Hair

Spring Favourites

With just a couple more weeks of Spring left (helloooo Summer!), I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving for the past few months.  Let’s get started!

1. Beauty With a Twist Daily Shampoo and Conditioner*

Created in 2013 by celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan in an effort to capture the essence of the California lifestyle (palm trees, sandy beaches…basically everything I dream about), Beauty With a Twist’s products are formulated with only the highest quality, certified-organic ingredients.  Their products are not tested on animals, and a portion of their sales are donated to The Beagle Freedom Project to help end animal cruelty.  Their Daily Shampoo and Conditioner smell amazing, (notes of coconut and soft peach), and leave hair feeling soft and moisturized.  Both are formulated without parabens and are sulfate-free, ensuring they protect and preserve colour treated hair.  Beauty With a Twist products can be purchased in Canada exclusively on Amazon.ca.

2. Sahajan Discovery Kit*

This Discovery Kit is like an adult goodie-bag full of nourishing treatments for your face, body, and hair.  All of Sahajan’s products are natural and organic, and are developed and made in Canada (Toronto to be exact!) with eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This kit is the perfect way to test out some of Sahajan’s products and includes: Nourish Face Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Protective Face Serum, Nurture Hair Oil, and Ritual Body Oil (plus a handy linen makeup bag and a natural-wood mirror).  All of the products in this kit are impressive; they are nourishing, lightweight, and smell beautiful.  If I had to choose just one favourite (and trust me, it’s hard), it would have to be the Restorative Eye Cream.  A good eye cream is hard to find, and this one left the skin under my eyes feeling soft and moisturized, and looking brighter.  You can purchase this Discovery Kit, or the individual Sahajan products at Toronto’s Blossom Lounge.

3. Skechers Flex Appeal Sneakers in “Floral Bloom”

For me, these sneakers were love at first sight (um, hello, do you see those flamingos!?).  Not only are they bright, adorable, and perfect for Summer, they are also extremely comfortable, thanks to their memory foam insoles and stretch mesh panels.  They are light-weight (a women’s size 7 is just 6oz!) and are super flexible, allowing them to bend and flex naturally with your feet.

4. NYX Lip Lingerie in “Corset”

After reading positive reviews about this colour and formula online, I decided to give it a try.  This product is a matte liquid lipstick with a griege-ish tone.  It is long-lasting, and, as is commonplace for the NYX brand, is affordable without compromising on quality. If you’re looking for a super-unique yet wearable tone to add to your makeup collection, this is it.

5. Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

I’m one of those people who likes to switch up their scent on a daily basis, so it’s not often I find one that ends up on repeat.  I received a sample of this scent about a year ago, and brought it with me on a trip to Mexico.  Now, maybe it’s that every time I smell this scent I recall sandy beaches, warm breezes, and pina coladas, but since purchasing a full-sized version a couple of months ago, I still can’t get enough.  With notes of caramel, musk, and vanilla, this scent is soft and sweet with a nice warmth to it, just like a Summer night.

What have you been loving these past few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: products indicated with an asterisk (*) were received for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.
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February/March 2016 Favourites!

Happy Easter! It’s hard to believe that the end of March is already upon us, and Spring has finally arrived. Here are some of the things I’ve been loving for the past couple of months:

1. Yankee Candle Company Tumbler Candle in “Chocolate Layer Cake”

If you want your house to smell like the most delicious chocolate cake ever baked (who doesn’t?), this is for you.  It’s rich, decadent, and incredibly fragrant (you can smell it without even lighting it!).  I purchased this candle along with an adorable cake-stand holder (that I featured on Instagram here) for Valentine’s Day, but I plan on burning this candle through Easter and beyond.

2.  NYX Micro Brow Pencil in “Ash Brown”

I’ve mentioned my love for the Anastasia Brow Wiz in a previous favourites post, and it’s still one of my favourite brow products to date.  Late last year, I attended the grand opening of the NYX store in Square One Shopping Centre, and decided to try out their Micro Brow Pencil.  It’s very similar to the Brow Wiz in performance and design (one side is a thin retractable pencil, and the other is a spooley), but it’s a fraction of the cost at just $12.00 (Brow Wiz is $27.00)!

3. Physicians Formula Argan Wear Ultra-Nourishing Argan Oil Bronzer

I received this product in a gift bag during last year’s Spark Sessions conference and stored it away in my “products to try” drawer.  Recently, the life of my beloved Nars Bronzing Powder in “Laguna” came to an end, and I decided it was time to take this product for a test drive.  Truthfully, I was a little intimidated at first by the layer of gold shimmer on top (I’ve never been one for sparkle in my face makeup).  I simply took a tissue, and was relieved to discover it was simply a light layer on top of the product (for presentation purposes I’m assuming; it’s beautiful!). Once the gold sparkles were removed, the product applied beautifully and evenly, and created a subtle glow on the skin.  As the name suggests, this bronzer is actually infused with 100% Pure Argan Oil, which nourishes, conditions, and brightens skin.  It comes with a mirror and small brush, but I prefer to apply mine with a big, fluffy one.  You can purchase this product right now on Well.ca for just $13.99 (the Nars bronzer is $52.00)!

4. “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo

I don’t get to read as often as I’d like to (time: there’s just never enough of it!), but occasionally, I ‘ll find a book that sparks my interest and I’ll slowly make my way through it after work or before bed.  I’d seen this book in stores and on social media, but was curious to read it for myself after checking out an article on a mother who had implemented the practices of this book on her home.  It’s undeniable to me, how many things we (more specifically, I), own that we keep “just because”.  The premise of this book is that you should declutter your life, keeping only things that “spark joy”: that, when you hold them, make you truly happy.  It seems like such a simple, almost obvious, concept when it comes to cleaning, but it’s one that is so easily and commonly overlooked.  This book is a short, easy read that’s definitely worth checking out.

5. Marc Anthony Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco 3 Day Smooth Perfect Blow Dry Smoothing Cream

Now, that is a mouthful!  Using the power of Argan Oil, this product promises to hold hair “straight, frizz-free and shiny for up to 3 days”.  I’ve never really been one to use a blow dry cream, but received a sample in my monthly Ipsy Glam Bag, and decided to give it a try.  I really do notice that my blowout lasts significantly longer when I use this product.  My hair stays smoother, has less fly-aways, and is easier to manage.  I simply apply it when my hair is damp, focusing mainly on the ends of my hair.  This product is made for all hair types, and, if your hair tends to be especially frizzy, you can even reapply to to dry hair on days 2 or 3 for touch-ups.

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!    

A Trip to the Beach (In your Shower!)

I love pretty much anything that reminds me of the beach: Pina Coladas, pineapples, seashells, and, of course, coconuts (fun fact: I used to wear sunscreen to school in the Winter because I loved the scent that much).  Thanks to Hask Beauty, taking a trip to the beach is as easy as taking your morning shower with their Monoi Coconut Oil collection.  So what is Monoi Coconut Oil, you ask?  It’s a mixture of pure coconut oil and Tahitian gardenias; a combination commonly used by Polynesian women to nourish and protect their hair from the elements (sand, wind, and sun).  Even better? All of Hasks’s products are free of sulfates, parabens, gluten, artificial colours, and drying alcohols.  Their products are also used on many film and television sets (more than any other brand!).   I mean, who doesn’t want to use the same styling products as Olivia Pope?!  You can find their products in many countries throughout the world; visit their website to find a retailer near you! But for now, keep reading to learn more about the products pictured above from the Monoi Coconut line (which are safe for all hair types).

1.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Shampoo

This shampoo is perfection:  from the scent, to the formula, and the results.  As someone with oily hair, I’m always looking for products that won’t add any weight or residue.  This shampoo lathers nicely and evenly, leaves hair feeling clean, and obviously, smells amazing.

2.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Conditioner

As I mentioned before, having oily hair means that conditioning products can sometimes be a little scary.  I want my hair to feel soft and look shiny, but most importantly I want it to look and feel clean.   I apply this conditioner in the shower after shampooing, and leave it in for a few minutes while I wash my body, shave, or sing (come on, you do it too!).  When I wash it out, my hair is left feeling soft, detangled, and moisturized without any extra weight or greasiness.   Oh yeah, and did I mention these products smell fantastic?…

 3.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

Used 1-2 times per week, this deep conditioner helps moisturize and repair damage.  Just apply to wet, clean hair, leave in for 10 minutes or so, and rinse well.  My preference is to start by applying it to the ends of my hair (where I have more damage) and work my way up to my scalp.  This product (along with the SHINE Oil below) is so popular that one is purchased every 5 seconds!

 4.Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing SHINE Oil

I’ve always used and loved hair oils because of their versatility.  You can use them on wet hair to help moisturize and detangle, or you can use them on dry hair to help tame frizzy hair and add shine.  This oil is the perfect consistency and weight, allowing it to absorb quickly and work its magic without making hair greasy or oily.  Just remember to use a small amount, and concentrate on the ends of your hair (avoid applying directly to your roots).

Have you tried any Hask Beauty products before?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

January 2016 Favourites

There are many great things about Winter (personally, I can’t name any but Christmas), but with it tends to come dry and dull skin, frizzy hair, and hands you want to hide in your gloves.  My January favourites happen to be products that help with all of these problems (plus a little glitz).  Let’s get to it!

1. Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Face Primer

I received a sample of this primer a few months ago, and didn’t start using it until recently.  With all the acne products I’ve been using, there have been days where my skin just needs some serious moisture (dry skin + makeup = not fun).  It applies more like a moisturizer, with a yummy, coconut scent.  As someone who has very oily skin, I typically go for a primer that will mattify.  But what I love about this primer is that it gives you a soft, dewy finish without the oil and shine.  It absorbed quickly on my skin and makeup applied easily over top.  This primer is silicone free (a common allergen), cruelty-free, and vegan friendly.

2. Jergens Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Moisturizer

While I typically tend to choose a moisturizer more based on scent than anything, this Winter I’ve been more focused on finding a high-quality product that soothes dryness and lasts all day long.  This moisturizer by Jergens does just that.  It’s got a soft, clean scent, a rich and luxurious consistency, and applies evenly.  I wasn’t sure it would live up to its claim of leaving skin more radiant, but it honestly does.  It leaves my skin with a dewy sheen, but dries quickly.

3. Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Hairbrush

This brush is as fun to use as it looks.  On wet or dry hair, the soft, flexible bristles gently fight tangles while fitting perfectly into your hand (thanks to its ergonomic shape).  You can even bring it with you in the shower to comb through your conditioner or hair mask.  Because it requires less pulling or tugging than a normal hairbrush, you’ll notice less breakage and increased shine.  Even better? It comes in a variety of colour combinations.  Which one will you choose?

4. Olive and Piper Floret Crystal Studs

I promised glitz, didn’t I?  I received these earrings in my gift bag at the Spark Sessions blogger conference late last year, and have worn them countless time since.  I love that they have a vintage-inspired look, and that they dress up nearly any outfit.  I’ve paired mine with sweaters, dresses, even a leather jacket…I just can’t get enough!

5. FarmHouse Fresh Marshmallow Melt Shea Butter Hand Cream

This hand cream smells good enough to eat (even my boyfriend asked “what is that?”).  But aside from it smelling amazing, it’s also seriously effective, leaving my hands soft and easing any itchiness or dryness (I love applying this at night before bed).  You can purchase this cream in-store at Blossom Lounge in Toronto’s Distillery District (or online), and can choose from a variety of (adorably named) scents including “Fluffy Bunny” and “Front Porch Punch”.  The compact 2.4 oz size means you can keep one in your purse, your car, your bedside, and beyond!

What have you been loving for the month of January?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Beauty Innovations to Make Your Fall Days a Breeze

Fall Beauty Innovations

As someone who’s not much of  a “morning person” to begin with, Fall’s late sunrises certainly do not make things any easier (not to mention the cooler, drier temperatures that wreak havoc on your hair and skin).  The good news, is that there are some awesome (and fun) products available to help you make your Fall mornings and days easier, and some that may even allow you to catch a few extra zzz’s.

1. Deborah Lippmann “Genie In A Bottle” Illuminating Nail Tone Perfector

In Fall especially, I love a gorgeous oxblood or navy nail polish.  But we all know the frustration that is removing it: stained nails and cuticles, and yellowed tips…ugh.  However this handy polish by Deborah Lippmann is changing the Fall nail game.  Simply apply a coat under your favourite polish to  protect and enhance your natural nail tone.  You can also wear it on its own for natural, luminous looking nails.

2. Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil

Much like my choice of nail colour, Fall also inspires me to bring out my darker berry, brown, and purple lipsticks and glosses.  After all, what better way to change up your look than with a statement lip, right?  The problem is, sometimes the “statement” is that your carefully-applied lipstick is now feathering and bleeding outside the lines (grrr!).  Solution? Urban Decay’s Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil.  Line the outside of your lips with this clear pencil for long-lasting lip colour that stays where it’s applied.  Want even more staying power?  Apply it under your lipstick to help it last all day.  But wait, it gets even better.  You can also use this product as a primer when covering up blemishes and fine lines, and as a beauty eraser to correct any makeup mishaps (example: for those fun times when your mascara ends up on your cheek instead of your eyelashes).  This multi-tasker is a Fall must-have!

3. Conair InfinitiPro “The Ultimate Brush”

The dry air this time of year means there’s a good chance that your freshly straightened hair is going to be visited by Fall’s good friend: static electricity.  And no matter how much product or water you add, sometimes it just seems as if it’s never going to leave.  This handy hair innovation by Conair, “The Ultimate Brush“, contains a battery-powered (2X AAA) ionic generator that acts to “neutralize the static charge, smoothing the cuticle for an instant shiny, frizz-free finish” (conaircanada.ca).  That’s right, the static in your hair can now be turned off with the slide of a switch. Dreams do come true.

4. Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer

Now that we have our dry, static-y hair problem solved, it’s time to show some love to our skin.  There’s two things about applying moisturizer that frustrate me: 1. waiting for your skin to dry after the shower, and 2. waiting to get dressed while your moisturizer soaks in.  Luckily, this Wet Skin Moisturizer by Jergens solves both of these problems.  Simply apply to your skin before you exit the shower, and then pat dry with a towel (no need to rinse!)  Because your pores are open from the heat of  the shower, your skin is more receptive to absorbing moisture.  In fact, studies have shown this product actually moisturizes 2X’s more, and in half the time, than with ordinary lotion.  In a nutshell, this means you can sleep in a little longer and have gorgeous, moisturized skin.  Where can I sign up for a lifetime supply?

Have you tried any of these products?  Are there any beauty innovations you’re loving?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Review: Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Face, Body, and Hair Mask


ZakiasMorocco

After reading about Zakia’s Morocco Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Powder, I was excited by its versatility: you can use it as a face mask, a hair mask, a clarifying shampoo, or as a whole body treatment.  This product is made of 100% pure, natural clay mined in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and has cleansing, toning, detoxifying, and rejuvenating properties.

So how does it work?  All you need is the Ghassoul powder and water (and of course, a small bowl and spoon for mixing).  After testing out this product as a facial mask, I found the best ratio for me was 3 tablespoons water to 1 heaping tablespoon of powder (so that it becomes a pasty texture).  Simply apply it to your face, let dry for around 10 minutes, and rinse off! Use this mask weekly for the best results. Want the full-body experience? Just make more!

For the hair mask, simply follow the same directions to create the paste, apply to your scalp and hair, and leave on for 5-10 minutes.  For the clarifying shampoo, simply mix a palm-full of your favourite shampoo with an equal amount of Ghassoul powder, mix it together, and shampoo your hair as you normally would.  This is not something I’ve tried yet, but is next on my list as I love a good clarifying treatment!

My experience. I found the mask super easy to prepare and apply, and simple to wash off.  All it took was a few splashes of water on my face to rinse it all away, leaving my skin feeling toned and refreshed.  As someone with really oily skin, I loved that it left my face feeling smooth and matte.  The instructions state that you may notice your skin becomes slighly reddish for 15-30 minutes after use (as the skin is detoxified), but personally I didn’t experience this.  What’s also great is that this mask is gentle enough to naturally treat common skin irritations such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Overall, the Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask is both effective and a great value for money: it’s basically 4 products in one!  Want to give it a try?  Zakia’s Morocco is offering 20% off their entire store, just use the code: ZMBLOG-214.  In addition to this, Zakia’s Morocco will be giving away 10 gift certificates valued at $50.00 each! To enter, click here.

Have you tried this mask? Or are you going to be purchasing? Let me know in the comments below!

*Product provided via Brandbacker for consideration.  All opinions are honest and are my own.

 

 

Chic for Cheap: Dry Texture Spray

Dry Texturizing Spray

I consider myself lucky to have hair that straightens fairly effortlessly, however once straightened, it tends to just fall flat.  I’d been looking for a product that would provide volume and texture without weighing my hair down or making it look greasy.  A few months ago, I purchased Bumble and bumble’s “Thickening Dryspun Finish” styling product.  According to the Sephora website, this product claims to create “instant fullness and texture to spin hair into an airy silhouette. Raw silk powders with light-holding polymers adhere instantly for a softly interlaced texture to make hair look weightless and effortlessly full—and keep it that way”.  To use this product, you simply spray it in your hair similar to a hairspray, and then tousle with your fingertips.  The truth is, I love this product (especially its scent), however what’s not so loveable, is that it hits your wallet hard at $37.00 for a 4oz bottle.

I was excited to see that Garnier Fructis Style has recently come out with a similar dry-touch finishing product, “De-Constructed Texture Tease”.  I tested it out, and let me tell you, the results are extremely similar.  It doesn’t have the musky scent that I love about the Bumble and bumble spray (however it does have a pleasant smell), but can we talk about how it is less than 1/5th of the price at just $6.99 per 3.8oz bottle?!

Both products use a similar technology, and I found they both lasted the same amount of time (you may need to touch-up your hair mid-day).  This product is not only great for the days you wear your hair down, but also for when you’re looking to create voluminous ponytails and updo’s. Tried either of these products? Let me know in the comments below!

#Dealoftheday Nautical Hair Ties

Hairties

Ahoy! How cute are these nautical hair ties from Old Navy?  I’ve recently started loving these “ribbon” style hair ties because:

1.  they don’t leave a dent in your hair like regular hair ties do (seriously, they really don’t!)

2. they don’t snag your hair (ouch!)

3. they double as a fun bracelet

What I love even more? This whole package of 6 ties was just $2.25!

New Favourite Alert! Clear Scalp and Hair Therapy

Clear Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve been struggling lately to find a shampoo and conditioner that I really love.  They either make my hair too dry or too greasy: there just seems to be no happy medium.  Another problem I encounter from using heavy shampoos and conditioners, is a dry, itchy scalp, which ultimately can lead to dandruff.  What you’re probably thinking is, “grab a bottle of Head & Shoulders and stop whining”, but given that half of my hair is dyed and half is natural (courtesy of ombre),  I don’t want to risk damaging or stripping the colour from my hair (as per the advice many beauty experts and hair stylists). (more…)

Mane Attraction: My Current Hair Favourites!

Hair FavouritesWhen it comes to hair products, I’m pretty picky, and when I find products that I think work well, I’m also pretty loyal to them.  I wanted to share some of the best products that I use on a daily basis.  Keep in mind that I have coloured, damaged hair, so for some of these treatments, you may want to select similar products if you have a different hair type.  I’ve also tried to include a more budget-friendly version for some of the pricier (but well worth it!) products.  Let’s get started!

1. Ion Colour Defense Clarifying Shampoo $6.99

Though you can use this product every day, I prefer to use it once or twice a week, alternating with my regular shampoo.  This product is great at removing all the guck and residue left from hairsprays, dry shampoos, and other styling products, without removing your precious (and expensive!) hair dye.  It leaves your hair squeaky clean and is especially great when using a deep conditioning treatment (like the one below).  Another great alternative if you don’t have colour treated hair is the Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo (note: this product can strip your hair colour).

2. Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask $28.00

The first time I used this mask, I didn’t see what all the hype was about.  After a few uses however, I was definitely in love.  Apply this in the shower and leave on for 5 minutes or so before rinsing, and you’ll be left with soft, manageable hair.  You can even put this on at bedtime and wear it as an overnight mask, washing out in the morning.  If this product isn’t in your beauty budget, try Aussie 3 Minute Miracle or TRESemme Platinum Strength Renewing Deep Conditioning Treatment.

3. Moroccanoil Treatment Oil $39.00

This is one of the items that I usually ask for at Christmas or birthdays, because I slightly cringe at the thought of a hair product that costs close to $50.00.  But honestly, this product is worth every penny.  Not only does it smell delicious (like a tropical vacation), it also works extremely well, and one large bottle lasts a really long time (about 6-7 months).  You can apply this product to wet or dry hair, and can also use it as a heat protectant before drying, straightening, or curling your hair.  Even better? This oil can also be used as a body or massage oil! A budget friendly product that is similar to this product is the Got2b Oil-licous Calm and Shine Styling Oil.

4. OSIS+ Magic Finish $19.99

I use this product once my hair is dry, typically after straightening to tame those annoying flyaways.  A little bit goes a long way, so one bottle lasts a really long time (over a year for me!).  I love that this product gives beautiful shine and provides manageability without making your hair look greasy.  A less expensive but similar product is the Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Finishing Crème.

5. John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer $9.99

This is my can’t-live-without product for creating sleek ponytails or taming second day hair.  The easy to use wand makes it a cinch to apply, and the product is not greasy or clumpy.  I use it mostly where my hair parts to flatten flyaways, or for those annoying baby hairs that frame the face.  I love this product so much that I bought out the stock at Shoppers Drug Mart when it was on clearance one day (now that’s love!).

6.  L’Oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray for Coloured Hair $14.00

This hairspray is the perfect combination of strong hold and manageability.  It gives me soft, bouncy curls that last all night but don’t feel crunchy or hard.  Some people complain that the smell is very old-fashioned, but I actually don’t mind it at all.  In fact, this product is a favourite of many celebrities and hair stylists, (you can find pictures of Kourtney Kardashian raiding the shelves for it!).

7.  Batiste Dry Shampoo $8.00

I’ve already expressed my love for this product in a recent post, but in a nutshell, this product provides volume, a great scent, and the illusion of squeaky clean hair…enough said!

“If your hair is done properly and you have on good shoes, you can get away with anything.” ~Iris Apfel