Benefit Sun Beam Is Shining Bright On My Winter Skin

I am a huge fan of Benefit’s Highlighters aka Glowy Complexions In A Bottle line. Moon Beam and High Beam were among my first purchases from the line. These were in the days that Benefit was an exotic line only available in the United States. Well, I still love the  and consider Benetint to be one of the best cosmetic prodz ever, and am only happier that Benefit is now readily available in Canada. There is wonderful sense of fun and humour in Benefit Cosmetics that manages to make fun of our make up obsession while celebrating it at the same time. Love it.

A sweet golden glow…a la Bardot…not Jersey Shore, right?

Left is indirect light, right is under my skylight…
Sun Beam is the latest from Benefit’s Highlighter collection. It imparts a little bit of bronzing and a light tan colour with a glowy, lit-from-within shimmer. The beauty of Benefit highlighters is you can start out with just a touch for a subtle effect or go full on glam. They can be mixed with your foundation or moisturizer or just dot on and blend. Sun Beam gives a natural sun-kissed radiance that compliments all skintones. It is a lovely warm tone that is a little bit easier to blend and control than a powder bronzer. I even love it with a little clear gloss on the lips- it is a gorgeous golden tone that just gives everything a nice bronzed glow.

Well, pretty much the perfect peachy gold pout…

Sun Beam with a bit of clear Lip Fusion…
I love the little pick me up I get from a bronze-y glow in the depths of a Canadian winter. We all need to shine a light, sometimes, right?
Gently Wash Your Hair with Live Clean

Gently Wash Your Hair with Live Clean

I’ve been meaning to post about Live Clean shampoos for awhile now. In my search for gentle but effective shampoo that doesn’t have pthalates, parabens or excess foaming agents (like SLS or Sodium Laurel/Laureth and DEA) I’ve tried several brands. I’ve tried expensive brands that actually have all that nasty stuff and lots of silicone, which gives the illusion of soft hair…for awhile. Until your hair is coated with silicone and needs to be clarified, or until I realized that my hair was actually drying out. My Holy Grail of conditioners, Terax Crema, has a permanent place in my hair arsenal, and manages to make my hair silky soft without coating it in gunk. Crema also makes a perfect leave in, so I take a dime size drop in my hand post shower and rub it into the ends. This is more effective than any silicone shine serum I have ever used- and trust me- I’ve used them all. I have my favourite protein treatments that I do from time to time- my Joico K-Pak and my Thann Shiso Hair Mask. These conditioners sink right in to the hair and work miracles, turning dry lifeless strands to silky perfection. Add to that my new found anti frizz secret of wrapping my wet hair post shower in a cotton t-shirt- yes, a t shirt- and my hair has never been softer. More on the cotton t-shirt secret in another post….

Use enough silicone & this look could be yours!
Silicones have become ubiquitous these days as they are a cheap way to fool people into thinking their hair is suddenly healthy and smooth. 99% of products that claim to be full of healthy oils (argan is the most popular claim) are actually mostly silicone. I get very frustrated at when I see otherwise intelligent women  about a miracle product that has changed their hair, when all they have to do is read the label to realize their hair is exactly the same, it has just been coated in silicone. The old “time to switch shampoos” thing should never happen, and only does when your hair is so coated that nothing can penetrate the gunk on your hair.

Soft, frizz-free hair….
Now those foaming agents aren’t really the devil, but they do make the shampoo a little harsher than necessary, as they are more like dishwashing detergent and can dry the hair over time. They do serve a purpose though, as some products will build up in our hair. Styling products and, the worst offender in my opinion, hard water. Some water is so harsh it makes my hair feel like straw due to the mineral build up. In cases like that, using a clarifying shampoo (ie one without silicone and with foaming agents- my favourite is Neutrogena’s classic) and the occasional diluted vinegar rinse helps restore your hair to a more virgin condition.
So- Live Clean, I say? I saw them at the drugstore, read the ingredients, and thought, for under $7 a bottle, this is worth a try. I may even have been in a rush. Part of me was convinced nothing so cheap could be effective. Well, I was wrong. This was last year some time and Live Clean has become a staple in all our showers. My faves are the Fresh Water Moisturizing formula and the Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying formula. I don’t think the clarifying formula is as harsh as one with SLS or foaming agents, but it smells amazing and when used on the roots/scalp, makes my hair soft and bouncy. Its perfect in summer for those hot summer days. It has a soft sweet green apple smell that reminds me of some beauty product from the 70s. If anyone has an idea of what that could be, tell me! Its so nostalgic….The Fresh Water Moisturizing shampoo just smells gently clean and you can feel how gentle it is as it rinses out and your hair feels soft. I really feel like the Live Clean line has simplified my shower routine.  The conditioners don’t excite me, but my long, thick, coarse and high-lighted hair needs more than a detangler.  I tried the Live Clean Argan Oil line and found the sweet smell overpowering and the oil just weighed my hair down. The Apple Cider and Fresh Water formulas, however, are amazing. My hair has never been in better condition.
…it’s not a lot to ask for…right?


Have you tried the Live Clean line? It is available at almost any drugstore and all of the products are under $10. Neat fact- Live Clean is a Canadian line.

Goody Double Wear Bands- Fun, Fashionable & Functional!

Goody Double Wear Bands- Fun, Fashionable & Functional!

I don’t know a person with long hair who has not, at one time or another, worn elastic bands on their wrists. I do it all the time. One of the things I love about the Goody blonde ponytail holders is that they are skin tone so they don’t look *that* bad when worn on my wrist.  More functional than pretty, but they are close by when I need them. Well imagine my delight to find Goody Double Wear Bands! Fine they are black, but with your choice of silver or gold accents there is something for everyone! I actually like to wear both but am quite keen on the gold. My daughter wears exclusively silver/white gold so the silver ones are quite chic on her.
How fun are these!
They actually look so cool one could forget how flipping functional they are! They look so cute but also do what Goody does best when you need them- hold up your hair! And for the women in this house, holding up all this hair is not for amateurs! I was thinking how familiar they looked…they were reminding me of something I’d seen in a magazine. Then I remembered. The Accessories & Beyond brand of elastics that retail for $70 for 15….vs $5 for 3 of the Goody Doublewear. People, may I remind you that we are talking about hair elastics. That, dear reader, is where Fashion meets Victim. Do. Not. Do.
Goody Double Wear bands are available wherever Goody is sold- Walmart, Target etc.

Rodial Glam Balm Hand Could Make Me A Hand Model

I think I am in love with a hand cream. Rodial products have been causing quite a stir in the beauty world and the Glam Balm line had me quite intrigued. The Glam Balm Hand is so amazing it really blew my  mind. There are plenty of lotions and creams out there that protect the skin but I really wanted something that would heal and help reduce the signs of sun damage and all that dishwashing that makes my hands look so much older than I am. Really. 

I could feel the difference immediately with Glam Balm Hand- it actually sinks right in and there is a visible improvement in the appearance of your skin right away. With a week of regular use, everything is improved. It is chock full of good stuff like vitamin E & shea butter to moisturize, olive leaf oil and vitamin C to brighten, and pomegranate to help thicken the skin. Dark spots are lighter, dry and rough cuticles are gone, and those nasty lines and creases are definitely reduced. Oh..did I mention that it smells like the beach? Glam Balm Hand has a very soft coconut/tiare scent that gently fades over time and is not strong enough to compete with my perfume. Smells clean and comforting and makes putting on hand cream like a mini holiday.
Yes- my hands look younger. Combined with my recent rosewater therapy, I think a future in hand modelling is not far fetched….
In Canada, Glam Balm is available for $39 at The Bay and Murale. In the US, you can check locations here on the Rodial Website. Next up? I am SO trying the Glam Balm Lip…

A Healthy Glow with Dermaglow Tinted Moisturizer

I hate foundation- don’t wear it, never have. I like tinted moisturizers- in theory- but find most too heavy and foundation-like for my tastes. Evening out skintone is different than coating skin in a layer of spackle. I have oily skin, so avoid silicones and any oil based products, and I’ve been let down by oil-free products. Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer was as thick and oily as anything I’d ever tried. So I stuck to my favourite, if not obscenely priced Dermalogica Sheer Moisture Tint with SPF15. Mattefying and thin, it lasts all day on my skin and does not irritate. Or, I use my HG primers, Shu Uemura Under Base Mousse, or Exuberance Silicone Free Primer. 
I recently decided to try Dermaglow Tinted Moisturizer on the basis of my utter love for their skincare and was not disappointed- it is now in my arsenal of amazing skin secrets and even when I’m sick as a dog with a winter cold, I can fake a healthy glow without looking made up or oily. It was hard to photograph a true colour, but you will note it goes from pink toned to yellow, leading me to think it could work on many skin tones. Trust me when I say it actually disappears into the skin when fully blended but I thought a shot of fully blended aka invisible product wouldn’t be helpful.

Applied then slightly blended….
…the blending progression… a little more blending would render it invisible.

Dermaglow Tinted Moisturizer is one of those cool self-adjusting formulas in that it comes out of the tube white then transforms when applied to the skin. It seems a little dark but I find applying very little and spreading it evenly gives my skin an even glowing appearance that looks like it comes from within, not from make up. It lasts, and even though it is moisturizing and anti-aging, manages to stay satiny and almost matte. It is chock full of anti aging peptides to smooth lines and hyarulonic acid to replenish and attract moisture which helps gently plump the skin. I dust a bit of my MAC Blot powder on top and use a concealer on any trouble spots and my face it done for hours. I have tested it driving in a convertible in Florida sun and heat, and while walking around in Canada’s brutal cold and it holds up well in either climate. 
Not this.
I am so happy to have discovered Dermaglow. Stay tuned for my review of Dermaglow Lip Plumper- my new fave that may indeed have pushed my beloved Lip Fusion out of the line up….my love affair with Dermaglow continues…I buy my Dermaglow at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada but here is a link to their Where To Buy page.
Learning To Be Glam at Essie’s School of Hard Rocks

Learning To Be Glam at Essie’s School of Hard Rocks

Essie School of Hard Rocks is another colour from the Cocktail Bling collection, my other one being the delicious indigo blue Baubing For Baubles. This one is a nifty teal colour, with a grey-ish somewhat dusty tone to it. It is non-traditional for sure, yet somehow the muted tone keeps it from looking too funky. I really like this and find it goes with just about everything. As with all Essie polishes, it is smooth & creamy and applies like a dream. These shots are 2 coats on top of my soon-to-be-reviewed miraculous ridge filler base coat (stay tuned) and Lippmann Top Speed top coat.
I have a few greens now- Lippmann Billionaire, which is quite dark, and Chanel Khaki Vert. They are all quite different and I love them all. Now I think I need a light sage or pistachio green to go with the Spring weather that will be coming…eventually….
Out of direct light…
In direct light. Actual colour somewhere in between….
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Bel Ami – Perfect For The Lipstick Challenged (like me!)

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Bel Ami – Perfect For The Lipstick Challenged (like me!)

I was in a beauty conundrum. I wanted a lip colour that looked like, well, a colour. I am a YLBB (Your Lips But Better) woman at the best of times so this was indeed a challenge. My daughters are so brave and always sporting bright fun lippies and while I love colour, I just felt like they made me look old, weird and clownish. Not for moi. Chanel came to the rescue awhile back with their Rouge Coco Shine line, which is balm-like and basically gorgeous. All colours can be applied without a mirror (check), don’t settle into lines or bleed (check) and condition your lips (check). So I wandered up to the Chanel counter with high hopes and was not disappointed.

I had seen the pic above from Carolina Herrera on Beauty Editor  and had become obsessed with a slightly grape-y lip. Clinique Black Honey, you’re thinking! For some reason, that shade just doesn’t work on me. A tad too dark? I dunno, but it’s not me. As soon as I said SLIGHTLY grape-y, the Chanel SA grabbed Bel Ami. I recoiled as it looks so dark and suspiciously like ACTUAL LIPSTICK in the tube but, lo and behold, I loved it. It is perfect. I feel like a real laydee now, with a (sort of) lipstick to call my very own.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Bel Ami


Bel Ami swatched lightly on lower left, more heavily on upper right

I love the lipstick and Chanel trivia behind the name Bel Ami. Coco Chanel’s modiste career started with her hat-making and really bloomed when theatre actress Gabrielle Dorziat wore her designs in the Noziere play “Bel Ami” in 1912. If you haven’t seen the movie “Coco Avant Chanel” with the divine Audrey Tatou, you simply must.

Gabrielle Dorziat in “Bel Ami” and her Chanel chapeau…

Essie St Lucia Lilac is So Very Pretty

When were finally packing up to come home from holidays, it was time for a fresh mani. I’d been reading about pastels for spring over here so when I found this sweet little Essie double pack with sweet mini bottles of Essie St Lucia Lilac and Jazz. I knew it had to be mine. I’ve been obsessing about Essie Absolutely Shore for awhile, and seeing as how I have yet to find it in an actual store & it’s not available online….If any of you know of a dupe for it let me know! Da Bush from Fall 2011 looks like a contender and my search continues. So pastel nails are my new thing. Not even halfway through January and I am already feeling Spring 2012….
St Lucia Lilac is a soft powdery lavender/lilac shade and Jazz is a nude shade. Although, different enough from my other nudes that I don’t feel it is, ahem, redundant. I guess I’d say it has a grey tone to it vs pink. Can’t wait to try it. I can’t find these little boxed sets online anywhere but I found mine at Walgreens. There were a couple sets with two minis as “Essie’s Favorites” or something similar…
Top right: Jazz, top left: St Lucia Lilac, Bottom: Jazz, DL Naked, DL Fashion

Safe in The Sun With Baby Lips

Safe in The Sun With Baby Lips

On holiday with my family I realized I did not have a lip balm with SPF with me (first world problems….I know…) so I borrowed one of my daughters. Both girls got Maybelline Baby Lips tinted lip balms in their Christmas stocking and I was happy to discover they had brought them along. They are precious little lip balms- kitschy, bright packaging reminiscent of the 80s- with lovely noticeable tints and SPF 20. They also offer 8 hour moisture and “lip renewal”. Lip renewal to me implies some kind of exfoliant and perhaps hyaluronic action as well. So smoother lips as well!
From top: Grape Vine, Pink Punch & Cherry Me (my fave)
At any rate, they are brilliant little lip balms. They do indeed offer beautiful moisture- lips feel plump and soft with regular use. The colour is not a stain, per say, but it does seem to linger and does not build up in a weird way with continued beach or poolside applications. The website says after 4 weeks of use one will see visible improvement in their lip condition, and this doesn’t seem far fetched to me. There is a mild scent that matches the name but it is gone in no time flat, and I could not discern a taste of any kind.
I hate photographing my lips but here I am poolside in Cherry Me!
The younger one, Biddy (@kittybiddy), got Cherry Me, a bright cherry popsicle shade that leaves the lips a soft but bright pink, and the older one, Em (half of @BSDropouts, The Beauty School Dropouts), got Grape Vine, more of a deeper colour. Grape Vine actually reminds me of the old standby, Clinique Black Honey. If you loved Black Honey, get this Baby Lips shade asap. Once we arrived I realized I needed my very own. So I got Cherry Me as well and Em got herself Pink Punch which is more of a bright light pink- perfect for Florida as it’s very Lilly Pulitzer! They also have a peachy one, called Peach Kiss, and two clear ones with different “flavours”. I am totally getting a clear one as well.
Playing with my iPhone – this is my poolside view…ahhhh…
I’ve been using my Baby Lips non-stop for over a week and have to say, I love it. The name is a bit funny and the packaging and advertising seem to be aimed at the under 25 (under 16 even?) demographic but I think they are missing a huge market by not marketing to grown ups as well. These are lovely tinted lip balms that feel wonderful, makes your lips soft, and protect them from the sun. Oh yes, and they are under $5 where Maybelline is sold. What’s not to love?