10/29/13

8 Steps for More Gorgeous Hair

Unknowingly, I’ve been going through a haircare revamp the past few months. A few tweaks here and there have left me with a great routine that leaves me with more beautiful hair with less damage in less time.

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Given my particular routine may be less applicable for certain hair types, today’s post will share my top 8 ways for revamping your mane.

  1. Invest in the right products. I was always a believer that hair responds better to changing products, so I would go from one premium drugstore brand to another. When I had my hair coloured a few weeks ago, my stylist suggested I use the Essential Repair line by Pureology and I was shocked by the $30/bottle price tag! How can shampoo cost that much?? Does it contain gold particles? I found it for $25/bottle at a small beauty supply store near my place, and had my doubts it would be worth it. While it’s hard to say it’s revamped my hair on its own, I have found my hair to feel healthier, look shinier, and stay cleaner longer. I’m not suggesting you break the bank on your hair products, but recommend being deliberate in choosing the right ones for your hair type and listen to what professionals recommend. Even choosing the right shampoo for your hair texture (fine, thick, curly, etc.) can go a long way in giving you the results you’re looking for.
  2. Treat your hair’s needs. If you’re using product in your hair (dry shampoo, mousse, etc.), you may want to use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove build up and get your hair squeaky clean (more about that here). Those with dry and/or colour treated hair may want to pick up a mask or treatment, too to use on a weekly basis.
  3. Don’t be afraid to use heat… I used to blow dry my hair only once or twice a year, since I figured that using a flat iron and curling wand were already a lot of heat. Now, when my hair is about 90% dry, I spray some volumizing spray at my roots (like AG’s Big Wigg) and blow dry the crown (often with my head upside down to maximize volume) and any damp patches. This gives my hair extra va-va-voom and speeds up the drying process.
  4. …but use it in a targeted way. As I mentioned above, waiting until your hair is mostly dry will help cut down on blow dry damage. Another huge shift for me has been combining my flat iron and curling routine into one. Now, I curl my hair with a curling iron without flat ironing it first. Not only does this cut down on time and reduce another step of heat styling, but it maintains a ton of natural volume and bounce. My hair now has the volume my stylist achieves when blow drying it at the salon.
  5. Use the right hair spray. I love a flexible hold hairspray for my overall style as it provides hold without crunchiness, but use a firm hold hairspray for my roots if I am going to be teasing them.
  6. Perfect your styling routine. I wear my hair wavy or with loose curls about 90% of the time and used to use a clipless wand to achieve this look. While the technique worked relatively well, I found most of the volume to dissipate in a day. I recently watched this YouTube video by MissMaven.com and have adopted her curling technique. It gives me more polished curls, incredible hold, and gorgeous volume. I also love how it uses a more affordable tool, and one that is more fool-proof to use!
  7. Style your hair with a centre part. This way, if you choose to wear it parted in the centre your sides will be symmetrical, and if you part it on the side, you’ll get extra volume at the roots.
  8. Comb through your style with a wide tooth comb. This will help blend the curls/waves and/or polish your look without brushing out the style. You can repeat this throughout the duration of your style too, to add more shine and loosen up your curls/waves if you have them.

I hope those tips help you revamp your haircare routine and give your locks a boost! What is your #1 haircare tip?

10/20/13

3 Ways to Boost Your Makeup-Free Look

Good morning, readers!

Today being a lazy Sunday morning for me, I ran some errands without a stitch of makeup on my face. I love going makeup-free when I can, as it gives me skin time to breathe, not to mention saves me a ton of time. When getting ready this morning, I thought it may be helpful to share three things I am sure to do when going make-up free to look a bit more put together.

1. Wear moisturizer. Many of us apply moisturizer first thing in the morning anyways, but just a reminder to ensure you’re hydrating your skin for the day ahead. A lightweight moisturizer can make the perfect day cream as it works well on its own as well as under makeup (for your dolled up days!) I also love applying a fresh layer of moisturizer before going makeup-free in public as I find it brightens my skin and makes it look more plump and dewy.

2. Apply a lip balm. I am never without lip balm, especially in the cooler months and I love how, like a facial moisturizer, it both has skincare benefits (moisturizes your lips, prevents chapping, contains SPF in many cases) as well as boosts your look. Moisturized lips just look more dewy, dimensional, and fresh. A tinted lip balm can be a nice twist if you’re looking for a hint of colour (BONUS: it can work as a cream blush too! …but now we’re getting back into makeup territory :))

3. Comb through your brows. Unruly brows are never a good look on anyone, but can be forgotten about if you’re just rolling out of bed before heading out. Do a quick brush through with a spooley, and you’re set!

Do you also love going makeup-free? What are your go-to moisturizers?

09/19/13
MAC Strobe Cream and MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

Two Products to Revive Your Complexion

With cooler temperatures a necessary part of fall, it’s easy for skin to lose some of its luminousity and glow. While this often means less oily skin and a minimized need to blot, it can lead to dullness too.

Given this trend, a few weeks ago I went on the hunt for products that would revive the appearance of my skin and be workable with all of my foundations and BB creams. This way, I can dial up the dewiness and brightness of my skin no matter the foundation shade or coverage, or current state of my skin.

Enter MAC Strobe Cream and MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter in Lightboost. This duo has been rocking my makeup routine world and are likely to remain staples in my collection.

MAC Strobe Cream and MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

MAC Strobe Cream and MAC Prep + Prime Highlighter

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09/14/13
ASOS

Fall Transition Piece: The Denim Circle Skirt

Happy Saturday!

I’m back with a fashion post for you today :) I have a few other posts ready to go, so you can expect some new content in the coming week!

Early fall can sometimes be difficult to dress for. The weather is often still warm, but as we get into September, it often no longer seems fitting to wear sundresses and lightweight fabrics. Enter: the denim circle skirt. Following the circle skirt/skater skirt trend of the summer, denim and chambray skirts are popping up in stores everywhere. Part warm weather miniskirt and part fall denim, they are the perfect transition piece for fall.

How to wear it?

  • With crop tops (think floral crops or turtleneck styles)
  • With a basic long-sleeve t-shirt tucked in (ideal for cooler temperatures)
  • With a soft cotton tank and a chunky cardigan layered over it
  • With coloured or patterned tights to make a statement (see my post on my favourite Joe Fresh tights here)
  • With a chambray top tucked in for a denim-on-denim look
  • With a muscle tee for a more edgy, casual look
  • With a collared shirt (think plaid) and a sweater layered on top

Below are some of my favourite picks at every price point.

Girly Chambray Skater Skirt - Forever 21

Forever 21 Girly Chambray Skater Skirt

The Girly Chambray Skater Skirt from Forever 21 comes in three shades: black, dark wash, and light wash, and at only $16.80 CAD a pop, you can buy all three! I like the invisible side zipper as well as the narrow waistband.

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07/30/13
550px-Sharpen-an-Eyeliner-Pencil-Step-3

Beauty Tip Tuesday & Blogging Update

Happy Tuesday, readers!

With the summer heat in full effect, many of our beauty products can get warm and even melty. I find my pencil eyeliners and lipliners don’t tend to hold up nearly as well in the summer, especially when they are exposed to the heat. Today’s tip is an easy one: throw your liner(s) in the freezer for 15 minutes while you are doing the rest of your makeup or getting ready, and see the tip of the liner become more firm, leading to a more precise application. Voila! Just make sure not to forget your makeup in the freezer :)

I also wanted to apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I have had a lot going on and unfortunately the blog has taken a back seat. I have several posts in various stages of completeness, and hope to be back up and running more regularly soon.

Wishing you a beautiful week!

07/13/13
photo - Sat

Spotlight On: Cleansing Oil

People often ask me how to best remove their makeup, particularly waterproof mascara. Having sensitive eyes myself, I found the constant rubbing with eye makeup remover to irritate my eyes even more, and still found myself waking up with the dreaded racoon eyes, mascara smudged under them.

About a year ago I started hearing more about cleansing oils and decided to investigate. Supposedly suitable for all skin types, cleansing oil is a highly effective way of removing even the most stubborn makeup quickly and painlessly. To use, take one pump of oil and massage it into your face, around your eyes, even at your lash line and on your eyelashes, moving in circular motions to work the product in. Wash off with a wash cloth saturated with warm water. Voila!

Cleansing oil works to break down the makeup, making it easier to remove. It will not leave your skin feeling greasy, nor will it make your skin more oily.

I highly recommend the cleansing oil method given how well it works and how gentle it is. It’s arguably more eco-friendly than makeup remover wipes, travels well, and it excellent value given how little product is required each time. My go-to oil is the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (pictured below) which retails for around $25-30 for a large, 200mL bottle which lasts several months. Other brands, particularly Asian skincare brands have their own versions (think Shu Uemura and Shiseido), but many of these are more expensive. I have yet to find a drugstore cleansing oil, so let me know if you’ve heard of any!

photo - Sat

Have you tried cleansing oil before? What is your go-to makeup remover?

07/1/13
google-to-bloglovin

Follow Me On Bloglovin’!

Two posts in one day?! :)

I wanted to quickly mention that for those of you not aware, Google Reader is shutting down as of today, so if you are looking for new place to see all of the blogs you follow in one feed, you can switch to Bloglovin’. It’s a great tool for browsing the latest posts of your favourite blogs and also has an email function where it will email you a daily overview.

My page can be found here. Just click the blue “Follow” button and you’re done! Easier than applying false eyelashes.

07/1/13
beach,balloon,colorful,photography,balloons,blue-fc33b87a641ce91884b9b2584f1e6759_h

Why Dressing for Your Age May be Overrated

This Saturday, the start of a luxurious three-day weekend was a sunny one in downtown Toronto. With a high of 29 degrees and little wind, I put on some light denim shorts, a white tube top, gold flat sandals, completing the look with a bright pink lip and my the front of my hair pinned back. As I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror before leaving my condo, I realized I probably looked about 16 years old. I have a young looking face as it is, and the fashion, hair, and makeup choices didn’t help matters. Add to that my pink plastic iPhone case (complete with little white bow) and I wasn’t going anywhere without being IDed.

Walking to the subway to begin my errands, I noticed a skateboarder and thought to myself “I haven’t seen anyone skateboarding in a while – how rad!” (let’s pause here and acknowledge the choice of adjective.). I skipped across the street, feeling lighter than usual, and found myself grooving to Hanson’s Mmmbop as I went about my day. Work seemed a million miles away and as I applied my Pink Sugarplum hand sanitizer, I relished in the acknowledgement that summer is finally here.

Whether I realized it or not, dressing fun and youthful made me feel more young and free. It reminded me of summer vacation, a worry-free state of mind, and seemingly endless possibilities. By putting on a pair of youthful shorts and listening to a nostalgic tune, I was in a way transported back to a feeling of optimism and youth.

While I don’t anticipate I’ll be dressing younger on a daily basis, the experience reminded me to integrate youthful cues into my everyday life as a powerful tool in shifting my state of mind. This applies to the other senses too: go grab a popsicle and remember the taste of summers in the park. Wear a perfume you used to adore. See a film from your high school days.

In an environment where every magazine shows us how to dress for our body type, age group, and budget, let’s break some rules. You just might find joy in dressing for your desired state of mind.

06/23/13
IMG_1524

May 2013 Empties (Beauty Products I’ve Used Up)

Happy Sunday! Despite ominous weather forecasts of rain and thunderstorms, it’s been warm and beautiful outside in Toronto today. I hope that wherever you are, the sun in shining too!

I have a few empties to share from the month of May. In case you’re not familiar with this type of post, they feature an overview of beauty products that have been used up, the thinking being that once one has used up a full product, they are in a good position to provide a thorough review and verdict on the product’s quality.

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I finally finished a body wash last month (good thing since I seem to have a few more gallons in my bathroom closet!) This one is the Aveeno Invigorating Body Wash in Grapefruit + Rosemary which is a creamy format that lathers slightly with a light, grapefruit scent. I liked how it wasn’t overly fragrant, left my skin feeling clean, and worked into a bit of a lather, but it didn’t wow me. I am still looking for that body wash that makes me look forward to using it! While I have several more bottles to get through, I’d eventually like to try a mint-scented body wash, like the Korres one. Mint is one of my favourite fragrances/tastes, and I imagine it would be a refreshing treat in the shower.

A

Aveeno Invigorating Body Wash in Grapefruit + Rosemary

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06/17/13
Up Close

Spotlight On: Shellac Polish

Over the past few years, the shellac polish trend has been gaining steam, becoming a popular alternative to the traditional mani/pedi. I recently had a shellac mani done and was incredibly impressed, so much so that I was inspired to write this post!

How it works:

  • Nails are prepared the same way they would be for a traditional manicure (soaked, filed, buffed, etc.)
  • A special shellac base coat is applied to nails, followed by two coats of shellac polish and a shellac top coat. Nails are dried between coats under a UV lamp that dries them in roughly 30 seconds.
  • When the top coat is done and set under the UV lap, the nail surface is wiped with a soft cloth and alcohol and the manicure is complete.

The pros:

  • A chip-free manicure for up to 2 weeks.
  • Rich colour and texture – polish is thicker than normal polish so it tends to have a more opaque, gel-like appearance.
  • No drying time – walk out of the nail salon minutes after the top coat is applied. BONUS: this is ideal for pedicures in the winter when you don’t want to wait forever for your toes to dry before applying socks/shoes!

The cons:

  • Once your polish starts to chip, it can tear off parts of your nail surface, leaving your nails weaker and uneven. Your best bet is to have your mani removed at a salon, but this is at a cost (both time and financial). If you have the time and patience, you can remove it at home: follow these instructions and use a 100% acetone solution.
  • Shellac costs more than traditional polish applications. At the very affordable salon near me, a shellac manicure is $32, the same cost as a mani/pedi.
  • It is challenging to DIY – most shellac manufacturers only sell to licensed professionals, though select at-home kits are available.

Below are some pictures of my recent manicure using CND’s Cake Pop shade:

Fresh Manicure!

Fresh manicure!

Up Close

Up close

Two weeks in - you can see the growth!

Two weeks in – you can see the growth!

Have you tried shellac?