Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel Soothes and Beautifies

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel Soothes and Beautifies

After being so impressed by Skinceuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50, I had to try their serums. I’d read rave reviews, and I’m on a bit of a serum kick these days as well. Serums are the perfect way to treat the skin as they just sink right in and get to work, and there is something to suit every skin type.


It feels as cool and fresh as a forest stream…

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Gel was created for sensitive and problematic skin, and is also oil-free. It is chock full of botanical extracts like cucumber, thyme & a natural alternative to hydroquinone. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, it is perfect for acne prone skin. It calms the skin, reducing redness, inflammation as well as discolouration. One of the best parts is how cooling and soothing it feels on the skin. It has become part of my evening routine, and I’ve come to love the slightly odd and herbal scent as the cool deep green gel sinks into my skin. The scent disappears almost instantly, but the effects of the gel are amazing. Using this in the evening and my Vichy proEVEN in the morning has made my skin even toned and smooth.


Cucumber thyme lemonade with vodka…yes please.

During this heatwave, and after a busy day of running around in the hot sun, driving with the top down, pelted with wind, dirt and all those nasty free radicals blowing around, nothing soothes and calms my skin better than this. I wish I had a jug of it to bathe head to toe in. It is *that* amazing. Verdict- love. If you have skin that is sensitive, oily, acneic or easily irritated by environmental factors, you must try this.

Skinceuticals are available on their website and at select authorized retailers. Lucky Torontonians can just pop into the divine Gee Beauty for yours.


Skincare For Dear Old Dad*

Skincare For Dear Old Dad*


So, before Dad adds our non-cologne fragrance options to his routine, he really needs to treat his skin. There are a couple lines available to Dad to help him elevate his skincare from whatever shower gel/soap/shaving cream he has within arm’s reach. Anyone can go to the shaving section at the drugstore. Let’s bump it up a notch, shall we?



Imagine dragging razor blades across your face on a daily basis- yikes. So making sure the dad in your life has something gentle and effective to use when shaving is essential.

I am amazed by the amazing feedback and large following that exists for the men’s grooming line, Jack Black. Their famous product, Jack Black Beard Lube, has a huge cult following and has won multiple awards. Even the lovely SAs working at Sephora wax poetic about how their husbands/boyfriends/brothers/dads love this pre-shave oil, shave cream and facial skin treatment jammed into one easy-to-use product. The real raves come from the efficacy this has as a pre-shave treatment, and how this helps with a serious reduction in razor burn. One woman told her boyfriend works in home renos and spends a lot of time in contact with nasty stuff like fibreglass insulation and other stuff that causes irritation to skin, and that he swears by the Jack Black Beard Lube to soothe his face. It isn’t a big foamy product, but actually goes on clear. Some men may find this a bit weird, and some may find it helpful in the shaving process. Be careful to use it specifically as indicated to get the full effect. I am a fan of the stylish modern-with-a-retro-twist manly packaging.


Another interesting and neat gift idea shave product is Anthony Logistics for Men Shave Cream. It was recommended by a Sephora SA who says her husband shaves his head and this is all he uses. Subsequent reading of online reviews also mention Anthony Shave Cream as a favourite for head shavers so keep this in mind! Its full of aloe and glycerin and quite good for sensitive skin. If you can use this all over your scalp, well, that seems like a gentle and effective product. Packaging is ideal for the man who loves the modern and minimalist look.


Dads need lip balm too, ladies. And Jack Black makes an award winning spf lip balm, Intense Therapy Lip Balm with SPF 25, that is so amazing and effective that women use it too! This lip balm has been a beauty editors pick since it was released and when I ask women why they would buy a lip balm aimed at men when there are literally thousands available for women, they all say one thing, “Because it feels amazing on the lips, and really helps heal chapped lips”. It is often out of stock and likely on the biggest sellers in the Jack Black line. At under $10 it is a great gift idea, mostly because I can’t imaging the majority of men wandering into Sephora for lip balm. Although kudos to those that do! Golfing, cycling, jogging, boating- anything that means you will be in the sun and wind means protect those lips.



So- a little gift bag for dad with a luxe shaving cream and lip balm- perfect. Something he likely would not get himself, but that he will definitely love.

Jack Black and Anthony Logistics products are available online and at Sephora.

*when I was a kid and wanted something from my father, the one way to assure I got it was to end my plea with “Pretty please Dear Old Dad?”….it continued to my daughters who would cutely chime when they were little “Pretty please Dear Old Zeda?”. Oh, family….

Vichy Love and Make Up Bag Essentials

Vichy Love and Make Up Bag Essentials

I don’t know what “Beauty Ice” is, but I want some.


In which I share some more Vichy love! You can read about where my Vichy love affair started here. Plus, I share two make up bag essentials I just can’t be without….this month.


Links to information regarding the products I discuss in the video

Vichy USA and  Vichy Canada

YSL Touche Éclat – my post  and the YSL company website.

Chantecaille Lip Gloss


vichy liftactiv serum 10


Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Ete – Scent of Sun, Hot Sand and Gold

Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Ete – Scent of Sun, Hot Sand and Gold


Oh….leave it to Guerlain to take a feeling, a place, and a time, and to bottle it. Another one of their limited edition perfumes, Guerlain Terracotta L’Eau d’Ete was released in 1999 as part of the infamous Terracotta line. It was allegedly based on a much earlier Guerlain formula from 1910 called Quand vient l’été, meaning “When Summer Comes”. Terracotta Voile d’Été was released in the classic 70s montre bottle, which I just adore as they remind me of my mother’s bottles of Guerlain on her dresser when I was little. To me they just say “elegant and grown up perfume”.



Voile d’Été could be interpreted as “summer veil” but also “summer sails”. We know Guerlain has an affinity for far away tropical islands so it could really mean either one. It manages to give the impression of the sun beating down on warm, bronzed skin and hot sand on a faraway beach. It has a golden, sunny aspect thanks to a delicious combination of ylang ylang and carnation, the latter adding a spiky, spicy hot feel to the sweet flowers. Carnation always smells classic and somewhat old fashioned to me, but I love that soapy spicy note. It is often used in masculine scents, and that manly aspect helps keep sweet flowers at bay. Carnation has a “dry” aspect which stops a perfume from becoming syrupy or cloying. Add to this bright streaming ray of sunshine the pillowy powdery Guerlinade cocktail of vanilla and heliotrope (with a soupcon of iris and jasmine) and you have your hot, dry sand.

Terracotta Voile d’Été is a testament to Guerlain’s ability to paint a picture with scent. It is one of the very few summer beach scents that does not evoke colourful slushy drinks with umbrellas, coconut laced suntan lotion or even monoi. It isn’t what one would call perfume for hot sunny day at the beach. This is a perfume that approximates, nay, IS, a hot sunny day at the beach. Only Guerlain can do this and do it this well. It also evokes a golden colour, for you syntesthetes out there, as if you are lying on a French beach wearing your gold jewelry. I only know what that smells like because that is probably one of my favourite things to do in the world. Add a good book and some dreamy music, and I’m in heaven. Yes, that is where Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Été takes me.


Guerlain Terracotta Voile d’Été was a limited edition perfume and is available from selected online sellers. Get it while you still can.

UPDATE: Guerlain’s Thierry Wasser has reinterpreted this perfume as Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum. I CAN’T WAIT to try this.




Fragrance for Men That Hate Cologne

Fragrance for Men That Hate Cologne

I suppose I could just compile a list of colognes that you could simply go get for the dad in your life, but that would be boring and likely leave that dad with something he won’t use. Especially if he isn’t a cologne wearing kind of dad. There are ways to encourage dad to step it up from Irish Spring soap (which is actually pretty nice…) and give dad some different options for smelling good. I don’t think anyone wants their father any father anyone to smell like a Jersey Shore club, so no Axe, ok? Let’s keep it simple, and make it easy for dad.


Bulgari Pour Homme Shampoo and Shower Gel: This is a favourite of mine. It smells amazing- clean, fresh and manly, but it is also quite subtle. Firstly, it is a shower gel and a shampoo, so it’s one stop shopping for the low maintenance dad. For those dads with beards (ahem, like my dad), they need to use this as, well, beard shampoo. The scent lingers gently in hair and on the body, and is perfect for the cologne-shy dad. I’ve suggested Bvlgari Pour Homme, but really, get thee to the men’s cologne counter, do some sniffing, and pick a shower gel/shampoo that smells like something the dad in your life might like. The Bvlgari is just always elegant and perfect. There is a new one called Bvlgari Man that is also quite good, has the shampoo/shower gel combo and is worth a sniff.



Ralph Lauren Polo Black Deodorant: Cologne delivery via deodorant is an excellent way for a man to wear his scent in a very subtle and understated manner. The new Polo Black is a fantastic twist on the classic Polo Green- toned down and grown up. The scent of perfumed deodorants is the same as the bottles of cologne they go with, and costs so little you can get him one for home, the gym bag and the cottage. Or, choose one for evening, one for work, and one for play. Tip: this is also a great way to prevent over-application of cologne.



Acqua di Parma Colonia Collezione Barbiere Shaving Line: Ok, I’m biased. This is probably the best smelling stuff for men in the world. So good, in fact, that I also wear it. But, back to dad. This shaving line is so gorgeous that you can be assured you are getting the best of the best for the dad in your life. The classic cologne scent with citrus, lavender, amber and other Very Good Smelling Stuff. The shaving cream or shaving gel elevates the shaving experience and makes everyone happy. High expectations, I know, but Colonia is special.

Tom Ford Grey Vetiver After Shave Balm: This is a gorgeous and elegant fragrance, not loud, and about as far from tacky and garish as it gets. An after shave balm is a lovely and luxurious way for a man to wear fragrance, as well as perhaps a gentle way to usher him into Skincare (more on that in another post).


These are also endorsements of the actual colognes for these products, as I personally like them and think they smell wonderful. Feel free use them as a guide and choose the body products for the cologne of your choice. You could create a basket of cologne scented products to keep the dad in your life smelling and feeling fresh and clean. Everyone wins.

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara – Perfume Infused With Air And Mystery

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara – Perfume Infused With Air And Mystery

un air de samsara guerlain

One of my favourite heady sandalwood scents is the divine Guerlain Samsara. I prefer the vintage formulations as they contain almost nuclear levels of the precious and now *restricted sandalwood and jasmine. But mostly sandalwood. I have both the eau de toilette and extrait in vintage formulation, and extrait (or parfum) wears closer to the skin and is just softer. Note to self: get more before it is all gone. I hold on to the eau de toilette, but frankly never wear it, as much as I adore it. This 1989 beauty was at the tail end of the mighty 80s perfumes, and Guerlain held nothing back. Legend has it that Jean-Paul Guerlain made Samsara for a woman he wanted to seduce (naturally!), and he knew she loved jasmine and sandalwood. It must have worked, because she allegedly wore it faithfully, and that people would cross the street to ask her about her perfume. I’m thinking she may have overapplied but that is just me. And who cares! This is a romantic perfume as only the house of Guerlain does. Even the text on the ad is typically romantic – “Ni tout à fait la même, ni tout à fait une autre”. It translates roughly to “Not quite the same, nor quite another”…a conundrum in a bottle, no?

Mint tea in glass cup

That said, it is still a bit of a powerhouse, and I usually limit my wearing of Samsara extrait to the winter, when a rich cozy perfume is required. Enter Guerlain Un Air de Samsara (thank you to my dear perfume enabler, Dane xo) which is, as the name suggests, a lighter and “airier” version of the original Samsara. Loads of mint, bergamot and narcissus have been added and the scent is reminiscent of a minty herbal tea on top of the drop dead gorgeous sandalwood jasmine cocktail. The mint is so cooling, like a breath of air, and seemingly lifts the terrestrial sandalwood up and frees it. More like the scent from a sandalwood fan than from rich creamy sandalwood absolute. It wears beautifully in the heat, and one can only imagine how the gentle and sultry notes of jasmine and sandalwood seduced Jean Paul Guerlain’s lover.


Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.

~  Kahlil Gibran


Guerlain Un Air de Samsara is a discontinued fragrance but can found online from many vendors. Get it now, while you still can.

*Due to severe over harvesting of sandalwood, the material is severely restricted.


Memories of Beauty

Memories of Beauty

If you read this blog semi regularly, you have likely noticed I’m a huge fan of vintage beauty ads. Lately, I was thinking about some products that I loved as a teenager. That sent me off on an internet adventure finding fun and delicious ads that are truly a blast from the past.


My friend’s super cool big sister had these. Therefore they were super cool.



Perfume that delivered what it promised- smelled just like green apples.



Remember this one? It actually smelled amazing too!


I LOVED these! Wish they would bring them back. Yummy & kissable. 
I remember just HAVING to have these. What were they thinking?
Or Timotei! Who doesn’t want hair that smells like a summer meadow?

What are your fave vintage beauty products or ads?



Does Kiehl’s Musk Smell Like Perfume? Or Just Skin?

Does Kiehl’s Musk Smell Like Perfume? Or Just Skin?

I love a good musk perfume. They are soft and stay close to the skin, and are perfect when I don’t really want to wear an actual perfume, but when I just want to smell good. The beauty of a musk that works with your chemistry is that it is likely no one will even know you are wearing perfume. When I wear musk I often hear comments like “you smell good” or, in a group of people “someone here smells good”. The latter comment is usually followed up with “it must be Jane” but that’s just because my friends know me too well. But the point is no one ever says “what is that perfume” or “what perfume are you wearing”, because when you find a musk you love, it should melt into your skin and become part of you. You- just a bit warmer, sweeter, sexier and yes, muskier. Oh…yes. Muskier. Like the smell of that special someone’s shirt that you slip on when they aren’t there, or their pillow. This kind of scent appeals to us on a more “primal” level that your average perfume.

The way his shirt smells....

The way his shirt smells….

“Manly, yes, but I like it too…” was what came to mind the first time I tried Kiehl’s Musk. While it is definitely not a strong scent, it kind of has a rich, deep & sexy vibe that most frilly floral women’s scents lack. It’s manly and tomboyish, which frankly makes it even more sensual when a woman wears it. And, it just goes perfectly with everything. The story behind it says it’s based on a vat labelled “Love Oil” found stashed away in Kiehl’s flagship store- they introduced it in 1963. Love Oil? I’m in.

Manly? Maybe. Sexy? Absolutely.

Manly? Maybe. Sexy? Absolutely.

But it’s not just sensual. It’s cuddly and cozy. When my youngest daughter was little she said it smelled like hugs. That works. It’s soft, quiet and  won’t offend anyone, even in a small space. It smells like warm, kissable skin. Adore the little roller bottle for my purse, perfect at under $30. Even the big 50ml bottle is under $60. The shower gel is one of my fave things and gently scents your whole bathroom, or master suite. The apothecary style aesthetic of Kiehl’s products is modern and simple- I love clean, classic lines. This is the perfect “white t-shirt” perfume & I wouldn’t be without it in my collection.

Body Oil For The Senses

Body Oil For The Senses


Lierac is a French beauty line created in 1975 by a French dermatologist, Dr Leon Cariel, and is designed to help with aesthetic skincare issues.. I’d read about their products  and had been keen to try them, but the one product I was dying to try was unavailable until recently. Thank the beauty gods for bestowing Lierac Sensorielle Sensory Oil with 3 Flowers upon Canada. I first read about this on Best Things In Beauty, and, knowing that CharlestonGirl loves all things delicate and white floral as much as I do, I had. To. Have. It. Well, now it is mine!

Bettie Page with cheetahs

I also love to apply Sensorielle at bedtime – I swear the soothing aroma of a southern garden encourages sweet dreams. I don’t know if it is officially a “dry oil” but it does absorb beautifully, with no greasy feeling left behind on the skin. I also love to take a few drops and rub them into the ends of my hair to smooth, add shine and the soft scent of those hypnotic 3 flowers.Lierac Sensorielle is a multi use oil, perfect for skin and hair. Their website says you can use it on your face but I think that would only be useful for the driest of skin. This oil is based on four precious botanical oils: argan, hazelnut, sweet almond, and grape seed. All of these are amazing for skincare and have amazing conditioning and moisturizing properties. It feels light yet rich on the skin, and sinks right in, leaving the softest and silkiest skin behind. Used after a good exfoliating session in the shower you will have glowing skin that smells like an intoxicating yet delicate blend of jasmine, camellia, gardenia. Simply gorgeous, it makes me think of that famously heady jungle gardenia scent that has been tamed.


One thing you must do is add Huile Sensorielle to your bath. Lierac’s website says that when added to bath water, Sensorielle transforms into a softening and protective milk. It is a delicious a Sensorielle scented bath experience, that softens and gently scents your skin. If you are a lover of skin oils, like Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse for example, I strongly suggest you search out the Lierac Sensorielle Sensory Oil with 3 Flowers. You won’t regret it.

Lierac is available at pharmacies, with the 3.4 oz bottle retailing at $34 in the US – click here to find a retailer. The Canadian Lierac site does not seem to come up- I got mine at Rexall Pharma-Plus for $44 for a 3.4 oz bottle. As with many products, it’s a better value to purchase this in the US.

Iris in Perfume: Refined, Relaxed and Calm…

Iris in Perfume: Refined, Relaxed and Calm…

I love iris. It can be a challenging scent, and not every iris perfume is for every lover of iris. It can smell like dirt, paper (Hermes Hiris!) or even a bit medicinal if it isn’t blended with notes that make it sing on the wearer’s skin. Because you know now that everyone wears every perfume differently, right? That we all “cook” the scent in a different way, depending on so many things. Our skin type (dry vs oily) our internal temperature (you know how some people are just warm? Or always cold?), what we eat, how we sweat etc etc etc. I wrote about my number one gorgeous iris scent, Guerlain Après L’Ondée, which is mixed with violets and heliotropin for a soft powdery sweetness. Some others I have enjoyed are Le Labo Iris 39, which is the definition of a rich and sensual iris, with the iris note being propped up by the earthiness of patchouli- which also makes it easy for a man to wear. Guerlain Iris Ganache is the gourmande delicious iris, with notes of white chocolate, musk and vanilla making you smell like edible iris. Yummy. The one that really works for me when I crave simple unadorned iris, however, is Chanel 28 la Pausa.


Roquebrune, Cap Martin 

Chanel 28 la Pausa is part of the Chanel Exclusif line, which is sold at Chanel Boutiques and at some special Chanel counters in certain department stores. I have not been able to find a list of “notes” on line, which is ok actually. In most cases, the notes listed for perfumes aren’t actually the actual notes, but more of an approximation of what the designer is trying to convey. Or, more often, they are basically ad copy disguised as legitimate information. Chanel 28 la Pausa simply smells beautiful, which isn’t surprising given that Chanel has access to some of the finest perfume ingredients in the world. Every note is perfect. 28 la Pausa is named after the address of Mademoiselle Chanel’s estate on the French Riviera outside Roquebrune Cap Martin. She would holiday there, often surrounded by luminaries of the time: the Duke of Westminster, Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau. From Chanel’s site:

“28 la Pausa is a scent full of contrasts — radiant yet delicate, simple yet luxurious, earthy yet powdery — with a tranquil, soothing character.”


 What do I smell? Hm. Let’s see. On the top, I get some gentle fruit notes. Citrus? Maybe a bit of a tart lime note but it is definitely more green than fruity. Earthy vetiver, for sure. Chanel knows vetiver, and there are hints of all her perfumes in, well, all her perfumes. The distinct vetiver note from Chanel Sycamore (another Exclusif) is here, but it is softened by the powdery aspect they have coaxed from the iris. It is cool, but not cold, as some iris scents can be. Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist is a frigid example of a cold iris. Brrrr.  No, the cool feeling in 28 la Pausa is soothing and calming, like meditation. I almost think I smell a white tea like scent in here, but who knows. It’s probably a delicious musk, some kind of perfume illusion cast by Chanel’s perfumer, Jacques Polge. Whatever it is, I adore it. And there it is- that earthy sensual iris note we love so much. It’s not sensual in the carnal way jasmine and tuberose are, but more of a smoldering quiet sensuality. And luckily for me, la Pausa lasts hours and hours on my skin, which is made for perfumes that many find fleeting. 



It is cooling and soothing, and does indeed make one feel relaxed and refined. It smells like clean skin, but with an oh so subtle undertone of sophisticated sensuality. Perhaps it is the iris combined with whatever magical musk note Chanel has cooked up in their labs? It smells like skin, freshly showered skin, sitting in a cool ocean breeze, with perhaps a light silk scarf draped across your shoulders. Cool, silky and smooth. Yes, I will have another G & T please.

The new 75ml Exlusif bottle

In the past, you could only get the Exclusifs in honking 200ml bottles. They are gorgeous bottles, with a simple Chanel design and the most genius magnetic cap that always sits just right with the conjoined Chanel Cs sitting just as they should. But, now most of the Exlusifs are available in a 75ml bottle.