Friday, September 13, 2019

YSL Vernis À Lèvres Water Stain | Review and Swatches

As someone who has hundreds of liners, lipsticks and lacquers, I know that lip gloss can seem a tad boring. How can they make a sheer, shiny formula any better – add more moisture? Change the scent? Who cares!

Well YSL Beauty has created something wonderful - a versatile stain, gloss, lacquer formula that looks gorgeous and feels incredibly comfortable.

The Vernis À Lèvres Water Stains ($49.00 ea) are available in 18 stunning shades that make your lips appear juicy and plump. The unique moisturizing base is composed of 40% water for smooth glide and even layers that drench dry skin in supple color.

The finish is non-sticky but the stain adheres well and hugs the lip contour to prevent feathering. I love the lush texture, it feels like a soft, replenishing balm that repairs and accentuates. The light, luminous finish can be amplified from sheer to medium coverage and I was able to achieve amazing opacity.

You may need to reapply after eating or drinking but the applicator distributes the perfect amount of color that usually lasts for hours.

I have a few of the red, pink and orange hues but there are flattering shades for every skin tone including nude, wine, violet and deep berry.

The only shade that lacks saturation is 605 Bain De Corail because the color is quite light. If you prefer bold pigment, stick to the bright and deep tones.

I love wearing these while traveling because they hold up well during long flights and actually make parched lips feel soft and healthy. 

YSL Beauty is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Sears, Sephora and

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Get Fuller, Thicker Hair with Nioxin’s 3 Step System

Beauty experts and stylists have told me that I have fine hair “but lots of it” – meaning that each strand has a small diameter but there are many of them so my mane appears full, healthy and abundant.

Many people will be surprised to learn that I’ve been using Nioxin - an advanced system designed to rejuvenate thin, lifeless hair. The treatment works by stimulating the scalp to promote healthy growth which is one of the reasons my tendrils are waist length and thriving.

Since we are all starting the process at different phases, I'll begin by giving you a quick health assessment of my hair. Most consumers purchase the kit to stop thinning but my goal is growth and volume.

My hair is shiny, silky, strong and soft with minimal breakage or damage. It is actually quite heavy when wet and I do not experience excessive shedding. Throughout this article I will not be revealing miraculous results but like most people I do have areas that need extra care.

The great thing about these kits is that anyone can use them, whether you have fine, thin, straggly strands or thick glossy hair with a few areas that need rejuvenation.

During the winter I flat iron frequently and even though I use a low setting to prevent frying my ends, heat styling can make hair appear thin, flat and dry. In the summer, I mostly wear my hair in a ponytail which can cause tension at the roots.

Other factors that may cause thinning include: chemical treatments and hair dye, repeated use of harsh sulfates, hormonal imbalance and pregnancy, genetics, aging, improper care, poor diet/nutritional deficiency, stress/anxiety, medication and other health related ailments.

Achieving more body, bounce and fullness is always a good thing so I’ve been using these products to make my roots appear plush, full and lifted. Each system consists of 3 simple steps that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

System 6 is designed for chemically treated hair and progressed thinning. I have never used chemicals or dye but the products are also formulated to “intensely hydrate” which is great for natural curls.

The shampoo cleans very thoroughly eliminating build-up, impurities and oil but it left my hair feeling squeaky clean and a bit fragile. During the second lather, I only shampooed my roots and used another product on my ends to prevent further brittleness. The cleanser is effective but quite drying so I probably won’t use it very often. 

The conditioner seems to be much more concentrated in active ingredients because as soon as I put it on, my scalp began to tingle intensely. The sensation wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t pleasant either. The formula has a strong menthol/peppermint aroma and I’m assuming the stinging sensation is meant to stimulate the follicles and promote growth. If it stays on your head it isn’t painful but you wouldn’t want to get this stuff in your eyes or near your nether regions while showering. Leave it on for a few minutes but keep your head upright so the suds don't run down your face. 

The last step is the Scalp and Hair Treatment which is color safe. The light foam is supposed to be applied all over the roots but I only use it on the small section I'm treating.

After 8-10 applications the hair in that spot did appear to be growing in thicker but I also experienced intense itching for about 2 weeks. I’ve never suffered from dry scalp or dandruff but after using this system, I spent a lot of time scratching my head which resulted in some irritation. This could have been a side effect of new hair growth but it was quite annoying.

Kit 2 is designed for natural hair and progressed thinning. The shampoo purifies the scalp and the conditioner moisturizes, strengthens and enhances density. The products have the same menthol scent and tingling sensation so the active ingredients are probably similar.

The foam leave-in treatment increases the diameter of each strand and contains UV protection to shield your locks from further damage.

I try not to shampoo my hair too often but for visible results you should stick to the program for at least 2-3 weeks. The more you use it, the thicker your hair will appear but I highly recommend a weekly treatment mask to counteract the drying effects of the shampoo.

Nioxin is available at, Walmart, Chatters Hair Salon, Trade Secrets, Winners (in varying quantities), select salons and online at

Monday, September 9, 2019

Nivea Urban Skin Detox Collection Review

As I make my way around the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, I will be attending media events, gifting lounges and red carpet parties including a fancy producer’s ball. I am also preparing for a weekend trip to Niagara Falls and an anniversary trip to Europe.

With all the traveling and late nights, I need products that effectively defend my skin against pollution and keep my complexion radiant, clear and healthy.

Nivea’s Urban Detox Collection includes cleansers, moisturizers and masks designed for busy people. The revitalizing formulas help fight the damaging effects of pollution so you can tackle your day with confidence.

The 3-In-1 White Clay Cleanser ($11.99) with organic green tea saves me a lot of time. It functions as a wash, mask and scrub that quickly removes impurities morning, noon and night. Leave it on for 3-5 minutes to detox and unclog pores. The micro-fine exfoliating granules buff away dead cells so your face feels smooth, supple and refreshed.

The Day Moisturizer ($11.99) contains SPF 20 which is enough for me since my It Cosmetics Foundation contains SPF 40. The cream is extremely lightweight, fast absorbing and non-greasy with a 48 hour moisture boost complex that nourishes dry skin. I love the fragrance, texture and finish. It works well under makeup, never makes me look greasy and protects against free radicals that cause wrinkles and dark spots.

The Skin Detox Clay Masks ($11.49) are available in a Purifying formula and a mattifying peel-off. The first contains white clay and magnolia to abolish dirt, bacteria and pollutants trapped deep within your pores. It is great for busy mornings because treatment time is only 1-5 minutes. I use it before showering, while I’m getting ready for work and before bed. Slather some on whenever you need a quick, rejuvenating facial.

The Peel-Off Mask with green tea and black rice eliminates dry flakes and excess oil to prevent blemishes, acne and greasiness. As the thin film is lifted off, you can feel it extracting sweat, dirt and debris that has accumulated throughout the day.

The Night Gel Moisturizer ($11.99) feels cool and soothing on tired skin. As you sleep, the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties replenish and repair to promote a healthy glow. I usually layer the gel with serum or oil for even more hydration because there is not enough moisture to completely eliminate dryness.

When dealing with long, international flights and bad skin days, I like knowing that I have these products in my suitcase.

Nivea is available at drugstores nationwide.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Lise Watier Limited Edition Romance Sauvage Collection | Fall 2019

I hate to break it to you but summer is almost over. I don’t know what happened to June, July or August but they flew by in a blur of vacations, patio parties and fun festivals.

The evenings are getting cooler, kids have gone back to school and Starbucks has reintroduced their Pumpkin Spice Latte. I even saw Halloween decorations at the mall a couple weeks ago.

Autumn is my favorite month for many reasons but one thing that always excites me is the makeup. Deep sultry colors are back and I’m kicking things off with Lise Watier’s Romance Sauvage Collection.

These colors are inspired by danger, daring adventure and taking risks for love. Fashionistas will appreciate the stylish snake skin casing with pops of bright teal.

The Romance Sauvage Eye Shadow Palette ($60.00) is gorgeous! In fact, it may be one of my favorite palettes the brand has ever created. It contains 10 seductive shades that complement each other perfectly and look amazing on all skin tones.

The mattes are incredibly soft, smooth, buttery and blendable while the metallics are velvety, rich, dramatic and long-lasting.

The pigment glides on vibrantly with intense color payoff and excellent durability. I always use primer so I didn’t experience any creasing or fading and the formula is paraben-free.

The Blush Duo ($36.00) is embossed with the same pretty pattern as the outer packaging and comes with 2 “universal” shades designed to illuminate, lift and sculpt. Unfortunately the pink is too subtle and the deeper hue lacks pigmentation, I can barely see it on my skin. If you layer heavily it might work but the color isn’t prominent.

Lise Watier makes amazing lipstick and the Baiser Metal Mattes ($28.00 ea) are now available in sexy autumn shades. Toxic Kiss is a stunning combination of mauve, pink and wine with a lightweight finish that dries down into a long-wear lacquer. The metallic effect is luminous and bold without being sparkly or gritty and the color applies highly saturated in one swipe.

If you’re looking for pretty shadows suitable for travel and every occasion, check out the Dress Code Solos ($24.00 ea). There are 20 scintillating shades to choose from and each one comes with an applicator and small mirror.

These high quality pigments are similar to the shadows in the Sauvage palette – smooth, silky and buildable. They are available in matte, shimmer and metallic finishes that range from neutrals to jewel tones.

Lise Watier is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, departments stores (including The Bay) and online at

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

NEW Burt’s Bees Natural Body Wash

Life can be stressful and chaotic so many of us develop coping methods to prevent mid-week meltdowns. Some people like to meditate while others choose to take their frustration out on the treadmill or yoga mat. I enjoy soothing showers to clear my mind and relax before bed. The warm water and comforting steam has a calming effect and I always emerge feeling refreshed.

To make bath time more enjoyable, Burt’s Bees has created 3 nourishing formulas that are 98.7% natural and plant-based. The moisturizing ingredients keep skin healthy and there are no parabens, phthalates, SLS or petroleum.

On Monday mornings when you feel like crawling back into bed, Energizing Citrus Ginger helps perk you right up. The invigorating scent awakens the senses while gentle bubbles cleanse and soften dry skin.

Rosemary Lemon smells like a luxurious spa with uplifting aroma therapy benefits. To alleviate tired muscles, pour some shower gel in the bath under running water and get comfy as the botanical extracts pamper your body.

Before bed use the Calming Lavender & Honey blend. The tranquil fragrance prepares you for a good night’s sleep while ridding the skin of dirt, oil, and impurities. There is nothing artificial, irritating or drying – just a lightweight, stress reliving lather that makes you want to put on your pajamas and get under the covers.

The body washes retail for $12.49 each at, London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and

Burt’s has also improved their satin lipstick formula to include more hydration and smoother application.

Enriched with moringa and raspberry seed oil, the pigments are 100% natural and made from 60% recyclable material.

There are 18 rich hues to choose from including pink, coral, nude, mauve and berry tones. The lipsticks look and feel more like a lightweight, tinted balm with a glistening finish that conditions for hours.

For more info head visit

Monday, September 2, 2019

How to Hide Dark Circles like a Pro with Vasanti’s Liquid VO2 Color Correcting Concealer

One of the biggest issues I face when applying makeup is how to hide dark circles. I always strive for a flawless finish but no matter how much sleep I get or how much eye cream I use, they never go away completely.

Darkness around the eye area is caused my many factors including genetics, fatigue, veins, melanin, allergies, ageing and thinning skin. Most people in my dad’s family have them so I work extra hard to prevent the shadows from getting worse.

Aside from going to bed early, using weekly treatments and taking time to relax, I also camouflage my dark circles to look and feel my best.

If you’ve tried to disguise the problem without success, you might be going about it the wrong way. The mistake most people make is pasting on tons of concealer that sits on top of the skin and draws more attention to the area. To effectively mask dark circles you must first correct the discoloration which is why VO2 is a makeup bag essential. This lightweight, non-greasy formula is easy to blend with no dulling, creasing or caking.

VO2 Color Corrector is a universal orange that works on most complexions including medium to deep skin. Over the years I’ve had difficulty finding a corrector that isn’t harsh, thick or oily so I’m happy someone finally got it right!

Use the VO2 Stubby Brush to apply the pigment exactly where you need it most. Creating a V shape is the best method for achieving full coverage. Deep undertones around the eyes (brown, purple and blue) are instantly neutralized so your concealer can actually do its job without any darkness showing through. I also use this brush to apply powder and set liquids. The bristles are sturdy, flexible and soft – perfect for smoothing and eliminating shine.

I usually give the corrector a minute or two to set before applying anything else. If you do require an extra layer, the versatile formula is buildable and won’t clog pores. It also stays where you put it so your face doesn’t look orange or red on warm summer days.

Vasanti’s Liquid Cover Up Foundation & Concealer works well on top of the corrector. Together they create a seamless veil that mimics skin’s natural texture and lasts all day without becoming ashy or thick. These products are easy to incorporate into your daily routine. In under 2 minutes my under eye area looks bright, even and totally rejuvenated!

I also like that the pigment hydrates and plumps dry skin. For extra nourishment use it on top of Vasanti’s Eye Wonder 2.0 Cream to reduce puffiness with a blend of peptides, botanicals and vitamins.

Unlike most correctors, I don’t have to use a lot to see amazing results and since one tube can last up to a year, it is very cost effective. Those with sensitive skin will be happy to know that these products are vegan, cruelty free and paraben free with a hint of olive leaf extract to condition and protect.

I keep the corrector in my carry-on luggage to use on all my vacations and press trips. After long flights, I simply swipe or dab some on to look well rested and alert.

If you are a makeup artist, VO2 makes a great addition to your kit because the color is versatile and flattering. I use it every day for radiant, youthful looking skin.

For unsightly blemishes, dark spots, acne scars or hyperpigmentation that won’t fade fast enough, the orange pigment balances the complexion so your foundation looks amazing! Use it to brighten your eyelids or shape, define and contour your brows. A thin layer makes a great base for eye shadow.

I don’t have wrinkles (thank goodness) so I let my mom test my orange corrector and she loves it too! Her skin tone is much darker than mine but the peachy color works wonders without accentuating the areas she wants to blur. If you have mature skin, don’t be afraid to use as much as you need. The natural finish improves the appearance of bags and sallow grooves without settling into fine lines.

I’ve featured a lot of amazing makeup from Vasanti (their lipsticks are gorgeous) and after reading this review I’m sure you’ll want to try VO2 for yourself.

Head to my Instagram account @DiaryOf aTrendaholic and enter for a chance to WIN a $150.00 online gift card for Contest rules are listed under the photo and you have until August 9th to submit your entry.

Vasanti Cosmetics is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Rexall, and

Friday, August 30, 2019

Stila Hide & Chic Fluid Foundation Review

Remember when I told you that I’ve always had difficulty finding foundations that match? Well recently most of the products I’ve been sent to review look amazing on my skin! I don’t know if it’s because beauty companies finally understand the value of incorporating more women of color but things are definitely improving for girls in the medium range of the color spectrum (woo hoo!).

I was matched with Stila’s Hide & Chic Fluid Foundation ($51.00) in the shade Tan/Deep 1 and decided to test the formula on date night. I had pretty good results with Stila’s Lingerie Souffle Skin Perfecting Color and if this one didn’t work, I knew my husband wouldn’t call me an oompa loompa over a candlelight dinner...he’d wait until we got home and let me down gently.

Hide & Chic is described as “a magic elixir” infused with botanical ingredients that smooth, blur, refine and even the complexion. I love makeup enriched with skincare and this golden bottle contains plant collagen and vegetable extract to firm and tone, baobab tree root for moisture and Irish sea moss.

What I love most is the customizable coverage. The consistency is light and very liquid-y so the color blends effortlessly and provides a natural, skin-like veil that is long-wear, flexible and humidity-proof. It is also very buildable so you can easily go from medium to full-coverage with no trouble concealing blemishes and discoloration.

The foundation is quite runny so be careful when using the pump dispenser. Yesterday a stream of it shot across my vanity and ended up in a drawer. 

Fortunately this shade makes my complexion look flawless. I used my beauty blender for quick, seamless application and it spread beautifully!

The swatches below show the texture of the foundation blended and unblended (FYI, my face is a completely different color than my forearm).

I always set my liquids with powder and after a full night of fun at the fair, my skin wasn't greasy at all! There was no transfer (my hubby occasionally complains about makeup on his shirt) and the color didn’t oxidize in the sun – no harsh red tones.  

The silica coated pigments create a bouncy, breathable finish that feels silky and stays smooth with no caking or flaking. I didn’t experience any irritation and the formula is suitable for all skin types with the perfect balance of matte and dewiness. There is no dryness or shine (even in warm climates) and it does not accentuate lines, pores or uneven texture.

There are 30 shades to choose from and about half of them are in the tan, medium and deep range.

If you’re looking for a great foundation that makes your skin appear healthy and energized, I definitely recommend trying this one. Stila is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Lancome L’Absolu Mademoiselle Shine Lipstick: Review & Swatches

Sometimes a girl just needs a gorgeous lipstick that she can swipe on quickly without worrying about smudging dryness or discomfort. Lancome seems to understand exactly what women want because the new L’Absolu Mademoiselle Lipsticks ($38.00 ea) are juicy, vibrant and incredibly hydrating.

The color selection is gorgeous! Your choices include a trendy collection of classic red, plum, pink, wine, nude and coral - something for every skin tone, style and occasion.

The first thing I noticed was how lush and lightweight the formula is. It contains rose oil, vitamin E, and a patented moisture lock complex that protects, nourishes and conditions for hours! The fruity scent smells delicious and the color glides on effortlessly with minimal transfer and no bleeding.

I usually prefer matte lipsticks but I’ve totally fallen in love with the glistening shine and plush finish of these bright hues. They make my pout feel soft, smooth and youthful with a sexy plumping effect.

As the pigment drenches parched lips in supple moisture it feels like a soothing balm with the buildable color of a satin lipstick. I don’t need to reapply often and the gold tubes are are super chic. 

During hectic workdays or long flights, the lipstick prevents skin from chapping or peeling and never feels sticky or slick. I always keep one in my purse to enhance my complexion right before a big meeting or event.

The best part – you don’t have to wait for a good lip day to wear them. The color looks great even when your pout is in bad shape and they actually make my skin feel healthier  – silky, resilient and completely replenished.

Swatches left to right: 232 Mademoiselle Plays, 368 Mademoiselle Smiles, 382 Mademoiselle Shine, 398 Mademoiselle Loves and 157 Mademoiselle Stands Out

Lancome is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, department store counters and online at

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Merlot Natural Grape Seed Skin Care Review

It seems like I’ve tried almost every beauty product on the market so when new trends and passing fads become overwhelming, I go back to the basics.

Merlot was one of the very first companies I worked with when launching my website. I used their products for many years and my entire family saw visible improvements in the health of their skin.

The brand’s philosophy is simple – they believe that their customers can look like a million bucks without spending that much and as someone who uses five thousand dollar face masks, this ideology is very refreshing. Sometimes simple ingredients are all you really need and Merlot features the natural power of grape seed antioxidants to reverse signs of aging and environmental damage.

I am no stranger to the health benefits of red wine and grape seeds. The extract is 50 times more potent than Vitamin E and nearly 25 times more effective than Vitamin C. I use the oil to cook with and drink non-alcoholic red wine to keep my cholesterol in check. It is also known to prevent certain cancers, increase blood flow, strengthen collagen and improve brain and organ function.

Merlot’s entire range is cruelty-free, vegan, paraben free and the family-owned business is based in the U.S.A.

Day Routine
In the morning I always use a good face wash to cleanse my pores, control oil and remove bacteria that may be lurking beneath the surface. The nourishing soap-free Grape Seed Cleanser ($11.00) eliminates impurities, moisturizes and soothes with a fragrance-free blend of cucumber, apple and papaya extract. My face never feels tight, itchy or dry and it is safe to use around the eyes. The rich cream feels great but it doesn't lather. 

Before applying makeup I prep, hydrate and replenish my skin with the Sunrise Serum ($22.00) which contains high-tech, anti-aging peptides. The lightweight, water-based liquid absorbs instantly without greasiness and creates a smooth, silky base for flawless foundation. It also improves texture and tone by plumping and firming.

On top of the serum I apply a layer of Merlot’s Grape Seed Moisturizer ($17.00) with powerful antioxidants and botanicals. Enriched with SPF and free radical defense, the formula helps inhibit the aging process and shields skin from daily aggressors without oil or heavy fragrance. You can tell the cream is infused with a lot of grape seed extract because it has a purple tint and a supple finish.

Evening Routine
At bedtime I use the Grape Seed Cleanser to eliminate makeup and pollutants before applying the Moonlight Radiance Night Cream ($20.00). The consistency is a bit richer than the daily moisturizer and the revitalizing anti-aging complex renews tired looking skin that has been damaged by natural or external elements. State-of-the-art peptides reduce the appearance of wrinkles while boosting collagen, enhancing elasticity and balancing pH to restore the dermal layer. For very dry skin I recommend using a generous amount. The cream never clogs pores and when used frequently it brightens, softens and firms.

For velvety skin, apply 2 drops of Vineyard Gold Facial Oil made with 100% pure grape seed ($18.00). This is my favorite product in the line because it repairs and rejuvenates as you sleep without causing breakouts. It also works wonders on cracked heels, brittle nails, ragged cuticles and chapped lips. The light, dewy sheen makes skin glow without greasy buildup.

Don’t forget to apply the Grape Seed Eye Cream ($13.00) if you want to look well rested and refreshed. This invigorating treatment improves circulation, reduces puffiness, diminishes dark circles, moisturizes, boosts collagen and smooths fine lines.

Merlot Skincare is available at

Friday, August 23, 2019

Pixi Beauty Eye Reflection Shadow Palette Review

Resisting new beauty trends can be difficult when there is so much enticing makeup. Most of us have more products than we know what to do with but Pixi’s eye shadow palettes should probably be at the forefront of your collection.

These babies are gorgeous! If you love smooth, buttery pigment that glides on effortlessly and illuminates your eyes with striking metallic brilliance, then look no further. After swatching most of the colors, I totally understand why these shadows are called “reflection” – the silky mineral powder catches light and creates a gorgeous 3D effect that shines and shimmers.

At first glance the shade selection may appear neutral but these hues are anything but boring. Mixed Metals has a stunning combination of garnet, gold, taupe and champagne that look radiant on all skin tones. The rich chrome-like finish is vibrant and full-coverage with no creasing or fading.

If you’re searching for the perfect rose gold, Reflex Light has the most flattering variation – (3rd row, 2nd shade). There aren’t any mattes in this palette but who cares! I can easily find other shadows to match and for special events, they make my eyes look mesmerizing!

The only issue I have is some lid to crease transfer which is annoying when I want to keep the colors separate and defined.

More variety would be nice because these palettes are quite similar. I’d love to see Pixi formulate a few jewel tones including emerald, shimmery royal blue, ruby and maybe even a vivid purple with the same rich texture, longevity and intensity.

If you prefer cool tones, Natural Beauty might be more your style. This palette still has pops of glam but there are also a few earthy mattes to balance the radiance. 

The Eye Reflection Palettes retail for $34.00 each and they are totally worth it!

Pixi's Books of Beauty are great for travel and busy mornings. Contour Creator ($24.00) is designed to shape, bronze and highlight with micro-milled particles that draw attention to your best features. The highlight shades are a little too white and chalky for my complexion but the sculpting hues (light, medium and deep brown) are great for accentuating your profile.

The Glow Getters Palette ($24.00) features “6 universal shades” but I think the powders are too light for medium to deep skin. The finish is luminous but I prefer vivid gold or bronze - something with more dimension.

For application I’ve been using the Real Techniques Rebel Edge Brushes ($26.00) which are cut at an angle to apply bronzer, highlighter and blush. The thick, fluffy bristles are perfect for buffing color onto the skin while creating a seamless contrast of shadow and light.

The Pixiglow Cake 3-in-1 Luminous Transition Powder ($38.00) has a gradient of 5 colors so you can use your favorite or mix and match. There isn’t a lot of depth to these shades (they have a white/silvery base) but the natural finish is pretty for daytime wear.

Pixi Beauty is paraben and cruelty free. You can find these great products at Shoppers Drug Mart and online at
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