Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Zāzen LCD Touch Screen Ionic Professional Hairdryer Review

I was one of those people who thought hairdryers were all created equally. You turn them on, they blast out hot air and you style away...pretty simple right? Wrong!

Recently I’ve been testing the sleek, technologically savvy Zāzen Ionic Hairdryer and I came to realize that air flow and performance differentiation among dryers does exist! I guess I’ve been living under a rock but this advanced styling tool makes my cheap old dryer seem completely inferior and sadly ineffective.

Now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve been wasting time laboriously drying my hair with a device that wasn’t meeting my needs, it’s time to move on to superior quality. This professional dryer is incredibly powerful yet easy to use, featuring LCD technology that provides ultimate temperature and airflow control at the touch of a button!

Until now I hadn’t contemplated the benefits of being able to adjust the temperate levels on my dryer but it is very useful for customizing your styling needs. Using the (+) and (-) symbols on the handle allows you to go from moderate to high heat and you can also adjust the cool air setting up or down. Pressing the (M) button switches between temperature control and flow intensity, so you can set the air to blast low or strong depending on your needs. While in hot mode the LCD screen lights up orange and in cool mode it turns blue. The dyer also locks your settings after 5 seconds to prevent accidental changes.

Because the air flow is so powerful and the heat setting can be adjusted high enough to efficiently rid the hair of all moisture, blow drying requires minimal work with less arm fatigue and it cuts my styling time in half! I no longer need those sprays and creams designed to speed up the process and the even air circulation and effective heat intensity works quickly on my long, thick hair. If you have thinner hair, simply adjust the hot or cool settings to a lower level.

There is nothing I hate more than spending a long time straightening my hair and then having it get wet in the shower or frizz-up on a humid day. For touch-ups and quick fixes I also use the dryer on areas that need to be redone or straightened instead of using my flat iron which tends to cause dryness, flatness and split ends. Simply section your hair, and using a good brush (I prefer something that maintains tautness), run it through the lengths of your hair while applying heat. It’s still important to use a heat protectant prior to blow drying and I like to follow up with a light, nourishing serum.

I also use the dryer to enhance my deep conditioners. Once the treatment is applied I pop on a plastic shower cap (the clear disposable kind works well) and using a low to medium heat setting I pass the air over the cap to heat up the formula and increase absorption. This method makes my hair extra soft, moisturized and healthy!

Since the dryer does produce such hot, dry air it actually reduces the amount of direct heat I need to apply with my flat iron thus reducing thermal damage and long straightening sessions. On waves and tight curls, it loosens and smooths the hair pattern which equals less work for you and your tools. If you want to enhance your curls rather than loosen them, the large diffuser creates volume, bounce and body. The dryer also works wonders on those unruly hairs around the face for a sleek, neat finish and longer lasting results.

The dryer is lightweight with a non-slip ergonomic design and extra long power cord. It comes with 2 diffuser attachments and I like the deep navy color.

Whether you have long curly hair or short straight hair this dryer is suitable for all hair types and when used with the right products the results are sleek and shiny!

The dryer retails for $216.95 but you can get it on sale at Trade Secrets for $149.95 and now until June 24th when you spend $55 or more you get a free bottle of Sexy Hair Powder Play, valued at $22.00!

Monday, May 30, 2016

THEFACESHOP White Seed Brightening Serum Review

I am happy to report that I am totally hooked on THEFACESHOP! This hip little store makes it easy access trendy Korean beauty products right here in Canada and I love that they utilize the leading, skin transforming ingredients. Korean skincare has been taking the North America beauty scene by storm and recently my sister even ordered me some fabulous new face masks for replenishing the complexion. Today I’ll be talking about boosting radiance for fresh, vibrant skin!

Dullness may be understandable in the winter when many of us hibernate and avoid the cold but by summer its time to revive your skin and regain that healthy glow. The brightening serum is formulated with White Lupin Seed and Daisy Flower extract to enhance luminosity and promote clear, silky skin.

I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and although it works slowly I do see minor changes in how even, fresh and smooth my skin appears. I usually apply the serum before bed, focusing on discoloration and blemished areas but it does work under makeup since there is no greasiness or residue. The consistency is light, cool and water based so it feels soothing and offers a boost of hydration to treat dry areas without irritation.

This is not a lightening product that will alter the color of your skin. Instead in works with your natural pigmentation to promote an even finish and beautiful luster. Like any brightening product repeated application yields best results so you may have to test it out for a few months to notice visible improvements. Right after my Caribbean vacation it helped me recover from tanning that deepened my natural complexion and undid some of the UV and environmental effects that tainted my skin. It also works well layered under moisturizer if you prefer extra hydration.

The serum retails for $40.00 and you can pick it up at THEFACESHOP and online by clicking HERE

Friday, May 20, 2016

Clarins 2016 Summer Makeup Collection Review

I don’t about you, but after ice pellets rained down on Toronto in the middle of May I’m ready to get my summer started with some beach lounging, fun in the sun and island hopping! Tonight I’ll be jetting off to Miami (my home away from home) to hit up a few of my favorite shopping sites and restaurants before heading to beautiful Turks & Caicos for my next press trip! That’s right, aside from the editing and blogging I also review and explore some of the most sought after vacation destinations in the world...did I mention I love my job!

To help me find my summer groove, I’m getting primped and prepped with Clarin’s Summer Essentials Collection featuring a variety of products to keep my skin glowing and my makeup intact! I’m going to start with the swoon worthy Bronzing & Blush Compact because the sun motif and amber case is stunning! This multipurpose powder consists of two bronze hues to create a beautiful sunkissed effect, a golden shimmer wedge to highlight + illuminate and a light peach center for a soft touch of summery blush.

This luxurious, gentle formula is enriched with nourishing plant ingredients suitable for sensitive skin and Clarins anti-pollution complex to protect against irritants. The texture is ultra silky, soft and smooth - designed for seamless blending and light contouring. Although the soft browns don’t provide deep sculpting, they do create shape and dimension for a warm complexion. The powder retails for $42.00 but since it is limited edition, I suggest getting yours before it’s gone!

For a beautiful metallic look the Shimmer Waterproof Eye Shadows are fabulous! There are 4 shades available that are all very bronzy and radiant. The, lush, velvety blend is infused with brilliant pearl pigments and conditioning orange flower to support delicate skin. Initially the formula applies very creamy which allows you to blend or layer and as you do, the pigments transform into a powder. Once dry, they stay put all day with lacquer-like durability.

The shades I have are ~ Golden Peach which has a pretty champagne undertone with medium coverage and Golden Sand - with a bronze base and sheer finish. If you have issues with your eye makeup fading or smudging due to humidity, sweat and heat then these are a great option and despite the limited shade selection there is a color for every complexion. The shadows retail for $24.00 each and are also limited edition.

The last step in makeup application during the summer months should always be a good setting spray and the Fix Make-Up Mist is elegant and refreshing! The lightweight formula consists of aloe to soothe, grapefruit extract and organic rose water to create a feeling of well being. On a sweltering day this light, invigorating spray is cool and calming and along with locking in your makeup and providing great hold it also keeps skin moisturized and protected with the same anti-pollution benefits we all love!

Unlike some of my other setting products, this one doesn’t leave behind water droplets or make my skin oily, sticky or stiff. The mist also enhances the brightness of makeup and reduces the need for frequent touch-ups. It retails for $30.00.

Whether you like to bob around in the pool, embrace the great outdoors on a sweaty day or you suffer from runny eyes and summer allergies we all recognize the importance of mascara that doesn’t bleed or leave behind a dark mess. The Double Fix formula is the ideal solution for all mascaras that let you down at the slightest drop of water. When used alone this invisible gel conditions lashes for enhanced shine and natural curl and layered over your favorite mascaras it provides water resistant, sweat-proof wear! Now you don’t have to be scared of all those formulas that smudge and run! This baby summer-proofs all your lash enhancing, volumizing mascaras and it can also be used to tame the brows and keep unruly hairs in place! It retails for $25.00.

One of our favorite Clarins products just got a new beachy makeover! The Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector is a great way to keep your pout soft and supple plus the delicious candy flavored gel enriched with nourishing shea deeply moisturizes parched skin. This delectable formula smooths, repairs and protects and the translucent, glossy finish makes lips appear lusciously full! The Lip Perfector is limited edition and retails for $20.00.

Last but not least is a product that no one should go without this season - sunscreen! Unlike traditional formulas this spray also supports healthy skin with a multi-filter complex containing olive, baobab and senna extracts for increased protection from premature aging, wrinkles and dark spots. The waterproof, sweat resistant lotion has SPF 20 with UVA/UVB (moderate protection), suitable for those who tan easily. The texture is milky and light so instead of feeling greasy and sticky it makes my skin silky and soft! The sunscreen retails for $36.00.

You can find all these fabulous products in department stores, pharmacies and on clains.ca

Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to Care For Your Skin While Traveling: Clarisonic Mia Fit Review

As many of you know I love to travel but sometimes all that globetrotting takes a toll on my skin. I board the plane with my hair done, makeup intact and a fresh, healthy complexion but after hours in- flight, I hit the tarmac looking like a hot mess! The dry airplane air causes excess oil production and when you factor in jet lag, lack of sleep, pore clogging foundation and new environmental aggressors what you get is irritated, blemished skin. My worst flare-up yet was when I went to Hawaii. My skin reacted so terribly that I had to take my vacation cleansing routine to the next level and that’s where the new Clarisonic Mia Fit comes in!

The Mia Fit was designed with active people in mind and comes in 3 pretty shades with 2 speed settings for customization. The smaller size is perfect for travel and slips into a gym bag for a quick cleansing session post workout. Like the original, the Fit delivers powerful sonic vibrations to remove dirt, sweat, oil and heavy makeup for a deep cleansing experience like no other. For long summer days spent soaking up the sun and layered in thick sunscreen, this device keeps skin even and pores clear.

Although the Mia Fit is not meant for harsh, vigorous exfoliation, it does help slough away dead surface cells for smooth polished looking skin. It also cleans 6X better than hands alone and enhances the absorption and efficiency of creams, serums and oils allowing skin to glow and thrive!

The Radiance Brush Head is soft, non-abrasive (suitable for sensitive skin) and designed with dense, non-porous bristles that repel bacteria. You can also adjust the intensity by simply pressing lighter or harder and it removes 99% of micro pollution particles to help prevent breakouts, irritation and dullness.

The device comes with a charger base which also doubles as a holder but the built-in battery cannot be replaced and requires 18 hours of charging time. It is recommended that you change the brush every 3 months but I find that replacement time is relative to how much you use it.

When I’m jet setting I don’t have much time for my usual beauty routine so this tool helps immensely! The Fit is lightweight and waterproof so you can stand it up in the shower for easy access. I begin by gently removing my makeup and then rinsing the brush and my face (the wetter the better). I prefer applying my foaming cleanser directly on the bristles and simply moving it in circular motions to spread the lather. The intense vibrations do most of the work for you and the device beeps to indicate when it’s time to move onto another area of the face. After cleansing I usually use a sheet mask which is convenient for travel and I end with my serums and creams.

After using the Mia Fit my skin feels incredibly soft, silky, supple, smooth and fresh so you can bet I'll be taking it when I head to Turks & Caicos in a couple days. It greatly improves the cleansing process including my skin’s tone, texture and resiliency to travel flare-ups. My makeup application looks flawless and it has even reduced the occasional pimples and heat rash I experience while away.

If you crave clean, radiant skin and need a handy little tool that works with your busy schedule then this device is a great option! The Mia Fit retails for $199.00 and the Sonic Radiance Brush is $30.00. You can find Clarisonic at department stores, Sephora and online by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Essence Cosmetics Sheer and Shine Lipstick Review

When summer hits many of us like to freshen up our makeup with lightweight formulas and brighter shades. I’m all for a bold lip but sometimes I just want to grab something quickly and glide it on for a simple wash of color without sacrificing moisture. The new Sheer & Shine Lipsticks by Essence allows you to do just that plus they deliver a coat of plush, pouty stain.

The tubes are pretty and bright which always reels me in and there are 9 shades available that range from nude, red, berry, pink and brown. The translucent caps are designed to depict the color inside so you can grab your favorites without having to open them.

The finishes are all very shiny without being gloopy and some shades contain a faint dusting of shimmer. The lightweight formula is a gloss-balm hybrid that provides decent moisture and a radiant finish.

Although most hues appear quite bold and bright the pigmentation is minimal. If you’re looking for tinted lip balms then you may like these but some shades in same color spectrum appear very similar once applied. For more color intensity, you can layer heavier but the lipsticks were formulated to be tame.

For a light stain these do provide a natural pop of color and a healthy tint while alleviating parched lips. I like that the texture clings to skin which makes them last a bit longer without stickiness. The shades that contain subtle shimmer aren’t chunky or uncomfortable. They provide extra luminosity to make lips glisten beautifully.

Initially I didn't care for the scent very much because underneath the sweetness I detect an aroma that (in my opinion) smells a tad musty. This smell does seem to dissipate and improve as you use them and more of the vanilla eventually comes through.

Will I reach for these when I need a tinted balm...maybe, but some of the lighter shades like 06 Frosted and 10 My First Love just didn’t do it for me. These two are so light that they create a white cast on my lips which isn’t cute. That being said there are some pretty hues in the collection including - 03 BFF, 07 Sparkling Miracle, 08 Be Happy and 13 Act Like a Princess which have universally flattering berry and red undertones. If I had to pick just one I’d go with number 13 as it has the brightest summery finish. 

The lipsticks retails for $3.49 each and you can find Essence at Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Ulta (in the U.S.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

New From L’Occitane ~ Néroli Orchidée, Violette Rose de Mai and Pivoine Sublime

It’s been a while since I’ve browsed L’Occitane’s boutique so today I’m sharing a few floral inspired blends that I just can’t get enough of! From incredible moisture to intoxicating aromas, I am totally smitten with L’Occitane’s lightweight, natural extracts that remind of tropical gardens and warm summer breeze.

I couldn’t wait to share the Violette Rose de Mai Eau de Toilette because it has become one of my go-to scents! When the package first arrived the cap was a bit loose and some liquid seeped out. For days my dining room smelled incredible and I started using the perfume everyday!

Oddly enough, rose isn’t an aroma I usually favor which is why my obsession with this scent is so unexpected. Unlike many rose infused products, this fragrance is not overbearingly floral. There are hints of petal extract but the heart of the aroma also combines violet and geranium balanced with a delectable blend of fruity notes (bergamot, mandarin, cassis, rhubarb and orange). The base is soft, creamy and elegant combining woody notes of sandalwood and warm musk that work exceptionally well with natural body chemistry. The deeper notes soften the summery floral tones beautifully, resulting in a scent that is mild, whimsical and romantic.

This irresistible fragrance is ideal for daytime but I’ve also been spritzing it on before my evening soirees. I am so taken with this perfume that if it came as a room spray, body wash, candle or car deodorizer I would surround myself with it! Even if you aren’t sold on rose I recommend testing this out at the store because you may end up loving it too! The fragrance retails for $75.00.

Pivoine translates to peony which seems to be a reoccurring ingredient in many new skincare lines this summer. Since I wear heavy, pore clogging makeup that needs to be thoroughly removed before bed, a good toner is an essential part of my skincare routine. Toners are a great way to abolish the last traces of stubborn, oily foundation and prepare the face and neck to absorb serums and creams. Nowadays many brands have abandoned the drying alcohol infused formulas of the past and moved on to better ingredients. This Perfecting toner is one of the most moisturizing blends to ever grace my face! It gently cleanses, smooths, and reduces pore size so skin is soft, supple and refreshed! It retails for $30.00.

If you enjoy hydrating body oil but want to avoid extra slickness during the summer, the Néroli Orchidée Perfumed Body Oil is a fabulous option and it substitutes moisturizer and fragrance! The spray bottle squirts rather than mists but once massaged in, the petal fresh formula absorbs quickly leaving behind a radiant satin finish with no greasiness (similar to a dry oil). When I crave extra nourishment and intense moisture I layer the oil over a body lotion for buttery soft skin. It retails for $38.00.

All of these fabulous products are available at L’Occitane locations and online at ca.loccitane.com

Monday, May 16, 2016

Fabulous Fashion Finds from Avon

Gone are the days of raiding the mall every weekend and leaving with a backseat brimming with new stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love putting together a cute new outfit and there is nothing more delightful than finding a gorgeous designer purse on sale, but recently the mall scene just hasn’t been my thing. Battling for a parking space and dealing with pushy crowds can be downright stressful, which is why many of us now choose to scout for deals online.

Since summer is upon us and I have a few exciting press trips planned, I decided to spruce up my wardrobe with some new accessories. A cute bag, eye-catching statement jewelry or trendy shoes can put a fun new spin on an old outfit.

I’m all about the bag and if you peek inside my closet you’d see a mountain of purses touching the ceiling. Since I already have a decent collection of everyday totes that are large enough to store all my essentials, I was on the hunt for something smaller, trendy and functional. I usually attend many amazing events for work and this summer I plan to party hard, enjoy every last drop of sunshine and travel a lot! I needed something that was stylish enough for a night out yet large enough for my cell phone, camera and a stash of makeup... and that’s when I spotted her! The beautifully textured Well Chained Handbag by mark. This envelope clutch is a great size and the faux snake print, long silver chain and strap detailing makes it a great contender for a night out. You can sling it over your shoulder with jeans and a cute top or remove the chain, tuck it under an arm and use it to accent a cute summer dress. The clutch retails for just $40.00 and you can’t beat that!

I love high heels but let’s face it, sometimes it’s nice to give your feet a break and slip on a pair of comfy flats. Walking to and from events downtown doesn’t inspire me to wear toe crushing, wobbly stilettos and who needs aches and pains when you’re trying to enjoy the evening!

I found these cute Graphic d’Orsay Flats for just $39.99 and the black and white design matches a ton of outfits. I also like that the sides are cut-out preventing sweating and allowing the air to circulate. The almond shaped toe is a happy medium between rounded and pointy so they look great with dresses, skirts or pants and they are easy on the feet.

Avon has so much pretty jewelry on the website that it can be difficult to choose but for summer I thought the Glimmer Drops Necklace set in creamy coral was a perfect fit. The multi-chain design gives you that stylish layered look and comes with three tiers of tear drop pendants that range in size to create beautiful contrast. The set adds a pretty pop of color to a wide variety of outfits and also comes with matching earrings. It retails for $24.99.

You can get these fab fashion finds at avon.ca or through an independent consultant

Friday, May 13, 2016

Quo Cosmetics Spring/Summer Collection Review

A few weeks ago I attended Quo’s press event in Toronto for the launch of the spring/summer collection and the brand really went all-out with a large selection of new products! The line-up features fabulous makeup including large palettes, polish, lipstick, blush, foundation, liner and gloss but I narrowed it down to a few items for today’s post.

Along with a collection of single shadows, Quo has released 2 True Hue Refillable Eye Shadow Palettes designed to take your makeup from neutral to bold. The nude palette called - Romance Novel features warm undertones that are perfect for soft, daytime looks. It has a great balance of shimmery gold, silver and taupe matched with matte brown, cream and mauve-beige. These universal tones highlight the brow bones, accentuate the lids, and sculpt the crease to create beautiful neutral effects with luminous shimmer accents.

The cool palette called Simple Pleasures is designed for bold looks and features: lilac, deep purple, silver, cranberry shimmer, taupe and navy. The darker hues add depth, shape and dimension to create a nice contrast against the lighter shadows. I like pairing the purples together for spring and using the navy to define or create a smoky effect.

Both these palettes are great quality and although the packaging is quite basic, the large mirror is wonderful for travel and the brushes are good quality! I like the selection of sheer shimmer finishes and creamy mattes and they all have a soft, silky texture that is easy to blend. The matte hues do have stronger pigmentation for a vivid, full coverage finish but the shimmers can be layered to enhance color. Application and color pay-off is best over primer but they hold up all day without fading or creasing. The palettes retail for $24.00 each.

The Color Lust Lipsticks are available in 6 trendy hues etched with a pretty design and the texture is light and creamy for effortless glide and quick application. The lush formula drenches lips in layers of color and moisture with just a hint of glistening shine. For the most part the pigmentation is sheer to medium but the red offers fuller coverage and more vibrancy. There is a gorgeous shade for every complexion but my personal fave is Sinbad- a beautiful purple/pink berry hue. The lipsticks retail for $14.00 ea.

The Glow Blush Sticks are available in 3 soft shades but for the season this pretty petal pink is the way to go! You can simply apply the color directly from the tube and blend with a finger or brush. The smooth texture glides on creamy but transforms into a powder for a seamless flush and the color can be enhanced from sheer to bold with a matte finish to prevent transfer. The blush retails for $15.00.

The Color Overload Lip Gloss ($12.00) delivers bright juicy pigment with a plush, high shine finish. Although I wouldn’t classify them as “intense,” the coverage does offer a bit more color than the average sheer gloss and the formula is non-sticky and nourishing. I have the shade Fashion Perk which is a flattering berry hue (top color in the photo below). If you prefer intense, high-impact color then the Lip Velour Liquid Lipsticks may be more your style! These babies are highly pigmented and provide full coverage, amazing color in just one layer! They remind me of a cross between the popular NYX Lip creams and Stila’s coveted Liquid Lipsticks because they start off lush and smooth but dry completely matte. Although they don’t provide a ton of hydration they do retain a bit of moisture so lips don’t feel too parched. You can pick up the Velours for $12.00 each.

No collection is complete without a contour palette so Quo came out with 2 new color sets -Light and Medium. The kit comes with 3 pigments: highlight - (for below the brows, cheek bones, nose and Cupid’s bow), Bronze - (for the cheeks, nose and chin) and Contour - (to be placed under the cheeks, jawline and nose). I like the soft little brush but the shades didn’t quite work for my skin tone. The color pay-off is quite sheer (but buildable) and although it provides light definition I wish the pigments were a bit deeper. The kit retails for $23.00.

The new Brow Kit ($18.00) includes powders, applicator and gel. The brow color is a loose pigment which may seem like a messy concept but I think it’s a good idea. I usually find loose pigments more saturated than pressed powders and these have great color pay-off to get right in-between hairs and efficiently fill in all the sparse areas. I do think it odd that the two colors are so different, the top shade is quite light and the bottom is dark so you can only really use one or the other. I was hoping the deep brown worked for me but it was a bit too ashy.

The Lip Cocktails appear bold and vibrant but apply very sheer with just a hint of color. Although they resemble lipsticks they are actually tinted balms, formulated with butters and sunflower seed oil to nourish, moisturize and lightly illuminate. The translucent flush is very soft and the sweet scent smells like vanilla! They retail for $11.00 ea.

Last but not least is the Mini Lip Gloss Set which comes with an array of 6 neutral shades. There are 2 shimmery hues, 2 nudes and 2 deep berry/mauve colors which I tend to use most often. For a gloss junkie this collection makes a great gift and the formula provides soft, hydrating, subtle color that is simple yet plush. These minis slip into any purse, pocket or small clutch and the set retails for $18.00.

Quo Cosmetics is available exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart
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