Friday, January 31, 2014

January Favorites!

January's Favorites

Now that the month of January has past, I thought it would be great to pick my favorite beauty products of the month that I purchased and share them with you!  The majority of these can be found at your nearest Sephora or directly from the company who makes them online! 

Too Faced Pink Leopard Bronzer- $38 CDN

I am currently obsessed with this bronzer!  First this is one of the prettiest packages I have ever seen on a bronzer! Second, this bronzer also has shimmer shades of pink in it that when applied to your skin gives a blush/bronzer glow!  However this bronzer mostly appears on lighter skin tones, so dark ones might have to apply a lot of it or pick a different color in order to see it.  This bronzer is nicely packed so not to much product ends up falling all over the place! I highly recommend this bronzer if you what a blush/bronzer glow!  You can order it from their Too Faced website or pick one up at your nearest Sephora!

Vita Liberata pHenomenal Tan Mousse- $54/$64 CDN

I received a sample of this after purchasing an online order from Sephora.  I was amazed on just how awesome this left my skin. I applied it once after following the instructions to my legs and I had the nicest tan glow!  It looked real and didn't streak or stain my skin.  I received this sample in medium and though I applied it only once, the color showed up lovely on my legs. I plan to buy the full bottle version in fair skin so that I can build it up so it last longer and still looks natural in comparison to the rest of my body.   Can't wait for the spring when its time to whip out the skirts again! 

When I first bought this I was not to sure what to expect.  But after using it for two months, I am still amazed at the results!  This helps my extending mascara to extend even more my lashes!  It works lovely to also help separate my lashes and give them thickness and volume!  Though it comes out white, however it dries clear and never interferes with your mascara! Love this mascara primer and highly recommend it!
 Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection- $45 CDN

This was love at first sight!  When I first saw this on Sephora I just knew I had to have it!  It leaves your eyes looking so elegant and beautiful.  It comes with three tutorial cards for three different looks that are wearable day or night!  I can't say enough about this palette and I just find myself reaching for it all the time!  If any palette is worth investing in, this is one of them!

I have been using my beauty blender forever and swore I would never give it up.  However, I decided to try out something new called a Stippling brush because of all the buzz it was creating.  Upon doing my research, I heard that Real Techniques makes one of the best stippling brushes out there for a fraction of the cost.  So I went online and ordered one and wow was I amazed at the results.  It left me with an airbrush flawless effect and didn't streak my face.  I love using this to apply and blend my liquid foundation!  It cleans off easily and it has yet to shed! I highly recommend this brush if you are in the market for a stippling brush!

When I first got this eye shadow, it was in a points reward set that I redeemed for Christmas. I heard so much about this eye shadow that I was pleasantly happy when it came in the set.  I love this eye shadow and the shimmer glowing look it gives your eyes!  I can see why everyone just raves about this color.  It has beautiful hues of pink, beige and very very light brown.  I just can't say enough about this color!  You can pick this up at your nearest Sephora! They have other great colors in their collections worth trying as well!

Keep Smiling!

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Favorite Product of The Week! Beauty Blender Sponge

Beauty Blender- $26.00 CDN

My first foundation sponge was of course none other then those white wedge sponges that at one point everyone including makeup artist used to apply foundation.  When I realized that Prescriptives was selling a foundation brush, that was the  first time I had ever tried one.  So I bought it and used for over 10 years.  When kabuki brushes came out, I knew I had to try that so I rushed out and got one as well.  I used that one for about a year, but still was never satisfied with how my makeup ever looked with any of those foundation applicator tools.  That is until I heard, bought and tried the beauty blender sponge.

Out of all the tools I have used in my life to apply my foundation and concealer, nothing has worked as well as my beauty blender.  I cannot say enough about this product.  This sponge works like magic. It makes my foundation go on smoothly, leaves no streaks behind and blends so amazingly.  It literally gives you a flawless coverage to the point where if you stipple it, it hide your pores with your foundation that it gives you a porcelain like complexion!  I know the famous makeup artist Wayne Goss says not to over do it with the perfect no pore complexion, but I just love the way it makes my face look.

You can buy this online from the company directly or go to your nearest Sephora and pick one up there. This sponge is very easy to clean and works well when applying concealer and powder foundation or powder in general.  This is my HG tool for foundation.  And yes while I still do have my foundation brush and kabuki brush, this sponge is the first thing I pull out every time!

Keep Smiling!
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bell Let's Talk Campaign Mental Health!

In Ontario we face many issues just like any other Province or State. Nonetheless one of our biggest issues is mental health.  According to the statistics:

In any given year, one in five Canadians experiences a mental health or addiction problem.

About 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.

2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgment and rejection.

Every day, 500,000 Canadians miss work due to a form of mental illness.

Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.

Less than 4% of medical research funding goes to mental illness research.

In real life (as oppose to my fake life I guess) I work as a psychotherapist in Toronto, ON in Forensics. I have my own private practice but under supervision by two great psychologists and mentors.  Nonetheless part of my practice involves psychotherapy which means talking to individuals about their problems.  Since psychologists and psychotherapists are not covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) everyone who needs to see us must pay either out of pocket or through private insurance.  Nonetheless, many private insurance companies will only pay a small tiny portion for these services.  However for all the rest who can't afford to pay or don't have private insurance, they are left at a disadvantage.  While OHIP does cover for an individual to see a psychiatrist or GP psychotherapist for therapy, nonetheless the wait time is about 1-2 years before you get to speak to anyone.  A 1-2 year wait in any case is a 1-2 years too late for any one needing mental help.         

The Government of Ontario identified a few years back that mental health in Ontario is seriously under funded.   Psychologist have been fighting for years to get on the OHIP "roaster" so that people with mental health issues could see them free of charge, yet that has prove to no avail.  They are currently fighting to get prescription privileges in order to prescribe mediation to those who need it and can't wait 1-2 years to see a doctor to get it.   The inability for many to access free or affordable mental healthcare is an issue that should not exist.  Just as much as I can access normal healthcare for a broken leg, I should be able to access mental healthcare when my mind is "broken" and is in need of repair.  Mental illnesses are still health issues that need attention, promptly.     

Part of the issue is that many people don't understand mental health.  They think that people with mental health are crazy and only know what Hollywood puts out.  Truth is mental health illness is no different then those with cancer, broken legs, or hair loss.  People with mental illness are still people who are just sick in a different part of their body and need help.  The majority are no more dangerous then the banker who just lost one million of his investors dollars and needs to find a way to replace matter what it takes.  So those with mental illness are not to be feared, but to be respected and loved in the same manner that someone who breaks their legs is respected, loved and cared after by their family.  

The reason why I do my job is not because it pays the bills, but because it can change lives when someone is staring at death as a way out. In my career I have saved a handful of patients who have been suicidal and needed to be sent to the hospital for emergency treatment.  That is one of the toughest calls I have had to make, but I wouldn't have it or risk it any other way.  Nonetheless those patients were lucky that they had access to a psychotherapist in general who made that call and saved their life.  Now, what happens to those who don't have that access and are slowly dying in their despair, pain, sorrow and see no way out but suicide.  Or what about those where their mental illness just gets worse and worse where it eventually acts like gangrene and takes over their whole mind where there is nothing left of them?  In our life time we will know someone who has or is suffering from mental illness and who has or has not been able to receive mental help for their issues.

Bell Lets Talk campaign is donating  5 cents for everyone who tweets or re-post on facebook.  Even if you are not from Ontario I urge to do it.  Because one day someone you care about will need some sort of mental help, and funding will be what stands between them getting help or them sinking in deeper in their issues.  No one should have to deal with a mental health issue alone and certain not because they lack the funds to seek help. So please click on the link below and re-tweet.  That somebody might be you one day and you will be thankful that someone cared enough and that funding existed to help you! 

ITS FREE! All you need to do is repost to facebook or care enough to re-tweet!

Click to learn how to help out in Bell Lets Talk Campaign!!

Dayana Romero
BA, M.A.C.P., Dip. Addict, M.Sc. Forensic (c)

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Review of The Week! Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Foundation

Last year I decided to get into mineral makeup because I heard it was very good for your skin. However after wearing it for almost six months, I didn't really like the way it made my skin look. While it physically didn't hurt my skin, however I always look like...well I was wearing makeup. Powdered makeup to be exact and that was just not flying with. I like the no makeup, makeup look. I believe foundation should be like a second skin on your face and not like a mask. Moreover, I have pretty decent skin so I didn't want my foundation to hide my face but to extenuate it. However after researching many foundation, I still didn't find any that gave that "second skin" look. That is until I hear of Guerlain.
One day late at night I was watching youtube and saw a girl named Ruby Golani applying this foundation on her makeup video. I loved the way it literally blended into her skin and just disappeared but still covered up any and all of her flaws. So I decided I need to buy it and try it out. I went to the Hudson Bay to see if they had a Guerlain counter and (thank God) they did. The girl tried them all on me and none were working until she reached 02 Beige Clair. That color literally disappeared into my skin. However to my great disgust she was out and was not sure when this foundation color would be coming back into stock. I then ran to Sephora and realized it was being sold there as well. They had 2 bottles left. I grabbed one and ran to the counter to pay for it. The next day I woke up early and tried it and was AMAZED on just how beautiful it looked on my skin!

Guerlain Lingerie De Peau Invisible Skin Fusion Foundation SPF 20 is by far the best foundation I have ever tried that actually gives you a no foundation look. This foundation goes on smoothly and dries quickly. It seems like you have a second skin only just flawless and nothing like Hannibal Lecter type freakish! This also has SPF 20. However with that being said, don't rely on this or any SPF in makeup to protect you from the sun. You would need to apply this VERY heavily in order to actually receive the benefits of an SPF 20 protection. Don't believe me!? Click here to read my post on SPF in makeup and why you need a separate SPF to protection your face against the suns UV rays. Moreover, this foundation ONLY comes in 8 shades. Therefore, it leaves a very large group of skin tones out especially those who have dark colored skin tones.
The only thing I don't like about this foundation is that it does contain a small amount of alcohol and fragrance in the bottle. Two things which are not good for your skin and for many can actually cause irritation. I hope Guerlain realizes this and eventually removes this from their formula because these two small things are the only reason this is not my favorite product of the week. I do not believe at all that you should ever put alcohol products on your face. This causes free radical cell damage to your skin and totally not necessary to make a product this great. However with that being said, if you are not allergic to these two ingredients, then this foundation might be for you if you truly want that flawless finish and don't mind the small amount of alcohol and fragrance in it!
Keep Smiling!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Vita Liberata pHenomenal Tan Mousses!

Vita Liberata pHenomenal Tan Mousse- $54/$64 CDN

I refuse to tan with the rays of the sun due to the damage that this does to your skin and causes premature wrinkles. Click here to read my blog on how I explained how dangerous this process really is.  Nonetheless, due to this, I walk around Casper white all year around.  However thank goodness for companies like Vita Liberata who make products to give you the same result that sun tanning does with the negative effects of it. 

Anyone who seriously knows me, knows that I am addicted to Sephora.  My own husband has no idea how deep my addiction goes (shhhh!!).  On my most recent online shopping "trips", I had the option of checkout with free samples.  One of these samples was a generous supply of Vita Liberata's tanning mousse in the color medium that came with a free mitt! When I finally received my package at home, I was shocked to see just how big this sample size was.  I decided to wait till the weekend to use it.  Now just so you know what I am working with here, my skin is very pale and thin.  So that means you see the veins on my legs, arms and chest with no problems at all which is really not attractive during the summer months.

So, after putting all the kids to bed, I read the the instructions on the back of the bottle and away I went.  I first exfoliated my legs in the shower with my puff as they recommend to do. I then dried then off and got the mitt out and applied the product to the mitt.  It comes out like a very dark mousse from the bottle which at first freaked me out.  However once I applied it, I realize that it left a nice stain on my skin letting me know which areas I had applied it to and which areas still needed application.  I used this tanning mousse the whole time with my tanning mitt glove that was included in the package.  I applied it on my legs in circular massaging motions as they stated.  I covered the tops of feet and toes (don't forget those toes) my legs, knees and thighs.  I applied it on both the front and back of legs with ease.  This product dried right away with NO smell which was great.  It did not stain my sheets at night and my skin didn't feel grease, gritty, or dirty.  I could immediately see the tan slightly forming. There was no greenish or orange look that many self tanner leave behind.

When I woke up the next morning, I literally threw off the covers to see my legs.  My legs looked they were either tanned by the sun or if I was naturally born that way.  I ran around all day asking my husband if he see the tan on my legs and admiring them in the mirror.  I was amazed for the first time, my veins were not as visible as they usually are.  My legs looked even, not blotchy or streaked. 

However, I did notice that I had one streak, but that was my fault.  The instructions clearly say to massage the product in to your skin by using circular motions, and one time I swiped up instead of doing as stated.  Therefore that mistake is my own.  However outside of that, it looked great.

I will admit I didn't reapply it 2-3 times more because I had the product in the color medium.  And being so fair skin, I didn't want my legs to look so tanned while the rest of me was white. I don't think that would looking convincing or natural.  I plan to buy this product in the color fair in the summer so that way I can apply it the 2-3 times as stated in order to make it last longer.  

If you are looking for a good self tanner then this is it! It comes in three colors: Fair, Medium and Dark to suit all tastes! Read the instructions properly, use the mitt and it is a for sure thing that you will get a nice glowing tan!  You can pick one of these great self tanners up at your nearest Sephora!

Keep smiling!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection!

Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft & Sexy Eye Shadow Collection - $36.00 US

(Disclosure: this post contains affiliated links)

When I first saw this palette on Sephora's website, I fell in love.  When I then saw that it had a mirror and three cards to show you how to apply three different looks, I knew right there I had to marry it...or well at least buy it and take it home!!  Being that I always get lost when I step foot inside Sephora due to its magical properties and inviting scents, I decided to order it online to avoid being taken in by its wonderland of colors! When it arrived at my home a week later I couldn't wait to try it out! I found out two days before I had to go back to work, that I had to go back to work after having my baby! So I felt this was just fitting to make my grand entrance back to my private practice.  

I woke up early that morning, showered, changed and spent my time with this palette....45 minutes to be exact.  Yeah I know its crazy, but I love my career and nothing says success when you can look and play the part! I settled on the 'classic' look for my eyes which was one of the examples on the cards.  I was so impressed with how pigmented this palette is.  The colors are rich beautiful hues of light pinks, purples and grey's.   I also youtube this palette to see how other people were wearing it and how many different looks you can accomplish with it.  

My eyes looked so elegant all day long.  The eyeshadows did not move once throughout the day.  I didn't come to wash my face till 10pm at night.  Mind you I had this on since 7am in the morning.  My eyeshadow literally looked like it had just been applied.  The colors never lost their luster not even once and they really stood out without being to bold.  I wore it to work in the morning and then to dinner at night and the Classic eyeshadow look fit both events!

I highly recommend this palette if you want something to stand out on your eyes but over take them or draw to much attention and if you are looking for something to give your eyes a beautiful candle like glow!

Keep Smiling!

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders - $52 CDN   ($45 US)

When I first heard of this product I was so skeptical it wasn't even funny. Like come on, please...a powder that can give you a candlelight like glow without being photoshopped?! I was so skeptical that I knew I had to buy it to prove everyone wrong.  So I ran (not walked) to my nearest Sephora and bought it with my Christmas gift card that I just received because I didn't believe, I couldn't believe that such a product existed.  And since I don't believe in waiting till Dec 25 to open up my gifts I figured Christmas was coming early for me that year! 

Upon arriving home after my skeptical shopping adventure, I tried it on right away.  I was SHOCKED to see that standing under my bathroom light in the mirror my face looked flawless with a candle light effect on the spots I placed the powder on. I think I admired myself so long that I lost track of time (seriously). I place this powder on the tops of my cheek bones, tops of my eyebrows, forehead, down the bridge of my nose, cupid's bow and chin.  You only need a little as it goes a long way.

I could not believe this product actually lived up to the hype. In the light it does really give you a candlelight effect which looks realistic.  What I love even more about these powders is that it comes in six different colors.  According to Sephora's website, the colors are:

Ethereal Light: A sheer, cool tone that eliminates shine and mimics a moonlit glow—even in broad daylight.

Diffused Light: A soft, warm, pale yellow that reduces redness, eliminates shine, and gives skin clarity.

Dim Light: A neutral soft beige that provides a perfect balance of warm and cool tones to blur imperfections.

Mood Light: A soft, sheer lavender pink that mimics the softest, most forgiving light and brightens the complexion.

Luminous Light: A champagne pearl that creates a soft, incandescent candlelit glow—day or night.

Radiant Light: A sun-kissed golden beige that enhances the overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth.

The compact is larger then normal size on all these powders.  It encompasses the whole size of my palm which for a powder is pretty big.  I currently only have it in Luminous Light, but I for sure plan to buy all five compacts and test them out under different lighting and events. 

However, keep in mind that all these colors do not work on every skin tone. Your best bet is to try them out before buying them.  Sephora has horrible lighting.  So I would recommend you test it first, walk around the mall or store and check it against different lighting.  They are pretty expensive so you want to make sure you get the right one that works for you!  Even though Sephora does allow you to return items, but still its a hassle to do this!

Hourglass has come out with a limited edition Ambient Lighting Palette that houses three shades.  Incandescent Light which is a new limited edition color, and two from their normal powders, Dim Light and Radiant Light.  While the palette powder is not as big as the normal powders, however it does allow you to try out three different colors.  I could not find this palette at Sephora, so you might have to order it from Hourglass's website.  Nonetheless, all these colors are fabulous to play with!

 Keep Smiling!
Incandescent Light, and two existing, Dim Light and Radiant Light - See more at:
Incandescent Light, and two existing, Dim Light and Radiant Light - See more at:
Incandescent Light, and two existing, Dim Light and Radiant Light - See more at:
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Stop Foundation From Oxidizing!


What happens when your foundation goes rouge on you and I don't mean in a blush way?  Well its called oxidization.  Basically many individuals with oily and possible combination skin (and not) have the unfortunate experience of having their foundation either true orange or a shade or two darker then what they originally applied. As you can see, I doubt it Snooki decided that morning to wake up and apply foundation that would make her look like a burnt orange lollipop.  Nonetheless, this process can be very frustrating and expensive if you can't figure out why this keeps happening to you nor how to stop it.  Therefore I searched the net for information on why this happens and how to stop in order to allow you to enjoy your foundation and negate the Snooki look!  

Oxidation happens when chemicals react to our facial oils/PH balance and counteract with the ingredients in our foundation.  This can also happen if you apply sunscreen before hand.  Common chemicals it reacts to are Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxides and Iron oxides.  When applying sunscreen, its best you apply another product on top to create a barrier so these chemicals don't interact.  

Environmental weather is also a factor to consider.  The more humidity there is where you live, the higher the chances of oxidization happening to your foundation.  Air is another factor. However since we need it to breath and it is all around us, the best thing you can do is make sure your foundation is tightly closed when you are done applying it.  The less air your foundation in the bottle is exposed to, the better.  Try to buy foundation that comes in a air tight pump bottle which helps to keep air out.

If you are using makeup that is as old as your grandmother, you can assure yourself that it will probably oxidize on you 100%.   Remember everything has a shelf life. The older foundation gets the odds are that the liquid inside will separate.  And no, shaking it over and over again to get it to mix won't change the fact for a product that is that old and ancient.  You wouldn't eat five day old meat left out on the kitchen table so why put two year old foundation on your face?

So what can you do to stop foundation from oxidizing?  Check out some suggestions below to see which ones might work for you!

First, use foundation primer that is silicone based.  An example of this is Bare Escentuals Prime Time Foundation Primer - $27 CDN.  You can find this or any silicone foundation primer at your nearest Sephora.  The point of primer is not only to help your makeup stay on longer, but create a barrier between the oils on your face and your foundation in order to help stop or minimize the oxidization process and not allow the chemicals to interact.      

Another great product you can use that I saw mentioned all over the internet was Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement - $84.00 CDN.  While this supplement is pretty steep in price, however since it is loaded with antioxidants, it helps created a prefect barrier to avoid makeup from oxidizing.   

One keep ingredient to stopping oxidization is to properly hydrate your skin before applying primer and/or foundation.  Michael Todd True Organic Damascus Rose Moisturizer - $36 US.  This product is very emollient so it will help to moisturize your skin without leaving it oily.

  Changing your diet and lifestyle can go a long way.  The more acidic you are on the PH scale and the more acidic foods you put into your body, the higher chances you have of your foundation oxidizing.  Your normal drugstore sells strips that you can pee on to see how high your PH balance is.  If you are concerned about your PH balance, I would recommend trying out these strips or speaking to your doctor about your levels and how to normalize them.  A proper range is 5.5 on the PH scale. 


Get a foundation that is 1-2 shades lighter then your normal skin tone. If you really want to keep using that brand of foundation but you know it will oxidize on you, then your best bet is to do this.  So when it does oxidize it will look like your normal skin color or the foundation color that you normally apply.  Also, stay away for oil based foundation if you have oily skin.  These two do not go hand in hand if your skin type is oily.  Keep in mind that all foundations have a chance of oxidizing on you.  However they all differ depending on your PH balance.  While some may oxidize on you all the time, others not so much.  So try out different brands or pick lighter shades if you refuse to give up on your brand.

While sunscreen can cause oxidization due to it containing Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide, you will NEVER hear me say not to wear sunscreen.  You need sunscreen on your face all the time when going out during the day.  I rather look like an orange yellow top all day long before I end up with skin cancer.  Everyone who knows me knows that the only thing I cannot live without is sunscreen.  So if you wear sunscreen underneath your makeup (and you should) then look for one that has UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum protection.  I highly recommend Elta MD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 -$27 CDN.  However since sunscreen does have chemicals that cause the oxidization process in foundation, I recommend you apply this after you moisturize but before your primer to help build that barrier.

Now a word of caution: Don't be fooled with ANY makeup that says it contains SPF.  While its true that it does have SPF in it, however according to the medical literature you have to apply it extremely heavily in order to get proper cover from the sun.  Nothing replaces an actual sunscreen.  So unless you are willing to sport the look below, the "I wore way to much foundation look", get a proper sunscreen.  Click here if you want to learn more about SPF in makeup and how it really doesn't work!

 Keep Smiling!

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Retinol! What Is It and Why You Need It!


For the last past few years, Retinol has been on the lips of just about every man and women who has great beautiful skin.  I have always known that retinol is necessary starting in your 30's but I just never really knew what it was....till now!  So, I went on a wild research chase looking up retinol. I ended up speaking to a male doctor friend of mine who is a complete product freak and he said "if you are not using retinol at our age, then you are not using anything at all!".  He send me great medical literature to back up the claims on retinol and here is what I found out.

1. All retinol should only be used at night. When retinol is exposed to sunlight, the sunlight breaks it down causing it to be ineffective. Even if you use SPF on top of it; according to the literature you are wasting your money. " Like tretinoin, retinol encourages skin cell turnover; this new skin is delicate and should not be exposed to the sun. That is why these ingredients should only be found in products intended for night use. Vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, rapidly break down when exposed to the sun and air. That’s why retinol containing products should always come in pumps or tubes with tight-fitting caps. Once opened, these products do not keep well and should be used within a couple of months." WebMd

2. Any product that says retinol and SPF mixed in from it.  It doesn't have enough retinol to help you and has been watered down by the SPF. Retinol should be bought in its purest form.

3. All retinol should have be at least 0.5 in the ingredients to make a difference. Anything lower then that is a joke. If the ingredients doesn't state a percentage then don't buy it, it might not have enough of anything to make a real difference. However for some anything higher then 0.5 can cause irritation so build up to it.  Start off by using it 2-3 times a week and in small amounts. 1-2 pumps should be more then enough to cover your whole face and neck. 

4. Using vitamin C serum with retinol helps to advance the retinol as both work hand in hand. "Research has demonstrated that a combination of vitamins in cosmetics is the way to achieve the best results, including the combination of vitamins A, C, and E. In a double-whammy myth-buster, retinol proved to be not only effective when paired with vitamin C, but the two also worked beautifully to defend skin against free radicals when applied under a sunscreen! That simply wouldn't be the case if retinol made vitamin C ineffective or vice-versa." Paula's Choice.  Retinol is considered a derived of Vitamin A.

5. Even if you use retinol at night, you still MUST WEAR sunscreen in the morning!! By skipping this step you run the high risk of getting a sunburn without trying because your skin is highly sensitive and exposed when Retinol is being applied to it.  So unless you want to sport that sunburn effect look, I would recommend you shop around for a UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum SPF 30 and up. Don't go any lower then 30 SPF and make sure it says UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum.  This is highly important.  Click here to read my blog about SPF sunblock and why its important to wear it.

6. If you decide to buy vitamin c serum, it must come in a black/dark bottle, it must be clear liquid and it should come with a droplet. If you buy it in a cream; for every time you open it, you expose it to much air and light and thus rendering it ineffective. "Topical vitamin C is sold in a wide range of products from serum to lotions. Look for products that contain between 3% and 10% of vitamin C and include the active ingredient ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid. Pay extra attention to the packaging – all antioxidants, including vitamin C, are vulnerable to deterioration in the presence of air and light. Unless the product is in an airtight and opaque package, don’t buy it!" Dr. Oz.  I recently did a blog post on Vitamin C. Click here to read about it!

7. Make sure you know how much percentage of vitamin C is actually in the product before you buy it. Anything less then 3% is ineffective and anything between 15%-20% might be to high for some people.  So double check the numbers to make sure you know what you are putting on your face.

8. Pregnant women should not use retinol but can use vitamin C with no problems. However if you decide to go ahead with these products please consult your doctor as Retinol may cause harm to the baby.

After much research I found three companies that I feel have all the ingredients that a retinol product should have.  However with that being said, by all means feel free to disagree and/or do your research on other products.  These are just suggestions. Nonetheless, while these are just suggestions, as a consumer you should always do your homework to make sure these products are right for you and always speak to your doctor before using any and all products.  

Cosmetic Skin Solutions Retinol 1.0 Creme Advanced Formula- $29.95

They have a retinol product of 1.0 percentage which contains vitamin A and E mixed together. However this does come in the highest form, so I would recommend you work up to this potency by using a another retinol product first with less potency or use this product every 2-3 days in order to grow tolerance. 

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 and Retinol 1.0- $60.00 US (each)

Skinceuticals is a comparable company.  This company has two Retinols in 0.5% and 1.0%.  You can start with the 0.5% and work up to the 1.0% in order to help your skin adjust to these numbers.

Interesting note here...a comparison was done by consumers between both Skinceuticals and Cosmetic Skin Solution, and it was found that both seem to have the same exact ingredients. However cosmetics skin solution cost $29.95  bucks and skinceuticals cost $60.  After a test trial by real people, no one saw any difference between the products and agreed they both worked the same.

Paula's Choice RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum- $29.60

Paula's Choice RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum blends retinol, potent antioxidants, and other skin-repairing ingredients. When I emailed them to ask about the percentage they use in their retinol, their company emailed me back saying that information is not released to the public.  However their formula is anywhere between 0.5 to 1.0.  As to why they wouldn't say how much is actually in the bottle beats me as everyone else seems to state it.  However I do trust Paula Begoun so on this one I will let it go....for now.

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol- $22.44

This is another great product by Paula's Choice.  It has Retinol plus antioxidant added in.  As to the amount of Retinol that is in the bottle, the website does not state. However many of those who have used it have talked about the wonders that it has done to their face.

So there you have it folks. Do your homework and go out and find the retinol and percentage that is right for your skin.  Please note, it important to always speak to your doctor first to make sure these type of facial treatments are right for you.

Happy Hunting!

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review Of The Week! Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage!

Let's be honest, I have a pretty fair complexion and very dark under eye circles that at times looks like I have either been up all night breaking night or doing blow.  I have tried and thrown out so many under eye concealers, that at this rate I could open up my own section at Sephora just for this product.

Since having baby number three,  two months ago, I no longer know what sleep is. Instead I have become a machine running on no sleep at night (or during the day) and using makeup to hide my tiredness.

On one of my recent trips to Sephora I decided that I needed a new concealer to hide my dark circles.  I went plain face without makeup (gasp!!) to Sephora in order to try different concealers out.  The nice sales lady told me that Laura Mercier made a good one that is considered full coverage called "Secret Camouflage".  It comes in 8 different shades ranging from very light to fairly dark. It has a dual split pot. One side (the darker side) to match your skin color while the other side (the lighter side) to match your skin undertone. You are suppose to be your own mixologist and combine these two in order to get the color coverage you need to hide all your imperfections.  While this seems like a good idea, nonetheless a few issues come to mind. 

1. Unless you actually know how tones and undertones work, this might be a problem for you if you don't know how much of each side (the dark and the light) to use.
2. This concealer is very heavy and thus offers full coverage.  However with that being said, it dries into any crease you have on your eyes and face if not properly blended or if you have dry skin.
3. You need to warm this up before using or it will be hard to blend.  
4. You need a concealer brush to use this.

I first tried this LM secret camouflage at Sephora.  It did wonders for my under eye circles and really gave them a full coverage coverup. However,  it creased right away. The sales associate said that happened because we didn't set it.  According to her, had we set it, then it would of gone on and stated on smooth. No problem I thought. So I bought it and took it home.  A few days later I tried it again and set it right away. To back up a bit, with my makeup routine, I first apply concealer then foundation.  I don't like how it looks the other way around.  I use foundation to blend it all out and make it look even.  It looked great for the first week that I used it that it made on my "few of my favorite things" blog post.

However as the weeks went by, even after applying my foundation, this concealer settled right into the fine lines of my face (not wrinkles but normal face lines and pores) though I did set it right away.  I then proceeded with my contouring and highlighting plus my face powder and setting powder for my whole face.

When I took a step back and admired the whole look, it left the area around on nose looking very dry, plus it settled into the creases of my eyes and made me look old and puffy.  Now keep in mind I made sure to moisturizer the hell out of my skin because with heavy concealers you need too. I also applied two eye creams in order to make sure my eyes were well hydrated.  Moreover, I heated up the back of my hand with a blow dryer in order to make the product more blended and soft when mixing and applying.

Sadly no matter what I did, this product still left that whole area of my face (nose and eyes) looking dry and creased.  This personally did not work for me no matter how much high hopes I had for it and I will be returning it to Sephora and trying out Bareminerals Correction Concealer on my next trip there.  I will let you know how that goes.  Off to Sephora I go!

Keep Smiling!
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Favorite Product of The Week! Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir

On my quest to find a prefect night cream which would leave me looking like a glowing goddess in the morning, I came across a product that I never knew had so much potential. I have been using Olay products since as far as I can remember. Olay was the first face cream I ever used, and no matter how many times I switched it up in my teens and 20’s, I always came back to Olay. However now in my 30’s my skin needed some serious help and a night cream was in order.

After much research I found that Olay has a product called ‘Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir’ which as the name states, is a serum you use at night before going to bed. So after reading tons of review on and Paula’s Choice, I ran to the drugstore and bought it! $40 later and a tiny bottle, I felt almost robbed before I even started using it because of the size of the bottle. However I was told a very little amount goes a long way, so I decided against returning it and gave it a shot.

Here are the facts:

It contains AHA which is useful to exfoliate your skin.  It comes in a somewhat dark pump style bottle to preserve the serum in it. However, because it is an antioxidant you should store it in a dark place to keep it from deteriorating.  The directions state that after you clean your face at night, you apply it and nothing else as this takes the place of a night cream.  And while this does work as a night cream, it still has AHA in it, so you need a day cream to deal with any sort of dryness you might encounter. Lastly, you NEED TO USE a UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum Protection SPF 30 and up when using any AHA product.  If not you run the risk of getting a sunburn when expose to the sun.

So after reading all the instructions, I slapped it on and went to bed. The next morning I did notice my face looked decent but nothing to write home about. However after using it steadily for 2 months straight, I must say my face looks amazing! It has really given my skin a nice texture and glow. When I wake up in the morning, my face feels hydrated, soft and looks healthy. After two months of using this product; since only a little is needed and one pump gives you more then enough serum for your face so nothing is wasted, the bottle was nowhere next to being half empty.  After 8 months of using this product the bottle still has plenty of serum in it, and still works wonders on my face when I wake up every morning.  I still don't look like a goddess, however the glowing part I got it down packed thanks to Olay!

I would highly recommend this product for anyone looking for a night cream and can tolerate AHA in their facial care routine. After all, it’s Olay! If your mother used it, probably you can too!

Keep Smiling!

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why You Need to Wear Sunscreen and Not Just Makeup!

Nothing compares to sitting on the beach and soaking up the rays of the sunlight!  To feel its warmth on your skin. Its heat on your delicate face.  The breeze from the ocean as it caresses your skin.  Ah yes, nothing compares too it.  Its like a little bit of heaven on earth.

For many sitting at the beach allows them to get a tan which takes them for Edward Cullen vampire white to Kim Kardashian golden brown.  However what few know is that tanning often brings more negative results then good.  Yes, just because you get a lovely golden brown color, doesn't mean you aren't doing real damage to your body.  A tan of any kind suggest damage has already been done to the skin.  A sunburn simply tells you that you have gone to far.  A tan is an indicator that you have been exposed to UV radiation from the sun.  Moreover, to much sun can take you from looking like a sun goddess to a lobster dish.

If your skin has already gotten to this lovely shade of lobster red, then serious damage has already taken place. And trust me you will be paying for it. Every time you sit down, wear clothes, shower, sleep...anything you do till the burn goes down you will feel it. Moreover, if you don't end up with blistering water bubbles (which I don't doubt you will) then you are lucky. But for many, a trip to doctor is needed in order to treat the blisters and prevent infection. This result is really not cute, very dangerous to your skin and by far unnecessary.

So what is so bad with tanning if you are not getting a sunburn you may ask? Well lets break it down in laymen terms. Both sunburns and suntans are dangerous to your skin because they produce damage to your skin's DNA. Your risk for skin cancer also known as melanoma raises higher every time you get a bad sunburn. A recent study that was conducted in Australia proved that that UVA rays are even more of a cancer danger then what we originally thought them to be when one gets a suntan. UVA rays and UVB rays affect the skin differently in how deep they reach the layers. UVB affects the epidermis layer of your skin, while UVA affects the dermis layer of your skin which is much deeper. And while yes, you do need the rays of the sun for vitamin D to work in your system, there are smarter ways to go about this. Moreover, you need as little as 10-15 minutes a day in the sun for vitamin D to work. However sunbathing without SPF protection is not the way to get it either.

So by now you may be asking "what does this have to do with SPF foundation (or makeup) if it has sunscreen protection?" Well here is the problem. While makeup may claim to have SPF in it (which for all intense purposes it does), it doesn't actually give you the coverage that an actual SPF not mixed with foundation would. Since we normally don't apply foundation liberally but sparingly, the lack of foundation build up doesn't offer the SPF to actually make a difference on your skin. Don't believe me? Then read this article here.

According to Dr. Sam Bunting "‘Daily cosmetics simply don’t offer what we need to protect us. Add in the fact that the way we apply them is unlikely to deliver the kind of coverage required to reach the SPF on the label, and the fact they are not designed to adhere to the skin like sunscreens, and you can see why there are concerns."  Furthermore, according to that article, you would have to apply your foundation every TWO hours to get the proper SPF coverage it claims from the bottle and apply it SIX times over (so basically the Snooki look) in order to actually be protected by the sun rays. Let's be real here. Who is actually going to do this? At that rate one bottle of foundation would last you a week, if that.  Moreover many foundation never really specify if they are protecting you against UVA, UVB or both. 

However, this doesn't end here. When looking for a a sunblock protection, you need to make sure that it has UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum Protection with an SPF of 30 or higher. However, anything over SPF 50 has not shown to provide better results then lets say SPF 30. So stay within the 30 to 50 range. Nonetheless the reason why you need to wear UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum Protection SPF 30 (or higher) is because if not, then you are only being protected against one form of UV rays and not the other. If you see the picture above, this person only wore sunblock to protect them against UVB rays but not UVA rays. So they still were hit with the UV radiation in the dermis layer which is much deeper. However same goes for UVB rays. Some sunblocks only offer UVA and not UVB.

Yet again this still does not end here. So now that you know about sun tanning, sunburns and UVA/UVB rays, you still need to find the right sunblocks to protect you. Because just in case you didn't know, not all sunblocks are made alike and not all sunscreens ACTUALLY offer protection from both UV rays. Kinda ridiculous isn't it? But its true. You need to read the labels to know. However, being that I am serious about sunblock protection, I have sorted that out for you as well.

This chart shows what the FDA considers safe to use in sunblock, which ingredients protects against what rays and which are mineral chemicals (P) and which are non mineral chemicals (C) which some are also considered carcinogenic.  However we will get that part in a moment.  

When looking  for a sunblock, make sure according to this list that it offers both UVA and UVB protection and how much.  In my opinion, if it is not offering you full coverage for both then walk way.  The sun UV rays doesn't just half way penetrate the dermis (the deeper layer of your skin).  It goes all the way.  So make  sure you get something that protects you all the way as well.  Half way protection can still give you cancer and cancer doesn't come half way, it goes all the way.  So be as aggressive with your skincare health as cancer is when it takes hold of someone's body and completely does its damage.

Now this will end here, so bare with me.   Some sunblock ingredients, though approved by the FDA do have carcinogenic properties in them.  Click here to read more about that.  However the best ones to use are those that contain Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide as those are natural minerals (P) and have not been found to be dangerous.  Make sure if you are going with Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide that the percentage said 7% or higher on each ingredient or the two combined equal over 7%. 

I recommend for adults Elta MD UVA/UVB Broad-Spectrum Protection 47. It cost $27 CDN from and has the active ingredients of Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide in them. And while yes, this might leave you a white cast on your face when first applied, however if you rub it in well, that problems goes away after a few minutes.  

For children I recommend Episencial Baby Time Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35.  It has Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide and safe for children and babies over six months and cost $18.99 CDN.  Adults can use this as well. 

Two final tips! wear sunglasses as well when going outside.  The UVA sun rays also cause cataracts which are harmful to your eyes.  Even in the winter, the sun reflection off the snow affects your eyes.

Also, wear SPF 15 lip balm when going outdoors.  Many of us neglect this area and lip cancer is on the rise.  Lip gloss works as a mirror and attracts the sun.  So make sure to wear SPF lip gloss or SPF lip balm over or under the lip gloss.  Same goes with lip stick. Find either SPF lipstick or wear SPF lip balm over it or under it.  However make sure it has SPF 15 and over.

I hope you take this blog message to heart and protection your skin against the sun!

Keep Smiling!

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