Flex those Bidding Fingers!

The second annual BeautyBloggers.org charity auction is off to an epic start — we actually exceeded the total amount raised in last year’s auction in the first day. Way to go, beauty lovers! 

Thanks so much for the mentions Bella Sugar, Lucky Mag, Seventeen, Yahoo and WHAS11!

Bidders, not to worry: plenty of items are still going for far less than retail. There are some great bargains to be had — and some sweet second chances to buy those hot items you regret missing out on. The cost of shipping is our donation to you, and best of all, every dime you spend goes to Doctors Without Borders.  So bid!  Tell your friends!  Tell strangers in the grocery store!  

A few ideas to tempt you:

• Beaute Cosmetics Lipgloss wardrobe, 12 of the best lipglosses you’ll ever own (http://www.beautybloggers.org/206/)

• Urban Decay mega-haul: shadows, liners, lipsticks, glosses. Keep it for yourself or split it with friends. (http://www.beautybloggers.org/152/)

• Chanel Poudre Precieuse Or, a truly heavenly loose highlighting powder (http://www.beautybloggers.org/174/)

• Evgeny Cosmetics brush set and custom Kissette brush bag, because everyone deserves a little luxury (http://www.beautybloggers.org/223/)

• the Neiman Marcus experience. You DO realize there’s a $500 Neiman Marcus gift card in there, right? (http://www.beautybloggers.org/216/)

BeautyBloggers.org Charity Auction

I am delighted to report that the BeautyBloggers.org charity beauty auction is back for year 2, and the items up for sale are mind-blowingly amazing. I’ve been going through the selection and am  drooling over the goodies! I hope someone bids on my bottle of Dance With Givenchy Limited Edition perfume– hard to find, and once they sell out they’re gone! 

This project is the collaborative effort of more than 50 beauty bloggers and brands — who donate new makeup (plus the cost of shipping it to the winner). 100% of your winning bid goes to Doctors Without Borders, an organization dedicated to helping people in need, regardless of their race, religion, or politics.


The auction starts Monday, November 28 (Cyber Monday for those of us who start our shopping calendars at Thanksgiving). Until then, feel free to peruse the site, register to bid, and bookmark your favorite items. 


The Beauty of Rose Water

The Beauty of Rose Water

Lately I have found myself craving the scent of rose. Not a rose perfume, mind you, but soft sweet and simple rose. Rose water is perfect for this, but, not all rose waters are created equally. Rose, to my nose, can turn either sour or cloyingly powdery. A lot of rose soliflore perfumes can be stringent and sour on me- that is what happened with Creed Un Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare and Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater. Conversely I love the Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater Hand Cream and Room Spray but the scent fails as soon as it becomes a perfume. Rose water is a by-product of the production of rose  oil for use in perfumes, is used to flavour foods, as a component for medical and cosmetic purposes, and also for religious purposes. In aromatherapy, the scent of rose is used in treatment of depression, mental stress and anxiety. It is also used to treat reproductive issues in women. I do find this interesting. Without going into TMI territory, I will say that after my hysterectomy a few years ago, I found myself craving rose perfumes- completely out of the blue. I had never really liked them, and usually wore sultry spicy woody delights. The shift to rose felt like my body telling me I needed to heal. Ok- new age moment ovah….


Rose water is soothing and gentle on skin. It moisturizes naturally without clogging pores, and soothes burns and rashes. It is said to reduct lines and signs of aging with regular use. You can actually see a measurable radiance to the skin immediately after applying rose water. Rose water can be spritzed or applied with a cotton pad, both methods work well. I love a spritz of rose water after applying moisturizer at night or after applying make up in the morning (pre mascara….) as it sets the make up beautifully and eliminates that make up-y powdery look. I keep a small refillable bottle in my purse for spritzes throughout the day- dewy skin in a bottle. However lately I have been on a search for a double threat rose water- one that works that rose magic on my skin and smells heavenly.

So I decided to turn to the 24 hour coffee break we call Twitter and ask my beauty mavens for recommendations! Turns out lots of these lovely ladies enjoy a nice rose water spritz too, so I have to thank them for their wonderful information! They are fun to chat with and share interesting stuff too so follow them for more gags & giggles! @HeatherInOttawa loves nail fun and perfume as well as rosewater- thanks Heather! @m0ff alerted me to wonderful holistic brand I never even knew I could find in Ottawa, thanks M! And the Uber Organic & Natural Guru @Glamology has told me about a lovely rosewater brand I will be ordering from her. She is relentless in her pursuit of all things healthy & safe, so thank you Charmaine for sharing that wisdom with us!

Essencia, Thayers, The Body Shop, Heritage & C&E hand cream
My first rosewater is the Essencia Eau Florale (Floral Water). It comes in an elegant cobalt glass bottle, which would also protect the rose water from light. Although frankly I go through this stuff so quickly that there is little chance of the product turning on me. Essencia is lovely, a basic and quiet rose water and only that. The only listed ingredients are roses and water, and this is the simplest purest rose water I’ve tried. The scent is very light and not quite as sweet enough. It feels wonderful post cleansing, but the sprayer is too powerful and focused to use after make up. I have it in a little spray bottle for travelling which is much better. After a day in the heat and sun in the summer I love to spray it head to toe, it just makes my skin glow. If you have very sensitive skin and do not want a strongly scented rose water, Essencia would be a perfect choice. It is available in most health food stores for around $15.
Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel is quite simply, amazing. It has a much more distinct rose scent, despite the witch hazel base. Burt’s Bees has a Witch Hazel Rosewater which smelled yucky and medicinal to my nose (which is why it is not in this review…) but its listed midway through the ingredients which include goodies like aloe, glycerin and vitamin e, in addition to the sublime rose water. The aloe and glycerin combination adds a silky texture to this that is felt immediately on the skin. Dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, skin with blemishes or rashes will be soothed by this. It is *almost* enough to act as a moisturizer on its own. This one is the strongest rose scent of the bunch, but it is a soft gentle and true rose. It makes me think of pink roses, not red, if that makes any sense. The bottle is a generic plastic one but the label is charming & has retro appeal. Available at health food stores for around $10. (EDIT: Thayers Rose Petal is my favourite. I use it head to toe!)

The Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist is not “sold” as a rose water product but it does contain rose water, and has a delicate rose scent. This is one would be good if you want a light scent. There is a slight fruit note on the top that works nicely with the gentle rose fragrance. This one seems to perform quite well as a make up setting spray, and for thoughout the day pick – me – ups. I like the glow this leaves as it somehow makes your make up ( powder, concealer, whatever) appear look sheer and last a little longer. Love the small size spritzer bottle, and the spray is a soft even mist for even application. My only issue would be a stronger rose content perhaps. But I love it as a setting mist, it’s a keeper. At The Body Shop for around $16.
Heritage Rosewater and Glycerin spray toner is another fave. I got this at Wholefoods in Florida and used it at the beach to stay cool, and post shower head to toe to re-moisturize beached out skin. It has 2 ingredients- essential oil of rose and “vor-mag” water- “water that has been vortexed and magnified to raise the energy to a higher vibration that we believe to be more beneficial”. Huh? This is kind of where they lose me but doesn’t take away from the simple loveliness of the product. It is one of the lighter scented rose waters, but it does still have a lingering perfume. The glycerin adds a nice moisturizing touch and I do love to spray this one head to toe after a shower before applying my moisturizer. It has a lovely sprayer mechanism and a charming 70s granola style label. The pink bottle is fun, too. At around $6 for a 4 oz bottle, it is a deal. I haven’t been able to track it down at any Canadian retailers so if you know of any, please let me know! I am dying to try the Heritage Rose Petals toner which does not have glycerin and which I suspect has a purer rose scent.
come on… you know you want to…

I am waiting on a couple super fancy schmancy high end rose waters to review as well….very curious to see how a $60 rose water will stack up against a $10 one. Maybe they are made with magic water distilled from gold?


Photos of roses from distillery in Iran

Beauty Blog Round Up Reading

Love this ad…not sure why but it says “Fall” to me…
Here is some of my fave beauty blog reading of the week. Enjoy!
Eyebrows are so hot right now, but they are also a feature that a good chunk of the population gets wrong. BeautyEditor has a fantastic Eyebrow 101 we should all read…
Beautygeeks shows us some eyeliner magic that can take you from sleepy to sultry in a few seconds. I love this trick, and more women should try it.
Hey ladies, guess what? Jo Malone is back. After selling her signature line to Estée Lauder Jo is back in business with Jo Loves, and Best Things in Beauty has me wanting to try them all! Especially the Gardenia….
The Beauty Look Book has me seriously tempted by an uber luxe skincare line, Koh Gen Do, especially the heavenly sounding Royal Milk.
Last week the beauty world lost an incredible woman with the passing of Evelyn Lauder. The creator of Clinique set the bar for Breast Cancer Research fundraising through cosmetic sales. Thank you for your lovely tribute, Diva Debbi. RIP Evelyn.
The Non Blonde found the most gorgeous and elegant evening bags that are so pretty, they are like little works of art. They would stand out beautifully with the LBD….
The beautiful & wise Victoria at EauMg reviews what I think is one of the loveliest grown up vanilla incense perfumes I’ve tried….
Beauty School Dropouts does a hand painted rose manicure on a nude nail that is so. Perfect. For. Fall.
The Gorgeousness of Ivoire de Balmain

The Gorgeousness of Ivoire de Balmain

Most people describe Ivoire de Balmain as “soapy” or “clean”. I suppose it is those things, but to simply describe it as that would be like calling Ottawa in January as “cold”. Ivoire is, to me, a gorgeous meditation on warm, sexy skin. It was released in 1980, and is described as a Green Floral, but it is not an 80s perfume bomb. It definitely has more the of 70s modern, clean & still very sexy vibe, yet you can sense the depth of mega ingredients used in the 80s making it’s way in there. It’s a neat balance, actually.

But it never goes where perfumes like Giorgio and Poison go, which is TOP VOLUME. Ivoire never put on her shoulder pads, and never teased her hair. She kept her slinky wide leg pants and silky blouses, and her centre parted soft and sexy hair. It does have the Kitchen Sink list of notes that can works beautifully but never goes nuclear. Here are some notes that I’ve assembled from various points the web – with the ones I detect the most in bold, and the supporting notes in italics:

Top notes: green accord, galbanum, bergamot, lemon, aldehydes

Heart notes: Lily of the valley, rose, hyacinth, jasmine, carnation, orris, orchid, geranium

Base notes: Cedar, musk, oakmoss, amber, raspberry, sandalwood

Eau de Toilette, gorgeous, & what I wear…


Vintage parfum, stunning if you can find it…

The galbanum top note is particularly interesting in Ivoire. The classic green Balmain scent, Vent Vert, especially in it’s vintage formulation, is known for its uber doses of galbanum. Perhaps Ivoire was an ode to Balmain history? It is a somewhat “old fashioned” note in that you just don’t see it in modern perfumery very much as it’s not “pretty”, per se, nor easy to fall in with right away. It needs to settle on the skin to be appreciated for it’s true beauty. Galbanum is a peculiar note, and smells, off the top, a bit bitter and acrid, then can go quite green, spicy, woody and balsam like. It can be reminiscent of pine, evergreen, parsely, sour green apples,  musk or simply just “intensely green”. Hello, mama, sign me up. I often get a “skanky” accord from galbanum and to me that just reads as sexy. If Ivoire is soapy, it is only soapy in the “soap covering up warm, sexy skin right out of a post-rendevous bath” sense.

Once the galbanum naughty notes dissipate, the warm florals start to come out and bloom on the skin. The extreme sweetness that could come from the florals is tempered softly by the citrus top notes and galbanum, so the florals come out sweet but somehow are perfectly balanced. Then…this is the best part. The woody mossy base is simply to die for. I’m not sure what the oak moss deal is with Ivoire – real?  Synthetic? Old stock would mean real oak moss for sure. I’ve yet to smell an Ivoire I don’t like, so from where I stand the oak moss question is a mystery. Add some warm sweet amber and then, this is the kicker- sandalwood and raspberry. Fruits in the base add up to simply gorgeous in Ivoire. The woody dry down of Ivoire goes on for hours on my skin and is so rich, sexy and mysterious I can’t get enough of it. I get compliments on it constantly and have even been followed by men asking me what perfume I’m wearing. It is not a loud projecting scent at all, but nor is it a quiet mouse of a scent- it teases with it’s feminine wiles. To my nose it is drop dead femininity in a bottle. If squeaky clean is white, then something not-quite-clean is ivory….

Ivoire is one of my Top 10 favourite perfumes of all time and always will be. Inexplicably it is still available for a song online, and I mean a big bottle for under $40. If anything I have written here appeals to you, get yourself some now.

I’m Officially In Love With Dermaglow

I’ve toyed with the Dermaglow line via the samples I get from my friendly neighborhood Shopper’s Drug Mart Cosmetic Angels but never really given it a fair shot. They now have a new oil free line that combines oil free and mattifying qualitites with their anti aging science. The issue I have with a lot of anti aging products is that they are often too rich and emollient causing breakouts for my super sensitive and oily skin. This cleanser is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, oily and aging skin like mine.
Get squeaky clean with foamy bubbles!
Today I am reviewing their Foaming Cleanser. It is exactly that, a fragrance free foaming cleanser. I’ve used a ka-billion cleansers in my time and was not expecting to be overly impressed. It is velvety soft and spreads easily over wet skin, plus, a little goes a long way. And WOW does it clean. Every last drop of make up is removed, even my Urban Decay 24-7 waterproof eyeliner and my Kiehl’s Mineral Mascara. Not a hint of a sting in my eyes and my face feels squeaky clean. Not tight and dry but super clean. Amazing that such a gentle cleanser can melt off a day of make up and environmental yuckiness. After cleansing and drying, I do a light mist of rosewater toner (I have been loving this one) and let that soak in before applying my day or night moisturizer. Those reviews will come later but I had to start with this cleanser. At $45 it is not cheap, but a little goes a long way and for results like this, I am willing to pay more. It would take at least 2 go overs with my usual Spectra Gel to get my face this clean! 

Lest We Forget

November 11th, 2011
The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day on the eleventh month.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
My daughter Brigit is singing this with her high school choir today. She has been singing her part around the house and it just gives me goosebumps. How important it is to remember.