Make-up Geeks Rejoice! Beyond the literal is here


If blending is your favourite type of cardio, then Beyond the Literal is here for you! 

When Doug Ford first announced the COVID-19 lockdown, a wave of panic swept over me. “O.K….I can learn to dance online, I can shop online, I can do school online... but what about make-up, online?” I thought. 

Those open days following examinations were the moments I took myself out on ‘self-care’ dates at the mall. I’d visit salons, retail stores and cosmetic boutiques. In addition to the shopping, I greatly enjoyed the customer service experiences, especially in stores like Sephora and NYX. I absolutely loved when professional make-up artists guided me through makeovers, educating me on special techniques and trends. I also appreciated the convenience of their professional help when trying to locate appropriate products for myself based on my skin tone and skin type. 

Get the TD Insurance app.

It wasn’t until I finished a series of rigorous assignments and tests that I realized why I truly missed going to the mall. Sitting behind a screen for work, school, and as a leisure activity with limited social interactions was slowly deteriorating my mental health. Applying, watching tutorials, and purchasing make-up online wasn’t adequate. As a recent beauty junkie, I wanted to improve my skills and seek professional help with cosmetics. 

I began scouring the internet for virtual make-up events on EventBrite, and that’s where I found Beyond the Literal. Every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., Naomi Robles hosts free, live and interactive make-up classes. The professional make-up artist addresses all questions, comments and concerns specified by participants. Robles is enthusiastic, clear, patient and unbiased.  

Her establishment, Beyond the Literal, prides itself on being open to all levels, ethnicities and ages of make-up enthusiasts. Moreover, Robles consistently uncovers challenges in the marketing aspect of her business. She disapproves of the many stigmas surrounding make-up. Her brand refuses to focus on a specific audience based on traits such as age, experience or salary.

“If I’m honest, for me, it’s not even about the make-up,” said Robles. “It’s about how she [a participant] shows up for herself. How she feels, I want her to feel a connection with her make-up and make-up brushes.

“Those ah-ha moments. It’s all about the person who has the brush in their hands, it’s always easy to get a professional to do it [make-up]. My favourite thing is knowing that she is hands-on, following the tutorial and is seeing a transformation, not because anyone else did it, but because she did it.”

Her goals are to help empower her viewers, allowing them to grow to discover their own qualities and desired looks. She has compared the application of cosmetics to brushing teeth. 

“I’m a strong believer in seeing women feel like they can walk into a room and own it with or without make-up,” Robles said. 

Robles credits her partner, Cesar, for basically presenting the idea of Beyond the Literal to her. Cesar is a photographer and videographer, who is also responsible for recording and editing Robles’ work. The pair began with vlogging their adventurous hikes in Colorado, occasionally with models, whose hair and make-up were done by Robles. The nation-wide shutdown occurred in the United States due to COVID-19, and their journeys were restricted. 

“And then COVID happened, and it was actually Cesar’s idea, because he was asking me what women would do now and in the future,” said Robles. 

Going forward, Robles is in the process of creating online make-up courses.  

“I was actually homeschooled in a military family with five kids,” she explained. “So, we were all homeschooled. And the way that I learned is kind of how these courses are going to be. You’ll get the course but then each week, you will meet with me to review.” 

Lastly, Robles believes in serving every day, hard-working women. She is constantly thinking about these women and their struggles. Attempting to use make-up to improve the lives of these women is what drives her ambitions.