a great support group of family and friends. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today without their love and support.


What does your daily beauty routine look like?

Honestly, my daily beauty routine isn’t anything drastic like you see on Instagram. I love a good sleep in, so I often don’t get much time in the morning to do my makeup. On a day to day basis, I’ll simply wear a layer of foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, highlighter (of course), eyebrow pomade, some brown eyeshadow in the crease of my eye, mascara and a nude shade of lipstick or lip gloss. One lipstick I am wearing day to day lately is ‘velvet teddy’ by M.A.C – it’s a beautiful matte brown/nude shade. If I’m feeling fancy that day I may put on some winged eyeliner but its risky business if I’m running low on time!


Any self-care tips you want to share?

I think self-care is so important and often neglected. We live in a busy world so it’s often hard to find time to sit back, relax and take proper care of ourselves.  There are many ways to relax and take care of your body and mind. A few of my favorite ways is to go for a walk along the beach, watch the sunset, or simply put on a nice face mask –Skinfood Mud Masque is one of my favorites! 


What is your go-to skincare and beauty products?

It wasn’t until this year when I started learning about the skin that I realized how important a skin care routine was. This time last year I would remove my makeup with coconut oil and splash my face with water – that was it! Nowadays I have a bit more of a routine that includes cleanser and moisturizer.  At the moment I have been using the Skinfood Gel Cleanser in the morning as it helps wake me up with its fresh fruity scent and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean before I put on moisturizer. After this I will put on my makeup. It is so hard to narrow down beauty products I love because there are SO many! A few of my fav go-to products I love are the Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless foundation, The Balm’s Mary Lou Manizer Highlighter and their ‘Bahama Mama’ Bronzer. I have been using these products for years and I can’t stop repurchasing them- they’re that good! I also love Wendy Hill Cosmetics ‘Indelible gel eyeliner’ in Black out and their Velvet Veil skin primer. The eyeliner is so creamy and easy to use (perfect to use on clients too) and the primer leaves your skin feeling hydrated and soft. These are just a few makeup products I love!


What is your favourite place in the world? Why?

As a girl who hasn’t been out of New Zealand, my favorite place in the world isn’t too far from home. In fact it’s a tiny little bay only accessible by foot or kayak called Otarawairere. It’s a 15 minute walk from Ohope Beach (another great place) and is a local slice of paradise. I have a lot of fun memories there and it’s absolutely beautiful all year round. So at the moment, that would have to be my favorite place in the world, there’s something about going there makes me feel at peace and at home.



What is your favourite make up look? 

Oh this is a hard one. I love how makeup can be used in different ways to achieve different looks. I love a good warm brown smokey eye but I also love that fresh, dewy skin ‘no makeup’ look. I am definitely one who likes to load on the highlighter and I’m not ashamed of it ;)

Check out Cass' make up looks & follow her journey on @makeupbyycass


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