Monday, August 14, 2017

L’Occitane Verbena Collection & NEW Peony Pod Masks

During the summer I prefer to use refreshing fragrances and lightweight body products that deeply nourish and revive my skin after warm, relaxing days in the sun. L’Occitane has always been one of my first choices when it comes to rejuvenating formulas infused with amazing ingredients and the newest products are perfect for the season.


The Verbena Collection is infused with a lemony-fresh, organic herb from Provence that invigorates the senses. The intoxicating blend does not smell like a typical fragrance, laden with heavy perfume notes. Instead, it reminds me of a citrus fruit gourmand with sparkling ingredients that give off a faint, summery scent, like a delicious lemonade stand – juicy and enticing. The 100 ml bottle retails for $65.00.


This fabulous aroma is also available as a Body Frappe - a light, moisturizing cream infused with rich emollients that soften, smooth and eradicate dryness. The silky formula feels amazing when applied after a cool shower and you can keep it in the fridge for an intense ice-cube effect and instant relief on sweltering days. It absorbs quickly with no greasy residue and helps replenish skin that has been exposed to UV. The cream retails for $40.00.


Vacation skin is something I battle with all summer. After long, drying flights, environmental assaults and even reactions to sunscreen or foreign pollutants, my skin is often in need of hydration and nutrients. The new Peony Pod Masks ($8.00 ea) are great for holiday recuperation and weekly treatments.
*The Flash Moisture Mask leaves skin plump, supple and quenched for 24 hours while healing dry areas and alleviating sunburn.
*The Overnight Perfecting Mask (my personal fave) is a rich gel that locks in moisture and vitamins to boost brightness, tighten and revitalize as you get your beauty rest.
*The Purifying Minute Mask has a clay-like texture that helps eliminate excess oil and impurities for smaller pores and clear, matte skin that is soft and velvety.


I spend a lot of time in makeup but I always remove it properly to prevent clogged pores and blemishes. The Peony Petal Cleansing Oil ($40.00) is infused with real petals and glides luxuriously over the skin to remove build-up, dirt, sebum and makeup with lush, moisturizing oils. I usually apply it to a cleansing cloth and gently wipe my face prior to using a foaming cleanser.


These products are available at L’Occitane Boutiques and online at loccitane.ca

Friday, August 11, 2017

Dior 2017 Fall Collection - Review & Swatches

2017 seems to be flying by in a blur of exotic vacations, stylish events and amazing beauty launches and it’s already time to start thinking about fall trends. Believe it or not, September is just around the corner and I’m excited to see what vivacious colors our favorite brands have in store for us this year.

Today I’ll be featuring Dior’s elegant Fall Collection and if these products are any indication of what we can expect next season, autumn is going to be quite fashionable!


The Paradoxical Light 5 Couleurs Eye Shadow Palettes ($72.00 ea) show off the spectacular contrast between deep mattes and radiant shimmer - boasting luxurious textures that glide on beautifully for effortless blending. When I think of gorgeous fall shades, these are exactly the type of pigments that comes to mind – bold blues, sparking highlights and rich browns that look mesmerizing against radiant bronze and gold.


The reformulation of these shadows yields even more color payoff and intensity for buildable coverage and a silky texture that doesn’t crease or fade. The vivid colors are expertly matched to create the most eye-catching looks, whether you prefer something light and fresh for day wear or deep and smoldering for a glamorous night out.

Magnetize contains some of my favorite hues for creating the perfect smokey eye. The sultry navy looks exquisite with the silvery-grays, especially the center shade which is a brilliant combination of icy blues.


Hypnotize features velvety matte brown and lustrous shimmer with tones that flatter all complexions. The gold is sheer and glittery for a subtle wash of sparkle but the other shades offer more saturation with the ability to be intensified and layered.


Swatches left to right: Metalizer Creme Shadows, Magnetize Palette, Hypnotize Palette.

The new Rouge Dior Lipsticks ($36.00) are available in 5 classic fall shades including beige, metallic, wine-red and rosy brown. 781 Enigmatic is my favorite - the deep berry-red looks amazing with the brown and gold in the Hypnotize Palette and the moisturizing satin finish is light, nourishing and comfortable with a pretty sheen. 996 Eccentric reminds me of milk chocolate – it is a fabulous nude to balance the effect of vivid colors. The collection also includes lip liners that pair beautifully with these stylish hues.


The Metalizer Eyes & Lip Crème Shadow ($32.00) is the latest hybrid product from the house of Dior. The quick drying metal-effects pigment leaves a veil of weightless chrome color on the eyelids that lasts up-to 12 hours. I recommend shaking the squeeze tubes as the formula tends to separate and the color can be applied to the eyes or lips with a finger or brush. Since the creams dry down into the skin, make sure you are primed and moisturized before application for smooth results. 528 Platine Fusion is a lustrous champagne with a touch of pale pink and 678 Bronze Tension is deep and shimmery (see swatch photo).


This collection is available at Dior counters nationwide including Sephora and Hudson's Bay

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask Review

Utilizing blue light therapy to treat acne is not a new concept but recently several brands have made this treatment more accessible by creating safe, effective devices that you can use at home. Neutrogena has recently launched the Light Therapy Mask ($45.00) with the same technology used by Dermatologists to reduce the severity and reoccurrence of breakouts.


The kit comes with the mask and activator which works like a remote control to start the cycle. The activator is set for a total of 30 treatments which displays on a small screen to let you know how many you have left and how many you’ve used. When the counter reaches 0 you must purchase another remote ($19.97) to continue using the mask (it is not rechargeable). Unfortunately you cannot pause the treatment without losing a complete cycle, the counter will still eliminate one therapy session.


Each treatment session is 10 minutes long and the mask comes with built-in glasses to protect the eyes. The lights inside the mask are quite bright so be careful if you are prone to light sensitivity. Once I start the cycle, the warmth from the small bulbs feel soothing and make my skin tingle slightly. There is no sensation of pain or discomfort aside from the sharp edges of the glasses and I experienced no irritation. 


The therapy is quite gentle but there aren’t any lights towards the upper cheek area on the far right and left sides of the mask, they are all concentrated on the forehead and below the nose to target the middle portion of the face. Since light travels, the mask seems to provide enough coverage to thoroughly illuminate these blind-spots.


The blue light penetrates the skin to eliminate acne causing bacteria just below the surface while the red light reduces inflammation to calm and diminish redness. Overtime, skin appears smoother with less irritation and pimples are reduced in size and severity. My blemishes also seem to clear up quicker with less scarring and discomfort. 


The blue light therapy works best when combined with other topical treatments that help fight breakouts as you sleep or go about your daily activities. Neutrogena also created the Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Solution Kit ($24.99) to speed up healing and recovery. The box comes with a 3 step system:
*Step 1: Acne Cleanser - to reduce the size, redness and number of breakouts by washing out bacteria and impurities that clog pores.
*Step 2: Treat with the Daily Leave-On Mask – an invisible treatment that zaps stubborn zits day and night.
*Step 3: Moisturize with the Oil-Free Cream which reduces redness and excess oil with a light, water-based formula safe for sensitive skin.


Neutrogena is available at grocery and drugstores nationwide

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

NEW Garnier Fructis Super Fruits - Super Hair Conditioners & Leave-ins

Before Garnier poured the new Super Fruits paraben-free hair care into their colorful packaging, I tested press samples of the shampoos in cute, unmarked smoothie bottles. The brand was gathering reviews and first impressions but what I really wanted to know was how good the conditioners are. Having long hair can be a lot of work and if you use heat styling tools, moisturizing products are essential for maintaining strength, shine and softness.

Not only am I obsessed with these delicious fruity scents (seriously, I can’t stop smelling my hair) I’m also impressed with the reformulation and new blends. Each collection is infused with protein, vitamins and a specific fruit extract to target different hair types and concerns.


Butter Rich is one of my favorite collections - formulated to strengthen and quench dry, brittle strands for revival and replenishment. The formula is the richest in the range, infused with Coconut, Jojoba and Macadamia oils that cling to each strand and deeply moisturize. The Butter Cream Leave-In is thick, fragrant and hydrating. You may not want to use too much if you have thin hair that is easily weighed down but for my thick tresses, this stuff works! I apply it to damp hair and use it to refresh and shape my curls for bounce, softness and body.


Moisture Lock is ideal for recuperating from fun in the sun, pool chlorine, hair dye and daily environmental assaults. Enriched with Cactus Extract - the conditioner fortifies, softens and hydrates for 48 hours. The 10-in-1 Leave-In Detangler smells so good that I use it to fragrance my hair and revive my curls throughout the day. It also nourishes dry strands, boosts shine, tames frizz, protects from heat damage and improves manageability with no stickiness.


The Damage Eraser Collection (infused with Marula Oil) has been around for awhile but now the formula is silicone and paraben free. I apply a generous amount to my lengths (focusing on my ends), detangle and then pin my hair up while showering to let the formula sink in and work its magic. The conditioner locks-in moisture to help repair damage without weight and the line also includes the Liquid Strength Treatment with protein to resurrect weak, lackluster hair.


The other conditioners include:
*Color Shield (with Acai Berry and UV filters) – Maintains the vibrancy of hair color for up-to 8 weeks with sun protection.
*Full & Plush (with Pomegranate) – For thickening, shine and softness.
*Clean & Fresh (with Grapefruit) – Refreshes and energizes dull hair.
 *Grow Strong (with Apple Extract and Ceramide) – Fortifies weak, limp hair and brings it back to life!


Many of these conditioners are great for detangling, quick moisture treatments and daily co-washing to refresh the hair and scalp which is why I always keep one in my shower. They retail for just a few dollars each at grocery and drugstores nationwide. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Summer Accessories & Jewelry

Every summer I spruce-up my wardrobe and donate the clothes I no longer wear. I also look for trendy new accessories to compliment my outfits and this year I found some cute pieces!

My Pandora charm bracelet holds some beautiful keepsake pendants that remind me of special events and exotic trips around the world but for everyday wear or formal events I prefer bangles. The Radiant Hearts of Pandora in bright pink ($95.00) is reversible and features sparkling stones on one side and a solid pink band on the other. These bracelets are great for stacking and creating pretty multicolored combos to show-off your personal style.


The Open Bangle ($140) with cubic zirconium end caps is simple yet elegant and comes with 2 stoppers if you’d like to add your favorite charms. To see more beautiful jewelry from Pandora visit the website by clicking HERE.


While browsing the shops on Clifton Hill in Niagara Falls Canada this summer, I picked up these beautiful Native Indian style earrings - fashioned after Dream Catchers. The turquoise stones and multicolored, woven fabric looks stunning against the skin. I also like that they aren't identical.


The Mark Street Party Bangle ($28.00) caught my eye because of its unique design. The gold colored cuff is thick and beautifully embellished with delicate, royal blue fabric entwined with sparking glass stones. The eye-catching chains that dangle from the wrist give this piece an edgy look which contrasts nicely with the glittering jewels.



The Leaf You Alone 3 Piece Set ($19.00) from Avon comes with an antique gold tone necklace, bracelet and matching earrings. I love how intricate and feminine the bracelet looks on the wrist and the necklace comes with an extender if you’d like more length.



The Enchanting Tear Drop Bracelet ($14.99) is available in gold and silver but they look even more glamorous together and the pretty stones shimmer radiantly in the light.


Owls have been very popular recently and this antiqued gold tone necklace stands out beautifully when placed over solid colors like black, pink, or green. You can also wear the pendant as a broach! It retails for $19.99.


 Avon is available at avon.ca or through independent consultants

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Brush Bar Review - How to Dry Makeup Brushes

We all know how important it is to disinfect and deep clean our makeup brushes to prevent bacteria build-up and maintain healthy skin but the task can be tedious with wet brushes strewn everywhere. When you do make time to give your tools a bath, drying them properly helps prolong their lifespan and preserve the bristles for efficient product application. Placing them on their sides doesn’t allow for proper air circulation and drying them bristle-up can loosen the glue and cause shedding.


The Brush Bar is a portable drying rack that takes up just a few inches of counter space and can be placed on any table or flat surface. When closed, it looks like a long makeup palette and comes with a velvet travel/storage bag.


When you open the case, there are 10 metal clips inside that simply flip out and in by tilting the bar back and forth. To use: close the lid, place it on the edge of your counter and slide your brushes into the clips.


The great thing about this bar is that the clips are flexible so they expand to accommodate the size of most brushes (from thick to thin). You do have to make sure the handles are in properly and that the bar is sitting on the counter securely, but it works well and displays your tools beautifully. It would be nice to have a few more color options and cool designs but black does go with everything. The Brush Bar retails for $38.00.



The company also sells the Brush Board ($28.00) to help you scrub and deep clean those bristles. It comes with 6 different textures that you can swirl your brushes over to get in-between the fibers and remove stubborn makeup lodged deep within.


Just add cleanser and water to get rid of all the gunk! The board is easy to rinse clean and you simply lay it out to dry. 


Both these products are sold separately or you can get the set for $55.00. They are available online at thebrushbar.com.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Outdoor Party Ideas & Summer Dinnerware

I’m more of a fall-winter kind of girl because I prefer cool weather but one of my favorite things about summer is backyard barbecues and fun patio parties!


There is nothing better than kicking back with an ice cold beer and enjoying a delicious grilled meal as the warm breeze lulls you into relaxation. My family and friends host parties all season so I’m always looking for new ideas to spruce-up the deck and incorporate vibrant color.


I review a lot of makeup and skincare from Avon but their home department features stunning tableware, decor and kitchen accessories. I recently picked out some beautiful dinning sets to give my deck a splash of trendy color and make every meal a special occasion.


The Floral Melamine Plates are one of my top finds because the bright, cheerful color and eye-catching pattern just screams summer! The set comes with 4 lightweight dinner plates and they make beautiful table accents.


If you are getting these gorgeous plates you might as well complete the set with the matching bowls. Some of the designs are a little misaligned (not sure if it's intentional) but I think the small differences actually make them more interesting and I love the summery motif. I usually set the bowls on top of the plates as guests arrive and because they stand out so well, you don’t need much else to decorate your table.


The Pepper Saver ($5.99) was something I thought would look decorative on the breakfast bar and help preserve my veggies. The website also has grape and raspberry shaped containers which are great for picnics and lunches.


After dinner it’s always polite to offer guests tea or coffee, although sangria is always another option on my deck.


These charming elephant tea mugs were too adorable to pass up and I love the built-in teabag holder in the head.


When I saw the Blossom Bowls I knew they would look fabulous on my table. They are large enough for meals or snacks (especially desserts) and I love that each floral design is a different color. When you aren’t partying, they also make lovely candy bowls and coffee table centerpieces or you can put one on the bedside table in your guestroom to add some pizzazz.


Delicious summer fruit is a must for any outdoor dinner which is why I love the Ceramic Berry Holder ($14.99). It displays your fruit beautifully and adds country-style flare for that fresh from the farm look.


If you’re wondering about any of the other pieces on the table – the cute pineapple table cloth is from Loblaws (on sale for 99 cents) and the beautiful lantern with battery operated candle was a gift from Canadian Tire- it retails for $49.99.


Avon is available online at avon.ca and through independent consultants

*Note: these items are seasonal and only available for a limited time. Check out Avon's home collection for more great finds!
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