Wednesday, May 29, 2019

NEW Hair Care From Shea Moisture: Argan Oil & Almond Milk + Manuka Honey & Yogurt

Most people understand the pain of trying to tame unruly hair in humid weather but I think curly girls have it harder. When your spirals are already a little frizzy, sweltering summer heat can trigger a wave of bad hair days that leave your tresses looking a little frazzled.

When it’s hot outside, perspiration is inevitable and flat ironing is no longer an option. I usually let my tendrils fall where they may and take a break from heat styling so my mane grows long, strong and healthy. I also switch to gentle products infused with hydrating ingredients that nourish parched strands from root-to-tip.

Shea Moisture is a great option for all hair types because the cruelty-free collections contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil or petroleum. I usually take a few faves on vacation to maintain body, bounce and shine in smoggy, polluted cities.

This summer the Argan Oil & Almond Milk Smooth & Tame Range will be your new BFF. The Shampoo ($11.96) smells amazing and the liquid-y texture drenches each and every strand in a light, bubbly lather that gently foams away dirt, sweat, build-up and impurities with a nutritive blend of fruit extracts, shea butter, protein and essential oils. I like that it doesn’t irritate my scalp, strip away too much sebum or cause brittleness, and after cleansing my hair feels light and plush.

The Smooth & Tame Conditioner ($11.96) is packed with vitamin E, fatty acids and marshmallow root extract which forms an anti-humidity coating that eliminates frizz, deeply moisturizes, softens and prevents flyaways. The rich cream is also great for detangling and safe for color treated hair. I usually leave it on for a few minutes in the shower so the steam can enhance penetration and promote silkiness.

The Blow Out Creme ($13.96) reduces breakage up to 93%, reinforces weak fibers and protects against heat damage and environmental aggressors. Even if you aren’t blow drying, you can use it as a leave-in to define limp, frizzy curls and seal your ends.

When I notice split-ends or my hair feels a bit rough, I switch to the Manuka Honey & Yogurt Collection. These products repair fraying cuticles and reduce breakage up to 76% without weight, greasiness or residue.

The shampoo ($11.96) is not as milky as the Smooth & Tame but it works in much the same way. I can actually use it several times a week after working out without causing dryness and the invigorating lather purifies, fortifies and refreshes.

The Conditioner ($11.96) has a convenient pump which is easy to use in the shower and it deeply replenishes dull, lackluster strands with layers of velvety moisture. For best results, leave it on for at least 10 minutes so the luscious butters and natural oils can mend wiry areas.

If you need more protein and your multi-vitamins aren’t getting the job done, try the Hydrate & Repair Power Protein Treatment ($16.99) for over processed, abused hair fibers. This mask is ultra thick (like whipped shea butter) so it coats evenly to repair, detangle, moisturize and strengthen. I usually leave it on for about 45 minutes and my curls feel bouncy, soft, glossy and light with no stiffness (despite the protein), very little frizz and less shedding. After just one treatment I noticed much more definition and the results lasted for days! On busy mornings I can simply refresh my ringlets with some Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and be out the door.

The Sugar Cane Extract & Meadowfoam Seed Silicone Free Miracle Styler ($13.96) is another summer essential you’ll want to stock-up on. This Leave-In Treatment does it all: detangles, nourishes, cuts drying time, adds shine, reduces frizz, enhances silkiness and protects against thermal damage. I apply it to damp hair along with my other curl products and air dry for soft, bouncy curls that are well formed and lustrous. It also does wonders for dry, straggly ends that need to be revived.

Shea Moisture is available at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Stila Lingerie Soufflé Skin Perfecting Color Review

Summer in Toronto is beautiful but we often experience severe heat waves and high humidity that elevates UV levels. I enjoy spending time outdoors but heavy foundation can melt, streak, clog pores and feel very uncomfortable.

This spring I’ve been searching for lighter options and just in time for beach and barbecue season Stila has launched the Lingerie Soufflé Perfecting Color ($49.00), their most luxurious multi-purpose skin perfector ever!

This opulent water-based mousse is whipped to perfection with 70% water and natural botanicals that nourish and protect without stickiness. It also contains light reflecting pearls to enhance your natural glow and blur pesky imperfections.

Once blended you will notice shimmering micro-beads dispersed throughout the foundation. They sit on the surface and create a dazzling veil of radiance. In theory this effect seems pretty cool but I’m usually more selective with my highlighter and a face full of sparkles isn’t really necessary.

The heavy glass bottle is gorgeous but quite impractical for travel. You may have to transfer some product into a portable container for use on-the-go.

Although the consistency seems thick, rich and heavy, the mousse is virtually weightless. It doesn’t look or feel like you’re wearing a ton of makeup and it doesn’t cake, crease or settle into lines.

There are 8 colors available that range from fair, medium and deep. Each Soufflé is designed to cover a multitude of skin tones so you don’t necessarily need an exact match. According to the Stila representatives at their media event, my shade is 5.0 (in the middle range).

I tested the pigment for an entire day – at work, running errands and during an evening power walk with my husband. It is a tad darker than my complexion so I used powder to even out the color and prolong wear. The flexibility is nice (my face never felt stiff) and there was minimal fading, transfer and greasiness.

Applying the pigment takes patience because it dries quickly and once the cream becomes matte, it can be difficult to blend seamlessly. For consistency, I use a beauty blender and then go over patchy areas with a small concealer brush for more precision.

The color will camouflage faint blemishes and discoloration but the coverage is light to medium. You may need to touch-up problem areas with a bit of concealer if they still show through.

If I had to rate this product I’d give it 3.7/5 for great texture and excellent staying power. I’d most likely wear the soufflé to the gym, beach, cottage, park or mall but for high profile events or special occasions I require more coverage.

If you don’t wear much makeup, you will probably like this. It gives your pores a chance to breathe and looks quite natural (minus the shimmer).

Stila is available at Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart and

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Avon Spring/Summer 2019 Beauty Collection | Makeup, Skincare & Accessories

The sun is shining, the weather is improving and I’m getting ready to have the best summer ever! This weekend I’ve planned a high tea party with the girls and we will be attending a screening of Disney’s live action version of Aladdin – one of my favorite childhood films. I’ve also been busy attending media events, planning my next vacation and testing new beauty collections infused with uplifting aromas.

Avon always has a lot to choose from when transitioning between seasons. The website is my one-stop-shop for all things makeup, fashion, skincare, decor accents and trendy dinnerware for all my parties.

To perk up a dull complexion, the Blooming Blush Palette ($14.99) is a must! The rose embossed powders range from neutral to bright with lots of vibrant coral for every complexion.

The brand has also released 3 Iconic Lipsticks ($12.00 ea) in gorgeous springtime packaging. Pink Blossom is sheer, hydrating and shimmery - perfect for subtle, luminous looks.

Magix Tint ($15.00) is a brightening, skin enhancing moisturizer with a hint of versatile color. On sweltering summer days, the lightweight texture is a great alternative to heavy foundations that melt and crease. 

The tint is available in 6 shades: Fair, Light, Light Medium, Medium (the color I have), Medium Deep and Deep with a paraben free, vegan formula. The pigment camouflages faint blemishes while blurring imperfections, redness and mild discoloration so my complexion looks dewy and even. I use a buffing brush to achieve flawless coverage but you can also use your fingers.

Avon’s True Color Illuminating Stick ($14.00) is great for creating an effortless glow where you need it most. Simply swipe on the shimmer and blend for instant radiance. The Champagne shade (seen here) is a bit silvery but the stick is also available in Rose Gold.

Nude nails are all the rage right now and although I usually prefer bright manis and pedis, I’m really digging this Luxe Violet Shade. The 7-In-1 Nail Enamel ($9.00) comes in a variety of trendy colors and the formula is infused with a base coat, top coat, strengthener and protective treatment to keep nails strong and healthy. The creamy texture dries opaque in 2 coats with a beautiful gel-like finish.

I'm always on the hunt for interesting pieces to style-up my outfits and I came across this pretty Ocean Air Link Watch ($59.99) on The metallic blue bracelet adds a pop of fun color and I love the elegant stones surrounding the face. It also comes with 3 removable clasps so you can adjust the length yourself and it looks fabulous with the Ocean Air Stretch Bracelet Set ($24.00).

Taking a hot shower at the end of a long day is one of life's simple pleasures and Avon's pampering skincare helps set the mood.

The Lotus & Cotton Flower Collection includes a shower gel, body lotion, body mist and hand cream for under $12.00 each! The creams are infused with Vitamin E and Shea Butter for lightweight hydration and long-lasting nourishment without greasiness.

If you prefer a relaxing soak, Avon has reintroduced their bestselling Senses Magnolia and Pear Blossom Bubble Bath ($10.00) in a large bottle. The sheer floral scent was formulated to evoke the joy of spring’s first blooms with a soft musk undertone that makes the whole bathroom smell like an intoxicating oasis.

If you’re shopping for affordable fragrances look no further. Avon always has a fantastic selection of scents for women of all ages.

Honey Blossom ($30.00 / 50 ml) is comprised of sparkling apple, fresh blooms, vibrant honeysuckle nectar, airy vanilla and orchid. This fresh, well-rounded perfume is sweet, modern, alluring and fruity – perfect for warm spring days.

There are also 3 new face masks ($4.99 ea) that revive and replenish the complexion with natural ingredients. The Brightening Mask with grapefruit and vitamin C moisturizes and evens skin tone for improved radiance and clarity. Use the Smoothing Mask with resveratrol and chia seed to hydrate and reduce the look of wrinkles or pop the Calming Mask in the fridge to soothe sensitivity and redness. The formula is enriched with aloe and cucumber so it may help alleviate discomfort from heat rash and sunburn.

The Anew Vitamin C Warming Peel ($28.00) revives dull, tired skin with natural seeds that gently buff away dead cells. Leave it on for 10 minutes to activate the warming sensation and rinse with warm water to open pores, remove impurities and rejuvenate.

Enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family is always memorable but don’t forget to protect your pout. The Anew Vitamin C Antioxidant Lip Treatment ($20.00) conditions dry, flaky skin while plumping, smoothing and protecting from environmental aggressors. The only thing that would make this formula even better is SPF protection but it smells delicious!

Visit for more summer inspiration.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Inkey List | Skincare Review

Are you tired of browsing the beauty aisle with no idea what to try? Maybe you’re confused by long ingredient lists, fed up of chemical terms you don’t understand and broke from buying stuff you don’t need.

For everyone who’s had enough of complicated beauty routines, The Inkey List has designed an effective travel-size skincare collection that is simple and affordable.

There are 15 core products to choose from and each formula has a star ingredient clearly listed on the box with a short description of what it does. The range features heavy hitters like Retinol, Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic Acid so you can customize your regime with the components your skin craves.

I was most excited to try the Turmeric Face Moisturizer ($12.99) because it has so many amazing health benefits. This delicious spice is infused with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that brighten, reduce wrinkles and hydrate.

You can tell the cream has a high concentration of turmeric because it emits a distinct aroma. I mainly use it at night (before bed) to detoxify my pores, smooth, soften and neutralize blemish causing bacteria. It does not melt in right away but the finish is light and supple.

Hyaluronic Acid is being put in everything these days because it holds 1000 times its weight in water to lock-in moisture, plump and smooth wrinkles. This refreshing serum ($12.99) is weightless, fragrance-free and fast absorbing which is perfect for layering.

Most people use the Hyaluronic formula with the Vitamin C Serum ($12.99) to protect skin from environmental aggressors and free radical damage. It is also known to diminish discoloration, scars, dark spots and hyperpigmentation for enhanced clarity and radiance.

The Retinol Face Serum ($12.99) is derived from Vitamin A and helps promote skin renewal and collagen production. This is a popular ingredient in anti-aging care because it also tones, lifts and rejuvenates your profile to counteract the unsightly effects of drooping.

If you are sensitive to retinol it might be a good idea to do a patch test before slathering it all over your face but the slow-release complex minimizes irritation.

The Caffeine Eye Cream ($9.99) is infused with jojoba, squalene, soybean, radish root, hyaluronic acid and healing extracts that reduce puffiness and fade dark circles. The gentle formula is safe for delicate skin so you can use it all around the eye area to hydrate and smooth fine lines. I keep mine in the fridge because the cooling sensation reduces under eye bags and other signs of fatigue when I don't get enough sleep.

If you’d like to simplify your skincare routine without compromising on quality, the Inkey Collection is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and

Thursday, May 9, 2019

7 Must-Have Fragrances for Spring/Summer 2019

Temperatures in Toronto have finally climbed to 25˚C, flowers are blooming and people are strutting around with pep in their step. Spring is definitely in the air and Mother’s Day is on Sunday!

One gift that never goes out of style is a luxurious bottle of perfume so today I'm showcasing a few trendy scents that are perfect for all your summer soirees.

Aerin Amber Musk ($142.00 / 50 ml) is not a conventional spring bouquet. The aroma is not sweet, fruity or refreshing but the enchanting warmth makes me feel cozy on cool rainy nights as we transition between seasons. The predominant note is intoxicating musk (as the name suggests) but there are also hints of succulent coconut, rose, benzoin and velvety ambrox which is vibrant and feminine. I may not wear this on hot summer days but the robust sensuality is perfect for date night and I think mom will love the bold sophistication.

*Available at Sephora, The Bay and

For work, vacation, summer parties or girl’s night out, Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium ($115.00 / 50 ml) is my go-to fragrance. The scintillating blend of black coffee, white flowers and creamy vanilla is the perfect balance of alluring warmth and mild sweetness. This is a great everyday scent – modern, addictive and empowering.

*Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora,, The Bay and

Versace Bright Crystal ($126.00 / 90 ml) smells like new beginnings. The aroma is icy fresh, uplifting and clean. It was formulated to capture the essence of femininity, beauty and confidence with a juicy burst of pomegranate, peony, magnolia, lotus flower, amber, musk and citrus. Unlike my first two selections, this perfume is light and delicate – perfect for warm sunny days.

*Available at The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and Holt Renfrew

Lancome La Vie Est Belle Rose ($100.00 / 50 ml) is an ode to happiness. The cheerful gourmand is overflowing with peony, roses, sparkling iris and sweet raspberry contrasted with sultry patchouli, sandalwood and musk. The notes are well rounded, soft, flirty, youthful and energetic – great for women of all ages.

*Available at Sephora, The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and

Clean Reverse Solar Bloom ($134.00 / 100 ml) emits warmth and radiance with refreshing bergamot, orange blossom, coconut water, vetiver and green mandarin. The floral notes are subdued with calming earthy tones that smell natural and refreshing. The appeal of this scent is hard to describe but I’d compare it to a burst of sunshine that meshes with my body chemistry to create something truly unique. It is light, fun, enticing and unforgettable – unlike anything I have in my collection.

*Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Sephora

Versace Pour Femme Dylan Blue ($136.00 / 100 ml) is Donatella’s tribute to femininity and power. I am totally obsessed with this fragrance! It smells sweet and fruity with a captivating dark undertone – like a delicious apple martini with a hint of musk. The magnificent formula exudes elegance, seduction and assertiveness with notes of black currant, Granny Smith apple, a selection of wild blooms, jasmine, a hint of woodiness and patchouli - pretty much everything you'd want in a good perfume. It is suitable for all occasions and even though it tends to fade, I can still smell hints of it at the end of a long day.

 *Available at The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora and Holt Renfrew

Flowerbomb by Viktor&Rolf ($132.00 / 50 ml) is a sensual combination of sparkling black currant, night blooming jasmine, peony, pomegranate and vanilla. This is a perfume everyone will love because it smells familiar – like a classic feminine aroma that never goes out of style. The notes are elegant, rich and intoxicating with a hint of sweetness that will compliment any outfit. Don’t let the name deter you. The notes are well balanced so the floral tones are not overpowering.

*Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Sephora,

If you still don't know what to try, Atelier has created a Perfume Stories Box Set ($25.00) that includes 7 summery scents. Whether you’re relaxing poolside or cruising down the coast in your convertible, there is something for everyone. The Collection includes: Pacific Lime, Orange Sanguine, Rose Anonyme, Vanilla, Iris Rebelle and Bois Blonds. The first 2 perfumes smell great - very invigorating and citrusy but I’m not a fan of the others.

*Available at Sephora and Atlier Boutiques

Have a great summer and Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Rejuvenate and Nourish Dry, Aging Skin | Biotherm Life Plankton Elixir and Blue Therapy Accelerated Cream

My family loves Biotherm so when I heard they had formulated a new regenerating elixir I just had to try it! The Life Plankton Collection is my husband’s favorite (he finished his Essence Treatment and started using mine). If you haven’t discovered the benefits of these products let me take you back in time to a land of ancient healing springs deep in the French Pyrenees Mountains.

Millions of years ago revitalizing water was discovered deep within the mountain caves and locals used it to heal injured soldiers and rejuvenate brides before their wedding day. In 1950 the secret was finally revealed to the world and Biotherm successfully harnessed the water’s transformative powers.

Life Plankton (also referred to as “the fountain of youth”) contains 35 nutrients that encourage cell multiplication and renewal so skin appears “born again.” The Elixir ($90.00) is a highly concentrated aquatic complex that visibly improves signs of aging and corrects environmental damage.

To help the formula absorb deeper, I cleanse with my Smart Profile or Mia Smart using the Sonic Exfoliator Brush ($49.00) which works with all Clarisonic Devices. Just pop it on and start buffing away dead skin and roughness to minimize pores, improve cell turnover, enhance radiance and soften.

It also treats dullness, congestion and discoloration with flexible elastomer bristles and an outer ring of textured scrubbers. My face is quite sensitive to exfoliation so I only use the brush once or twice a week for about 60 seconds.

Clarisonic is available at: Shoppers drug Mart, The Bay, Nordstrom, Saks and

After preparing my skin I apply the Elixir as the first step in my routine (kind of like a non-sticky replenishing booster). It absorbs instantly and can be used around the eyes and mouth to smooth fine lines, wrinkles and dry patches. With repeated application, skin will begin to appear firm, plump and healthy. If you have pimples or bumps, it helps soften uneven texture while locking-in moisture so your other products work more efficiently. For me, results are most evident in the morning after a good night’s sleep.

For a dewy glow and even more moisture, layer the Elixir with the Blue Therapy Accelerated Cream ($89.00). The formula is infused with:

*Glacial water

*Alaria Esculenta (an extract derived from brown algae) – Stimulates hyaluronic acid synthesis, reinforces epidermal lipids for long-lasting hydration, preserves skin elasticity, prevents collagen loss, neutralizes inflammation, eliminates free radicals and boosts cell metabolism.

*Life Plankton – Contains amino acids, glucids, lipids and trace elements that revive the skin’s vital functions.

After a long day at work I love coming home, cleansing my face and applying this cool, refreshing gel cream. It melts in effortlessly, smells wonderful (albeit a little strong) and leaves my face feeling nourished, supple and balanced. After a few weeks my complexion is definitely clearer and I’ve experienced less redness, irritation, itching and dryness.

Biotherm is available at Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Rexall, Sephora and online at

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Shoppers Drug Mart 2019 Spring/Summer Collection

This summer I’ve planned a few exciting trips and when the weather warms up, I will be hosting fun patio parties complete with delicious cocktails, great food, fun games and classic movies.

When my friends come over I usually put together cute gift bags loaded with products they will actually use, and this year Shoppers has a great selection of beauty essentials the girls will love!

After the winter we’ve had, I know I’m not the only one who needs a good nail treatment and a fresh coat of polish. Quo by Orly has a variety of cruelty-free, vegan formulas in trendy seasonal shades.

Neutral nails are very popular right now but I prefer bright hues like Dessert Rose – a beautiful pink coral. The Lacquers are creamy, shiny and saturated for superb coverage and durability.

The CC Creme ($12.00) infused with hyaluronic acid has a white tint that brightens yellowing nail beds damaged by improper care, false nail application and frequent manicures. Tough Cookie ($12.00) prevents breakage and promotes strong, healthy growth. When you’re ready to polish again, use the Bonder ($12.00) for durable manis and pedis. It works like double-sided sticky tape with a rubberized formula that improves color adhesion and prolongs wear.

Quo has also released a few travel-friendly eye shadow palettes in sandy summer tones and cool neutrals. The Limited-Edition Desert Rose and Desert Sun Compacts ($18.00 ea) contain 4 simple shades that range from bronze, soft gold, champagne and a pop of yellow or green for contrast. These are handy for creating quick looks but make sure to use primer to enhance pigmentation and wear. A few of the powders can also be used as highlighter.

If you prefer more vibrancy, L’Oreal’s La Petite Palettes ($11.96 ea) are well coordinated. The shadows are bold and smooth with fabulous color payoff and a nice mix of shimmer and matte. Maximalist has a gorgeous range of warm sunset hues that are perfect for date night while Stylist is cool and smokey with a brilliant pop of royal blue.

To help you prep, prime, moisturize and apply makeup like a pro, Shoppers offers a great selection of affordable beauty tools and skincare.

Pixi’s On-The Glow Multi-Use Moisturizer ($24.00) will be a staple in my summer tote. The portable balm can be used on the face, lips, body and hair to nourish and revitalize on-the-go. The formula is enriched with Vitamin D2, antioxidants, ginseng and glycolic acid to renew and soften.

If it’s time for a new makeup sponge (or you’re just too lazy to deep clean your current Beauty Blender), why not give this cute cactus a try?! For just $10 you get 2 small pieces designed with lots of angles and edges that get into hard to reach areas and blend foundation, concealer and powder with ease. Wetting the sponge softens and plumps the material for a smoother finish.

If you prefer to apply makeup with a brush, Quo's Limited-Edition Luxe Buffing Tool ($15.00) is great for contouring and blending liquid formulas without streaks. The bristles are firm yet soft and the large rounded surface gets the job done in half the time.

Don’t forget to lock-in your makeup with a good setting spray, especially when the weather is hot and humid. I’ve been using Prime and Fine by Catrice to minimize pores, moisturize and prolong wear. The liquid isn’t sticky but it does leave behind a supple film and the spray is quite forceful. Make sure to hold the bottle at least 30 cm away if you don’t want your face drenched.

The Cream Lip Stain ($10.00) in soft milky pink is actually quite bright once applied. I don’t know if I can pull off this color but I’m certainly going to try. The consistency is very rich and hydrating with a voluptuous full coverage finish.

Lately I’ve been favoring liquid highlighters because the effect is more natural and when blotted evenly with my beauty blender, I can achieve a seamless finish that catches the light. Nude by Nature’s Beach Glow Highlighter ($21.00) illuminates with a dewy sheen enriched with vitamin C and antioxidants for a little extra protection. The pigment is versatile and buildable (I also use it on my arms and shoulders) plus the radiant gold makes every skin tone look fresh and healthy.

Speaking of protection, don’t forget to stock-up on sunscreen this summer. As the climate heats up and daylight hours are extended, the UV index will also rise. Vichy’s Ideal Soleil Ultra-Fluid Tinted Lotion ($29.00) with SPF 60 effectively shields from UVA/UVB rays with a 100% mineral filter.

I decided to test the tinted sunscreen because the flesh tone pigment usually overshadows white residue. In this case I still notice a light grey film but when blended well and covered with makeup, it is less noticeable. The texture is lightweight and very liquid-y so it spreads easily and a little goes a long way. The non-greasy formula is safe for sensitive skin with 80 minutes of water and sweat resistance. (also available at

My friends and I love a good face mask so when I host my next spa day/girl’s night, I’ll stock-up on a variety of rejuvenating treatments like the antioxidant rich Oh K Turmeric Sheet Mask ($5.99), Life Brand’s Purifying Bubble Mask ($4.99) or Masque Bar’s Rose Gold Foil Sheet ($3.99) for a blast of hydration.

Next time you’re browsing the aisles at Shoppers, make sure to check out some of these great products and get ready for some fun in the sun!
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