April 17, 2014

GEL NAILS // AT THE SALON

LAST WEEK we talked at-home gel nails, but for those of us who want the longest lasting results and can't be bothered to tinker with them ourselves (ahem, me), we turn to the salons for our gel manicures.

Basically, they begin off by gluing a hard extension to your nail, which starts to look very Ripley's Longest Nails World Record (it's gross, really). Once they've got the whole set adhered, they trim then file down to the shape and length you'd like. This is where the "fake nail" appearance comes from, and at first it feels really weird and the constant fear of ripping one off somewhat takes over your life (but only for a little while, trust me). Then, they essentially paint on layers of gel, curing briefly under a lamp in between layers. The final two layers are your chosen colour, which dries to a shiny finish.

Depending on how fast your nails grow, you'll need to get a "refill" every two to three weeks ( I usually make it to three). This is usually significantly cheaper because they're only redoing the gel layers, not the extensions. They simply file off the colour, clean behind the nail, and reapply the gels. So as you can imagine, as your nails grow out, the extensions get filed down and over time, the nail is no longer an extension but just your nail itself. For someone like me who can barely grow her nails, this is amazing, and I'm completely content with my results. Some say this destroys your nails, but if you're diligent with the upkeep, you shouldn't see any visible issues, just a consistent, neat manicure.

--Anna Raponi

Anna gets her nails done at Beauty Tips and Spa in Oakville. 

April 16, 2014

KURE BAZAAR // OR PUR



























As I've said many a time before, it was all about gold for the Spring/Summer 2014 runways. Gold on the clothes, in the makeup, everywhere.

Kure Bazaar, a relatively new nail polish brand from Paris, takes their colour inspiration straight from the runways, so it's not a surprise that 'Or Pur' (pure gold for you non-French speakers) is part of their collection.

While being on-trend, Kure polishes are made from eco-natural formulas--they are 4-free (no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, or synthetic camphor) and 85% of the polish is of natural origin based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn.

Knowing this, I was pretty skeptical about how well this polish would apply, but it was surprisingly really fluid, and applied really smoothly, had great coverage and lasts just as long as regular nail polish. One coat of this soft gold shade leaves a bit of the whites of your nails peeking through (which looks pretty cool, actually, sort of futuristic French manicure), and a second coat gives full opacity.

Kure Bazaar is available in Toronto at The Detox Market, and online from BeautyHabit and Sprit Beauty Lounge.

April 15, 2014

KLORANE POP-UP COUNTER // TORONTO



As you know, I adore Klorane's cult favourite dry shampoo (this post is definitely a throwback) for soaking up any oil and add volume to my hair on it's second or third day. When I was sent a bunch of their hair care products, I was expecting the same great results, and I wasn't disappointed.

I have to say--I'm normally a bit of snob when it comes to hair care products (I'm normally one for salon brands), but these products really work and are great value for your money. Plus! You can rack up dem Optimum points while you're at it.

Lucky for all of you, Klorane will be running pop-up counter at select Shoppers Drug Marts near you during the months of April and May. Visit them to receive a consultation and free samples and coupons--and if you buy 2 products, you'll receive a travel-size dry shampoo!

Visit them at:

Fairview Mall: April 16, 17, 19
Toronto Eaton Centre: April 22-26 & May 7-10
Yorkdale: May 1-4

Below are a select few of my favourites, but definitely look into the rest of their ranges for what suits your hair best!


Volume and Texture
The flax line, made to give fine hair volume, really does what it says. The shampoo is really light and perfectly cleans the hair to create fluffy, natural volume. If you want to go a bit further, the weightless Leave-In Spray With Flax Fiber will definitely give you that extra oomph, no blow-drying required and no sticky residue.


Shine
Letting my hair dry naturally is great and all for it's overall health, but curly hair just isn't as sleek and shiny as straight hair. I was excited and a bit nervous to try out the Shine-Boosting Water (I thought it might make my hair greasy and weigh it down) but it wasn't heavy at all and gave my hair a natural glisten to it. The Conditioning Balm is really very light, so I wouldn't recommend this for dry hair, but does add extra lustre.
Oily Prone
My 14-year old sister Angela has hair that tends to get greasy quickly (teenage hormones) and this shampoo is helping to regulate the oil production. It's ultra-gentle so it won't strip the hair (and make you produce more oil).
Dry Hair
Along with having oily roots, Angela has long, curly hair with dry ends. The mask with desert date is perfect for repairing any damage and making the rough hair soft and silky. The leave-in cream is perfect for sealing in moisture on dry ends. I wouldn't recommend this line for fine hair, but it definitely great for coarse, thick hair.

April 14, 2014

FACE MAPPING: LISTEN TO YOUR BREAKOUTS


You know how I'm always going on about my chin breakouts being hormonal? Ever wonder how I know I they're hormonal?

Face mapping is real (even if it sounds fake to you). It's a combination of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. Breakouts appear on different parts of your face for a reason, not just by chance. Your face is talking to you! So diagnose your breakouts and see what needs fixing.

Just by looking at where pimples are showing up, you can determine if you might be getting sick, if the air around you is dirty or if certain foods don't agree with you. It could also help determine any underlying health problems that you might have ignored ordinarily. This little guide will help you determine what could be causing your acne which in turn can help you prevent pimples from forming.

Forehead: Sleep, Stress & Digestion
Get your beauty sleep! Remember that 8 hours is ideal for you to function properly. Sleep doesn't just affect your brain, it affects your skin too.

Between the Brows: Diet
Take a look at your diet lately. Are you eating too many french fries? Too much cheese? Maybe having one too many glasses of wine? This is definitely where a pimple or two shows up for me if I've had a bit too much to drink the night before.

Chin: Hormones
My favourite (not) section of all. If your time of the month is coming up (or you're ovulating), this is just where some lovely breakouts happen. The sides of the chin are where you will get the most pimples, and the most painful ones too as there are two veins there.  This is also a good place to keep an eye on if you think your hormones might be out of whack.

Cheeks: Respiratory & Pollution
If you live in a smoggy city, or are around smokers a lot, this is where you're going to see the effects. Also, it could be from that dirty iPhone that you're squishing into your face every time you get a phone call.

Nose: Heart
This area receives breakouts if your blood pressure ior Vitamin B levels are low. Try to get lots of omegas and cut down on spicy food and meats.

April 11, 2014

PHOTOGENIC FACE



Photographs can bring out the worst in your makeup--you might think you aren't that shiny, or that you applied your makeup pretty well--but through the camera's lense any unblended makeup looks obvious and blotchiness comes through.

Whenever I know that I am going to be photographed--whether at a club, a birthday, a wedding, whatever--I always follow the same rules.

1)Primer: First use Benefit's Porefessional to hide any obvious pores around my nose, chin, forehead and cheeks, then apply Smashbox's Photofinish primer all over my face to ensure a smooth surface. Primer will also help to adhere your makeup to your skin, making it last longer. Lancôme also makes a really great primer, and if you're looking for something lighter, Dior CC Airflash Primer is weightless.

2)Complexion: You're going to want to use something with a more matte finish--cameras are not kind to any kind of dewy look--but don't cake on the foundation either, because this will show up. I used Nars' Sheer Matte foundation (I also really love Dior's Airflash Foundation, as you know) in a shade that is actually slightly darker than my super fair complexion. I tried this out a few years ago in attempt to look less ghostly on camera, and it does help a bit. If you're going to do this, make sure to blend into the neck. I concealed my dark circles with Lancome Effacernes and Clé de Peau's concealer. I also covered up some redness with the CDP. Be sure to really blend everything and blur any leftover brush strokes with fingers.

3)Powder: This is key for not looking like there is an oil slick on your face. I generously apply Vichy's Dermablend Setting Powder, wait a few minutes, then brush off the excess. I touch up with Cover FX's matte powder.

4)Eyebrows: These are key for making your face pop on camera. Eyebrows are the architecture of the face, so be sure to fill them in. I love Lancome's Le Crayon Poudre.

5)Blush: Apply more than you think. It actually takes a lot for it to show up on camera. A peachy pink shade always looks nice and fresh. On my wedding day I applied tons of Nars' Orgasm to have a pretty bridal flush. I used Make Up For Ever's HD Cream Blush which is really easy to use and super buildable. A little bit of slight contouring with bronzer also helps to warm up the face and add definition.

6)Lips: Hydrated lips always look best. Apply a satin-sheen lipstick or lipgloss. Matte textures can look severe, especially on more mature skin.

Remember: good lighting will always help, hold your camera slightly above you and know which side is your good side! (It's the left for most people)

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April 10, 2014

DIOR SPRAYS // AIRFLASH CC PRIMER & MATTE TOUCH


I'm already a fan of Dior's Airflash Foundation (I used it on my wedding day), so I was pretty excited to try out these two products. The idea of both of these products blew my mind--Dior is so innovative--I mean, a sprayable primer? and a sprayable powder? What?

These are really the first of their kind. 

Airflash CC Primer: This is a super light, weightless primer that you sprays on as a colourless, ever-so-slightly tacky base. This is not your heavy, silicone-y primer that feels as if you are spackling every crevice of your face. This is for someone who wants their makeup to apply smoothly and stay longer. I like to spray a little extra over my problems areas (chin/anywhere with pimples) and dab it in with my fingers. I'm really loving it so far--it's hydrating (contains hyaluronic acid) and leaves skin looking fresh while also blurring slight imperfections . The formula is quite easy to spray (I do a quick Z-motion across the face) and it is suitable for any skin tone. 

Airflash Matte Touch: Now this one is pretty freakin' cool. This spray creates a super lightweight mist of powder to set, even and mattify makeup. I was initially kind of skeptical of this--how could a liquid mist do this with no brush? But it does (I tried it for the first time in the car before an appointment and now I want to keep it in my purse always for touchups). The clay infused formula absorbs oil and leaves a matte, velvety texture.  

This spray would be great if you're having a lazy day and don't feel like applying foundation. A quick spray of this stuff will give you a more even complexion.

It does come in one universal shade, and I'd be interested to try this on darker skin tones. It comes out as a beige-y fluid that while is certainly darker than my über-fair complexion, doesn't appear so once applied. Also, be sure to use this one before applying any eye makeup unless you want your lashes dusted. Though, if you forget, not to worry, mascara can go right over top without clumping. 

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April 9, 2014

OMOROVICZA // PART ONE

Omorovicza was kind enough to send me a sampling of their most lauded products. Since I am using Differin at the moment (prescribed to me by my doc), I have a review so far of the products that I am able to use in tandem with the retinol. Once I get through my first three months (check back in May), I will make my way over to the Copper Peel, the Gold Eye Lift and the Gold Shimmer Oil.

I was really excited to try these products out--I have heard so much about them, especially the mask, and had high expectations.

The Thermal Cleansing Balm has a consistency similar to Clinique's TTDO, but maybe a little bit thinner. It looks black in the pot, but spreads out to becoming quite translucent. It has a slight warming sensation as it is massage into the skin, and leaves the face feeling hydrated and soft. It removes all makeup, making cleansing a 1-step process.

I've heard pretty crazy things about the Deep Cleansing Mask: "don't use it before a big event, it will bring pimples to the surface", "your face will need a few days to recover", and the like. This made me excited--bring all the pimples up now! I want them gone! And it definitely does really deep clean your face. I use it on the weekend so that my face has cleared up a bit before the work week.

It has a slight warming sensation for me, and really works to smooth the skin and the clay tightens up pores (closing pores is kind of a myth, but this mask really does something). I love to use it as the second mask when I'm giving myself my mini facial (exfoliating mask, clarifying mask, hydrating mask).

The Queen of Hungary Mist is a hydrating mist that can be used as a toner or throughout the day to refresh makeup and add moisture. The scent is lovely--orange blossom-y, but not overpowering. I do love this, but this is something I don't think I could afford on a regular basis. If I was a fancy pants, I would definitely keep this around on my desk for a pick-me-up.

Omorovicza's products are quite pricey, but if I was to buy one product (so far in the set), it would be the mask. If you're not one to pony up the cash for facials on a regular basis, this product would be a good way to justify spending around $100 for facial-like effects.

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