Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Beauty of Eczema | Skincare Review

Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis, is a condition characterized by red, itchy, flaky skin and like many ailments, the symptoms and degree of severity varies based on a number of factors. 

I don’t suffer from eczema, but my sister does so I know how uncomfortable the flare-ups can be. The Beauty of Eczema is a vegan brand that promotes mental health awareness and skin positivity based on a holistic approach. Their products are cruelty-free and 97.9% naturally derived from Mango Butter, rich Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Almond Oil and Oat Lipids.
The formulas are gentle and suitable for sensitive skin. They do not cause irritation or allergic reactions from harsh sulphates, dyes, chemicals or fragrance. 

I wanted to try this collection because my skin is quite sensitive during the summer. I am prone to red, itchy heat rashes, sunburn and unexplained allergic reactions. Since I began using this collection, my skin has been less irritated and more hydrated. 

Before I review each item, let’s recap. 

 These products are great for: 
*Sensitive skin 
*Normal to dry skin 
*Extremely dry itchy skin 
*Inflammation and redness 
*Alleviating the symptoms of eczema and other forms of dermatitis 

Let’s start in the shower – where our day begins and ends. The Skin Wash ($23.99) is formulated for the face and body so go ahead and lather up from head-to-toe! The antioxidants and gentle cleansers remove dirt, oil, sweat, makeup residue and impurities without stripping away essential moisture or leaving skin tight and dry. It actually makes my body feel smooth and supple (especially when paired with the Moisturizing Cream) and I don’t have to worry about breakouts.
If you have time for a warm, relaxing bath, the new Bathing Oil ($37.99) and Bath Salts ($25.99) will help melt the stress away and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The Bath Salt has an earthy oat scent – very natural and inviting. It contains a wonderful blend of mineral-rich salt: pink Himalayan blush, Dead Sea and Epsom + a few skin softening oils.
The Bathing Oil is infused with Castor Oil, protein-rich Oak Kernel and Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids to keep skin supple, balanced, moisturized and healthy. When you emerge from the tub, your skin will feel incredible!
Finish your self-care routine by applying a generous amount of the Moisturizing Cream ($31.99), formulated to protect skin’s natural moisture barrier. The healing blend of oat lipids, lush butters and Omega oils soothe, strengthen and replenish without greasiness.
This UK brand is exclusively available at Shoppers Drug Mart and shoppersdrugmart.ca. You can also check out the collection at thebeautyofeczema.com

If you know anyone suffering from eczema, dryness or skin sensitivity, please pass along this information.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Clean Beauty Must-Haves from Shoppers Drug Mart

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about clean beauty. Shopping responsibly is not just another trend. It’s about reducing waste and eliminating some of the harmful substances that enter our lakes, oceans and landfills. 

To help you find amazing brands that are mindful of our planet, Shoppers Drug Mart has initiated the “thoughtful choices” campaign. Today I will be featuring a few sustainable products available in-store and online.
First up we have a summer essential that I will be packing for vacation next week – Garnier’s Green Labs Brightening Serum Cream ($19.99) with broad spectrum SPF 30. The vegan formula is free of mineral oil, parabens, BPA, aluminum, phthalate and dye while the bottle is 100% recyclable. 

Infused with Vitamin C and pineapple, you get the brightening power of a serum with the lasting moisture of a supple cream. According to the description - your skin will look smooth, even and radiant after one week of daily use. I love the fruit scent and non-greasy finish.
I’m a big fan of Live Clean’s hand soap and conditioners so I knew I’d like their vegan Rebalancing Shampoo ($7.99) with organic botanicals and vitamins. The formula is 98% plant derived and free of petrolatum, parabens, SLS, silicone, phthalate, phosphate and dye. The rich lather thoroughly removes build-up at the scalp to balance oily roots and moisturize dry ends.
Covergirl’s Lash Blast Clean Volume Mascara ($10.99) is also formulated without parabens, sulfates and mineral oil. The waterproof vegan pigment is smudge proof and the spindly brush grabs each hair to lift, elongate and volumize.
I reviewed Zero Skincare when the brand launched at Shoppers earlier this season (you can read my full review by clicking HERE). The products are 100% natural, plant-based and cruelty-free. 

The night Cream ($34.99) is rich, deeply nourishing and infused with antioxidants, green tea, shea butter and rejuvenating oils that leave skin soft, supple and renewed.
I have a love-hate relationship with natural deodorants. I appreciate the concept but haven’t found one that really works (if you know what I mean). 

Native is one of the better brands I’ve tested. The Coconut and Vanilla scent smells fantastic and actually moisturizes my skin while keeping me fresh. $18.99 might be a bit pricey for odor protection but the cruelty-free formula does not contain parabens or aluminum.
Burt’s Bees Truly Glowing Gel Cleanser ($16.99) contains Hyaluronic Acid to reset and refresh your skin. The packaging does not specify whether this product is for face, body or both but based on the instructions, I’m guessing face. If I’m not wearing makeup this formula is sufficient but for a deeper clean I prefer something that foams and lathers.
Every year 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced and most of them end up in landfills or oceans. To help reduce that number Colgate has introduced the Whitening Starter Kit ($20.99). It comes with a reusable aluminum handle and one replacement brush head. The spiral bristles and whitening cups polish away stains and when used with whitening toothpaste, your smile will look amazing.
Last but not least we have the Clarins Re-Boost Refreshing Hydrating Cream ($29.00). The formula contains an energizing morning cocktail of fruit extracts, coconut water and a botanical based anti-pollution complex that boosts radiance, protects against environmental assaults, plumps, rebalances, smooths and revives.
For more information, visit shoppersdrugmart.ca. All of the green beauty products are marked with the “healthy choices” label.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Nature Well Body Creams | Anti-Aging and Hydration

In the winter I use body care that is rich and extra moisturizing to combat dry, frigid temperatures but during the summer, I switch to lighter creams. 

NatureWell is an eco-friendly, plant-based, anti-aging brand that targets specific skincare concerns with a variety of clinically tested formulas.
The products are: 
*Soy free 
And they do not contain artificial colors. 

I tested 4 luscious creams from the core collection - formulated for face and body. 

My favorite is one of the simplest formulas – Extra Virgin Coconut MCT (medium chain triglycerides). This supple cream is superfood for your body! The non-greasy, lightly scented formula does not make me feel slick or sweaty in warm weather and there is absolutely no residue. 

Apply morning and night to firm, soften, promote radiance and deeply nourish.
The Retinol Advanced Moisture Cream is the only formula I don’t use if I plan to spend a lot of time outdoors. Retinol reacts to UV so don't forget to apply sunscreen, (especially during the summer).

This multi-action, hydrating formula boosts radiance, elasticity and firmness to improve texture and tone. It also absorbs quickly to alleviate flaky dry skin and helps smooth the look of cellulite.
Hydrolyzed Collagen Intense Moisture contains a potent blend of antioxidants, oils, amino acids, peptides, nutrients and collagen to moisturize, plump, tighten, smooth and refine texture. This cream is great for all skin types including loose rippled skin that needs tightening and toning. It works wonders on the inner thighs, butt, stomach and arms.
My second favorite is the Vitamin C Brightening Moisture Cream. Like the other formulas, it is lightweight, hydrating and non-greasy with anti-aging benefits. It helps brighten and even skin tone on the face and body by fading minor blemishes, scars, hyperpigmentation, discoloration and even dark under eye circles. 

I love the delicious citrus scent and it makes my skin feel super silky! You can also mix and match formulas to target specific skincare concerns.
The creams retails for $18 - $20 at Walmart stores nationwide. You can also visit the website at naturewellbeauty.com.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

How to do Winged Eyeliner | Celopatra Cat Eye Stamp by Lyda Beauty

I love a bold cat eye. Sharp black liner with a nice wing always makes my eyes appear large and dramatic. I use eyeliner every time I go out so creating a sharp, symmetrical wing has become second nature to me. 

Over the years many followers, friends and family members have asked me how to achieve a gorgeous cat eye and the advice I usually give is – practice makes perfect. You’ve heard the saying “never ask a girl with winged eyeliner why she’s late.” Sometimes it just takes patience. 

That being said, the Celpatra Cat Eye Stamp ($24.99) from Lyda Beauty makes life a lot easier, especially when you’re short on time and rushing to get ready. At one end there is a triangular stamp which creates the wing of your dreams and at the other end there is a thin felt liner.
First let’s talk about the formula. The eyeliners are: 

The pigment is safe to use around the eyes and lasts all day without smudging or running. They are also full-coverage and highly saturated so you can wear them all summer (even in humidity).

My go-to shade is Black but the brand has recently released 2 new shades – Green and Brown. There are also 2 stamp sizes available - Bold and Sleek.
*Bold is great for a thick, dramatic, Egyptian-style wing (my personal fave). Although anyone can use it with ease, it seems better suited for people with medium to large eyelids since the triangular stamp is quite large. 

*Sleek is the smaller wing stamp. It is great for everyday wear and works for all eye shapes and sizes. No matter what stamp you choose, you can always tweak and touch-up the liner. 

 How to Use: 

~ Step One: Apply stamp on outer corner of eyelid with the sharpest point facing out.
This step might take a bit of practice at first so I recommend testing the process on blank lids or neutral shadow so you can see what you’re doing. 

Determining the perfect angle for the stamp is the trickiest part but stamping diagonally, with the pointy tip positioned towards the outer corner of your eyebrow usually looks best. Avoid pointing the stamp sharply upwards. 

~ Step Two: Use the eyeliner end to draw a line (as thick or as thin as you like) and connect to the stamp.
If you have trouble using thin felt tip liners or liquid liners in general, practice by drawing the line with a sharpened black eyeliner pencil first (they tend to be easy to manoeuvre) and then use the liquid liner on top of the pencil outline – tracing and fixing as you go. This method usually ensures a straight, neat line for beginners and once you get the hang of it you can skip this. 

When it comes to liquid eyeliner I usually prefer a thin brush applicator with a dipping pot. They don’t dry out as quickly and I can adjust the amount of pigment on the brush. This applicator is quite good. It delivers a precise vivid line but I wish the felt point was more flexible around the eye contour. The stiffness creates a bit of drag but the end result is gorgeous! 

~ Step Three: Fill or shape as desired.
This a great tool to have in your makeup bag, especially now that we have to wear masks and our eyes are the only thing visible and expressive. 

The Celopatra Cat Eye Stamps are available at lydabeauty.com

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Spring 2021 Green Beauty | 7 Brands You Have to Try!

Many people are making the switch to natural beauty brands because they are eco-friendly and better for the environment. My carbon footprint is not perfect but I continuously strive to make changes that will help reduce waste. 

Farleyco Marketing recently sent me a green beauty box that includes some fabulous brands! Many of these products are organic, sustainable, vegan, gluten-free and non-toxic.
The Bamboo Toothbrush ($5.99) from The Humble Co is one of my favorites! Did you know that 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced each year and most of them will end up in oceans or landfills.
This brush is 100% biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free and BPA free. The handle is bamboo and the packaging can be thrown out with organic trash. Proceeds from every Humble purchase goes towards funding oral-care projects that benefit children in need. The toothbrush is available at shophali.com and London Drugs. 

7Th Heaven has created biodegradable sheet masks that are up to 99% natural, vegan and cruelty-free. The 24h Hydration Turmeric Calming Mask is formulated to brighten and fade blemishes. I also received two avocado masks - 1 clay and one sheet. Avocado oil makes my skin feel incredibly soft, supple and hydrated - it's one of my favorites. You can find 7th Heaven at London Drugs, Rexall, Pharmachoice, Jean Coutu and Uniprix.
The Foamie Shampoo and Conditioner Bars ($14.99 ea) smell amazing and cleanse from root to tip! I decided to go with the coconut formula to strengthen, soften, and enhance shine. The bars are 100% plastic-free, vegan and environmentally friendly with NO mineral oil, soap, parabens or silicone. They also come with a handy ribbon so you can hang them up to dry after each use. Foamie is available at shophail.com.
I guess you can tell I really like coconut because I also chose the Inecto Marvellous Moisture Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner. The small, travel size bottles retail for $5.49 each and the organic formula is great for dry, frizzy, damaged hair. The lush ingredients deeply nourish to promote healthy growth, stronger strands and thickness. You can find Inecto at Rexall, Pharma Plus, London Drugs, Guardian IDA and Pharmasave.
I’ve never dyed my hair because it is long, strong, healthy and shiny. If I do decide to change the color I would use something safe like Splat Naturals Semi-Permanent ($24.99). They make fun shades like purple, blue, teal and pink that last up to 30 washes. The formula is vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free and contains no bleach, parabens, sulfates, ammonia of fragrance. To order visit shophali.com.
Last but not least - some goodies from Shoppers Drug Mart. Honest Beauty makes safe, organic products that won’t trigger allergies or cause breakouts. They specialize in plant-derived cruelty-free products with zero toxins. 

The Vitamin C Radiance Serum ($39.99) brightens dull skin with a potent blend of light reflecting pearl, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and of course Vit C. The ingredients work together to help increase skin firmness and create a smooth, glowing, youthful complexion. You can purchase the serum online at Shoppers by clicking HERE or visit honestbeauty.com for more information.
If you’re looking for a gentle daily moisturizer try the Texture and Smoothing Cream ($25.99) from Cocokind. This brand is also plant-powered, gluten-free, sustainable, cruelty-free and affordable! 

The celery superseed complex can be used morning and night to smooth, plump, hydrate, refine, retexturize and brighten. It contains a long list of natural ingredients including: cucumber, sunflower, shea butter, squalane, ginseng, camellia oil and peppermint extract that help maintain a clear, healthy complexion. You can purchase the cream at Shoppers Drug Mart by clicking HERE or visit cocokind.com.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Live Clean Coconut Milk Hair Care

Natural beauty products are becoming quite popular because they are safer for the environment and for our bodies. 

Live Clean is an eco-conscious, plant derived, vegan brand made with organic botanicals. The products do not contain petroleum, parabens, sulfates, silicone, phthalate, phosphate or dye and they are hypoallergenic.
Even before I signed on to collaborate with Live Clean, their hand soap was one of my favorite bathroom essentials. The brand is readily available at most drugstores across Canada and the packaging is biodegradable. 

The Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo ($7.79) is enriched with rice protein, vitamins and apricot oil. It has a light creamy texture that cleanses from root to tip while balancing and strengthening weak stands. I use it frequently without experiencing brittleness, dryness or breakage and it is great for all hair types including curls.
The Coconut Milk Moisturizing Conditioner ($7.70) contains many of the same ingredients minus the lathering components. The texture reminds me of a light lotion – luscious, smooth and great for shower detangling. Use it to co-wash, refresh and revitalize the scalp between wash days or leave it on for few minutes to soften and hydrate parched straggly strands. It provides just enough moisture to keep my curls bouncy and supple without weighing them down. 

If you don’t have time to wash, condition and style, The Live Clean Tropical Coconut Dry Mist Shampoo is a quick fix. It helps absorb excess oil at the roots without leaving behind white residue and I love the tropical scent.
During lockdown many people are working from home, social distancing and not going out as much so there is less need for antiperspirants containing harmful aluminum. When you’re stuck indoors, a gentle deodorant should suffice and Live Clean’s fragrance free stick is 99% natural and clinically tested to minimize odor. It also moisturizes sensitive skin with aloe.
As mentioned, Live Clean is available at drugstores across Canada so make sure to check them out.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Kiehl’s Skincare – Cleanser, Toner and Calming Mask for Sensitive Skin

The weather is finally warming up which means it’s time to replenish dry winter skin and shed your rough outer layers. The products featured in this article focus on gentle cleansing, refining and calming sensitive skin. Let’s get ready for summer!
First up we have the Cannabis Sativa Seed Herbal Cleanser ($35.00) for problem prone skin with visible redness and discomfort. It contains an invigorating blend of green oregano oil and hemp seed to cleanse, purify and balance without stripping away essential moisture. The herbal gel lathers into a rich foam that removes dirt, makeup, pollutants and pore clogging debris while evening skin tone and reducing acne flare-ups.
The Calendula Petal-Infused Calming Mask ($59.00) alleviates discomfort, corrects mild discoloration and hydrates parched skin. Aloe Vera helps soothe, cool and soften while flower extracts smooth and rejuvenate. After just 10 mins my complexion looks, bright, plump, healthy and refreshed.
I don’t use gritty exfoliants on my face so The Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner ($76.00) is just what I’ve been looking for. This dual-action formula is gentle enough for daily use and contains Lipo Hydroxy Acid which lightly buffs away rough skin and dissolves impurities while replenishing the moisture barrier. Skin looks smooth, supple, bright and revitalized without irritation or discomfort. The peel is safe for all skin types including sensitive.
You can find these products at Kiehl’s stores across Canada and online at kiehls.ca

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Mary Kay Clinical Solutions Skincare | Spring/Summer 2021 Beauty

It is never too early to start an anti-aging routine. Preventative care is always more effective than treating the signs once they appear, but no matter what your age or skin type, Mary Kay’s new Clinical Solutions will help you fight aging head-on.
Thanks to good genes or good skincare, I don’t have visible signs of aging (lines, wrinkles, crowsfeet etc) and I’d like to keep it that way with products that actually work. 

The Retinol 0.5 Serum ($85.00) stimulates surface cell renewal and supports collagen and elastin. It also treats wrinkles, loss of facial firmness, discoloration and fine lines so your profile appears smooth, lifted and toned. One pea-size pump before bed is all it takes to start seeing results. It absorbs instantly with no residue and I love the radiant sheen.
Pair the serum with the Calm + Restore Facial Milk ($60.00) formulated for retinol treated skin. It contains a blend of coconut, jojoba, safflower, olive oil and fatty acids that nourish, hydrate and soothe should you experience any sensitivity. You can also buy these products as a set for $135.00 (a savings of $10). 

Keep in mind that your skin may be more reactive to UV while using a retinol treatment so it is important to apply sunscreen before going out. 

The MK Limited-Edition Lip Kits ($32.00 ea) are available in two exclusive new shades – Nude and Pink. They come with a full-size lipstick and matching lip liner that compliment a wide variety of skin tones.
The Pink-fuchsia is perfect for summer! It is bright, bold and vibrant with a creamy texture and intense full-coverage saturation. I love the supple formula! The Nude is light and neutral with a pretty sheen. 

Mary Kay has some of the cutest accessories and the Special-Edition Travel Color Bag ($18.00) is no exception. It is great for road trips and I love that you can see all the goodies inside. I use it for makeup, skincare and sometimes jewelry.
The Limited-Edition If You Believe Eau de Toilette is a steal for just $39.00 and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, it makes a wonderful gift! The main accords are bergamot, pink muglet and sandalwood oil also known as lily of the valley. The spicy, fruity, floral and woodsy notes create a unique, feminine scent.
To help you get your glow on MK has released a Special-Edition Subtle Tanning Lotion ($22.00). The lightweight, non-greasy cream glides on evenly without rubbing off or staining. I don’t need or use self-tanner but if you do, this may be a good option.
The Replenishing After-Sun Gel ($18.00) will be in my beach and travel bag all season...even if we can only go on road trips during the pandemic. It contains a soothing blend of botanicals and antioxidants that moisturize, cool and refresh parched skin after a long day in the sun. I prefer using products like this during warmer months because they are lightweight and don’t make me sweaty. 

You can find all these items and more at marykay.ca

Monday, March 29, 2021

Bolinhos Doces Mae E Filha – Portuguese Bakery

I few years ago I was lounging on beautiful beaches in the Algarve and touring the vibrant city of Lisbon. Portugal has so much to offer – alluring culture, stunning castles, intriguing history and of course – delicious food!
When I want to indulge in yummy Portuguese desserts here in Toronto, I contact Bolinhos Doces Mae E Filha. Their menu features a wide variety of sumptuous cakes and sweet pastries created from traditional family recipes.
The Chocolate Pudding Cake is delectable! The white layer on the top tastes like creamy vanilla pudding and the moist chocolate base is soaked in decadent syrup.
Molotof with Egg Cream has a unique texture that reminds me of Fuwa Fuwa – Japanese Pancakes. It is extremely light and fluffy – like eating a sweet airy cloud that melts in your mouth.
Bolo de Bolacha (Maria Cookie Cake) is my favorite! The light cream is covered in a blanket of toasted almonds and the layered center has a moist tiramisu texture.
The almond roll with sweet custard and the Portuguese Popovers are amazing! I enjoy them with coffee in the morning.
My family absolutely loves these desserts and they are perfect for celebrating special occasions.
For orders and inquiries DM @bolinhosdoces_maeefilha on Instagram.
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