Over the years I’ve tried more beauty products than I am able to count, mainly because it’s been part of my job, and also because I’m a bit of a product junkie. Although I prefer organic and/or vegan products, I find I have to use more active products to see visible results. Most of the products listed here do not fall into the organic or vegan category, however, on a forthcoming post, I’ll share my go-to’s in this category. This stated, I’d like to share with you the 6 most effective beauty products in my accoutrement, in no particular order.
I’ve been using this Foreo cleansing device for about 8 months, and it has many pros, starting with the fact it is made completely of silicone. Silicone doesn’t harbour bacteria and also feels very gentle on the skin. In fact, when I first used this device, I didn’t feel my skin had been properly cleansed. Upon going over my skin with toner on a cotton pad, I realized there were no traces whatsoever of any debris. After about one month, my skin became used to the type of cleansing the Foreo delivers. The size of the Foreo makes it perfect for travel in the handy bag which accompanies it, and it only has to be charged twice per year. It also has 8 settings and the backside allows for massaging moisturizer on to the skin. The only very slight downside to this device is it does not time your cleansing routine. It is also available for men in a more course version for their thicker skin.
Raw, African Black Soap is handmade in West Africa, and the ingredients can vary depending upon the region in which it is made, however, it is typically made with a blend of: plantain skin, cocoa pod powder, tropical honey, shea butter and virgin coconut oil. This is it, no preservatives, artificial fragrance or colouring…au natural. Black soap is a natural source of vitamin A & E and contains a high amount of glycerin, which all help to strengthen yet keep the skin and hair soft. Yes, it makes for an excellent shampoo, as well as shaving cream for men. It also helps to heal acne and blemishes related, and many give it great reviews for addressing eczema and psoriasis. I order my African black soap in bulk, it lasts for years if properly stored.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel is an exfoliant made in Japan. This product is absolutely amazing! It exfoliates the skin without the use of grains. It contains softening agents, brighteners and most important of all you literally see the skin balling up and rolling off the face within seconds. It’s made up of Ginkgo Biloba, Aloe Vera and other plant extracts, it should be used no more than twice per week…although enticing to use more. I’m not sure how it works so effectively, given the fact, aside from the plant extracts, it contains activated hydrolyzed water, yet is free of acids which are most commonly used for effectively exfoliating the skin. Whatever the case, it stands up to the claims, and is the number one selling exfoliant in Japan.
I’m a huge fan of oils and use them on my hair, face and body faithfully and have been for years. A high quality essential oil most closely resembles sebum, which promotes healthier skin. For the most part, most oils I’ve used have kept my skin super soft and have evened out the skin tone beautifully. Själ Saphir Concentrate has done much more for my skin than my typical oils because of the anti-ageing benefits. Because of an anti-ageing bioactive complex, it visibly diminishes fine lines and wrinkles by plumping and improving the elasticity of the skin. This oil has worked wonders on my skin, used sparingly, it goes a long way.
This product is seriously magic in a bottle, the results are beyond astounding. I saw results almost immediately upon my first application of Dr. Sebagh’s Supreme Maintenance Youth Serum. In fact, this product has transformed my skin so drastically, I have no need for foundation, except for special occasions. It has evened out and brightened my skin, diminished lines, minimized my pore size and greatly improved the overall texture. Youth Serum gives a perpetual glow to the skin, and is one of the most common compliments I’ve received since using it.
Looks like this one is due to be replenished soon, lol…another one of my faithfuls. RéVive Moisturizing Renewal Cream was created by Dr. Gregory Bays Brown to help burn victims heal more expeditiously. Because of it’s huge success, a full line of skincare was spawned, to meet the needs of every skin type and demographic. I use this cream over my Youth Serum every night and the combination is like a mini at-home surgical treatment. The two main ingredients which garner guaranteed results within two weeks are glycolic acid, an organic exfoliant, and a highly active solution of EGF, an epidermal growth factor. I won’t go into specifics about this ingredient, at the risk you’d be bored to tears, suffice it to state it is a brilliant addition in the ingredient line-up. This product has been revamped and is now called Moisturizing Renewal Cream Hydrator and housed in a green jar.
So this is my list of personal favourite beauty products, which have honestly transformed my skin, of course a healthy diet and plenty of water play an integral role as well. If you have favourites, please email me or let me know through chat, I’d love to check them out!
One of the top questions I receive from readers is, “What’s in your make-up bag?” I finally dumped it, pulled out my Canon and now present it to you, in all it’s glory…
I’ll start with the round containers on the left…these are RMS products, one of my favourite lines because it is completely organic and made up of the best oils attainable.
1.) The Living Luminizer in the light shade on the far left is my highlighter, I use it on the orbital bone for the perfect lifting effect
2.) Seduce, the bronze shade underneath the LL is my shadow…goes on sheer, stays all day, blends beautifully
3.) Sacred, the red pop of colour, is my blush shade…super sheer on the skin, can also be used on lips
4.) Simply Vanilla above my blush is one of the best lip balms I’ve ever used, it can also be used to moisturize the skin
5.) Last of all for my RMS collection is my concealer in “un”cover 44, which I use midday to touch up, it doesn’t cake or crease…brightens the eye area, and can be used as foundation
The grey tube is my Colour FX concealer, it’s chock-full of great ingredients, which hydrate & treat the eye area while concealing…
The clear wand is a great eye gloss by Rouge Bunny Rouge called Smithereens of the Star…it creates a beautiful sheen on the lid, and stays all day
My Perfekt Skin Perfection Gel, in the blue tube, is my everyday go-to…it’s actually more of a treatment product. It contains Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Vitamin A & E, as well as skin softening agents…it’s super light and looks like nothing on the face. It improves the overall tone of the skin and hydrates. It’s also non-transferable and you even have the green light to sleep in it!
In the white tube with the green top is my favourite mascara ever! Lash Perfection Gel in Flash (Black), has ingredients which promote longer, healthier lashes…I’m amazed at the results I’ve seen in only a few months
Although I don’t often wear lipstick, I usually have an evening option in my bag, just in case I feel the urge to step it up a notch…which is rare. Uslu Airlines Lipstick in Caracas is a beautiful, rich burgundy, it looks great on just about every skin tone, stays and is exceptionally creamy and rich
Next, in the silver packaging, is my Sumita Brow Filler by Ziba…it’s water-resistant, completely natural looking, and easy to apply…I stock up on them when they go on sale;)
If I decide against gloss for the day, Rodin Lip Balm is great for keeping my lips conditioned & gives a touch of colour, however, as much as I love it, on the down-side, the packaging doesn’t hold up very well in my experience, and for the price it definitely should
Finally, my Trish McEvoy travel brush goes everywhere with me…great for powder, bronzer, blending, etc. I’ve had this brush for over 10 years and it still looks like new…not even sure if it’s still being made
Whew!…so, there you have it…you asked, I answered…now you know what’s in my make-up bag…
I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to skincare gadgets and creams. After all, how effective can either truly be in making a marked difference? Well, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with a few on the market lately in both categories. … Continue reading
I came out of the womb with a love for animals, and as a result became a vegetarian many years ago as a child, once able to articulate this desire to my mother. As an adult I feel it is a healthier option, in addition to, my affinity toward animals. Of course, a vegetarian lifestyle usually leads those living it to ponder other areas such as beauty and fashion. Today I’ll keep the focus on beauty. Although I’m not legalistic about it as many I know, I have made many adjustments to create balance. Most of my skin and body care products are organic with the exception of a few creams…Revive and Alpha Hydrox which keep my skin luminous and smooth…I personally feel a few active products are necessary to target specific concerns.
I decided the best way to create balance would be to transition to organic make-up exclusively. I have had many challenges on this front…”It isn’t dark enough,” “It doesn’t stay well!” “Where’s the pigment??” I’m happy to announce, I can lay those questions to rest thanks to celebrity make-up artist, Rose-Marie Swift, owner and creator of RMS Beauty…consider it skin care with mineral colour. It is based on living and organic principles and contains absolutely zero toxins or chemicals.
Let’s start with the “un” cover-up. Used as a concealer or light foundation this product gives the skin a youthful, fresh appearance while minimizing the look of pores. Each shade is created to self-adjust to the skin, the result is flawless, even coverage. The shades offered are 11, 22,33, & 44 which work with most skins. This product won Allure “Best Concealer” for 2011 & 2012
RMS cream eye shadow is a veil of sheer, reflective colour leaving the lids dewy and healthy looking. I love the fact they are easily applied with the fingertips and contour naturally…a few of the shades also double as highlighter and lip shimmer.
Lip2cheek colours combine hydration with protection, the intensity of the pigments range and the results are natural and clean. The colours settle as if they are emanating from your own skin, leaving a flushed, modern look. Don’t be afraid of the deeper pigments, they are quite blendable with just a swipe of the finger tips or a dusting of “un” powder over…more on “un” powder in a moment.
Now that colour is covered, which are all ‘must-haves’ in my humble opinion, the following are ‘must,must-haves’ and belong on every girls vanity from the east to west to the north and south. Clockwise, the beauty oil is chock full of goodness for the skin, exotic oils and herbal extracts. I use it as a nighttime treatment and sometimes as a primer. It absorbs into the skin almost immediately and provides a velvety surface for make-up or skin care products. Next, living luminizer is amazing and unlike most…it doesn’t contain glitter particles or sparkle, but allows for highlighting by way of a unique satin pearl finish and looks great on every skin tone. It also won Elle “Best Beauty Product.” Finally, the “un” powder is virtually invisible! It is ultra fine and lightweight, minimizes pores, softens the look of the skin and clearly, the ONLY powder you will ever need.
Visit RMS Beauty for yourself to get more information on the products and company. These products have had a beautiful effect on my skin, so much so, when I use products laden with chemicals, my skin repels. After much deliberation and great reluctance, I finally parted with my Chanel, Laura Mercier and the multitude of other toxic lines once used.
Finding new homes for everything was effortless as a few of my girlfriends seized upon the goods like vultures; ostensibly afraid I’d change my mind! Someday, maybe I’ll get them to come around…
Many of you have probably heard of an amazing little skincare device called Clarisonic by now. The company was founded in 2001 by the primary inventor of the Sonicare oral care system which uses similar technology. It’s taken 12 years for me to jump on the Clarisonic bandwagon, as I am a huge skeptic when it comes to the results many of these products promise will be delivered.
Well, Clarisonic didn’t over promise and under deliver like many, but actually performed superiorly. I’ve been using the product now for a solid two months and the results are astounding. Although I must add, the first three weeks of use were brutal for me, as I had anticipated. I knew the product would bring all the impurities deep down to the surface, however, I wasn’t expecting the extent of breakout I experienced. In fact, I nearly came to the conclusion the Clarisonic may be too aggressive for my typically resilient skin, three weeks seemed like a life time to live with what looked like a face full of teen acne! Remember though, no two skins are the same, you may or may not experience breakouts and the degree also varies…patience is definitely a virtue with this unit.
I’m happy to report, after my “lifetime” of acne, my skin took on a flawless, glowy, luminous appearance…not surprising since it cleans six times better than manual cleansing alone. I receive compliments on my skin on a consistent basis since Clarisonic took residence on my vanity.
I’d recommend Clarisonic to absolutely anyone… I use it at nighttime only, and keep it simple in the a.m. with a gentle manual cleansing. When it’s time to recharge; the unit is smart enough to beep in a specific pattern to let you know. Furthermore, if you visit the Clarisonic site you will often find the brush heads specially priced. I usually stock up… my unit came with the sensitive brush, however my skin responds best to the normal brush and deep pore for more intensive cleansing.
There are several Clarisonic models to choose from, do your research, visit the site here and go for it. Each model comes with a guarantee so if you aren’t satisfied you can always return it… and no, I’m not being paid to plug, I spent my hard earned money and encourage you to do the same, I sincerely believe you won’t regret it;).
I’ve been hearing what I thought were outrageous claims about Revive Moisturizing Renewal Cream for years now. I finally decided to add it to my routine, as I appreciate the efficacy of glycolic acid products, they are so amazing at exfoliating dead skin cells away. I also learned how a doctor specializing in burn victims created this product to speed up the recovery process.
Well, the verdict is in, Revive is absolutely amazing! In addition to the glycolic acid, it apparently contains a molecule that speeds up cell turnover. Now, when I first heard this I thought it sounded a bit contrived, however, upon waking up in the morning, my skin looks rested, radiant and vibrant… I know, I know these words escaping from my keyboard to this post may come across as a bit lame, and as a skeptic myself, I completely understand any reservations. Nevertheless the results are undeniable, this cream works.
Alas, such a bittersweet discovery… yes, it is crazy effective, however, these crazy effective results require continued use of the cream and at $175?! Ugh, I just hope my shoe collection isn’t affected by this new found habit.
As a makeup artist, I am always excited to try new and innovative cosmetics, however, I learned years ago if the skin isn’t it’s healthiest, the makeup won’t look it’s best. I have always had an affinity toward Japanese skincare, which has led to experimentation with a myriad of products. Currently DHC is on my bathroom sink, I began using the Cleansing Oil years ago, and it remains on my list of favourites. About 3 weeks ago I began using the DHC Pore Lotion, Pore Essence and Pore Milk, the results have left me very pleasantly surprised, here’s my DHC regimen:
After cleansing, I follow with the DHC Pore Lotion, which is a toner. Typically, I’m ambivalent when it comes to toners, either I feel too much of my natural oils have been stripped, or that it hasn’t done anything at all. The DHC Pore Lotion seems to be an exception, after applying it, my skin feels as if I’ve moisturized, and it looks nourished. The ingredients are also appealing with: brown algae and mushroom extract, not to mention a natural grapefruit scent.
Next I use a small pea-sized amount of the DHC Pore Essence, a serum which is supposed to minimize the pores. I’ve always been trepidatious about products claiming to minimize the pores and, up to this point, have not stumbled upon one that has worked for my skin. However, after 3 weeks of use, my skin has a very smooth, velvety look and texture. How DHC has achieved these results in a serum is beyond me, all I know is both the texture and clarity of my skin have changed for the better. Again, I’m drawn to the ingredients in this product as well, with artichoke leaf extract, Vitamin C and Vitamins B3 and B6 among them.
Finally, I finish off my regimen with DHC Pore Milk, a moisturizer which controls excess sebum in the skin without depleting it entirely. I really like the texture of this moisturizer, it doesn’t sit on top of the skin, but seems to absorb immediately, and an added benefit is it also combats blemishes. It contains many of the same ingredients as the Pore Lotion.
After Completing my DHC regimen, it feels as if I have nothing at all on my skin, this can be a negative, but in this instance it’s a good thing. My skin doesn’t feel weighed down with product, yet it definitely has a glow and feels hydrated. As far as “cons” for the products, I’d like to see larger quantities offered, however, on the flip side, so little of the respective product is needed, it seems these standard sizes will have longevity. However, I feel the Pore Lotion is a bit steep in price at $35 for 4 ounces, it should definitely be at least 8 ounces at that price point.
DHC is an amazing Japanese skin care line developed in excellence. Since I began using these products, I’ve lost count of the number of compliments I’ve received on my skin. I realize everyone’s skin is different; so there are no guarantees these items will serve you as well as they have me. Nonetheless, I feel confident recommending them to anyone searching for an effective, yet simple skin care regimen.
A friend of mine recently recommended Revlon’s Just Bitten lip products (Just Bitten Lipstain+Balm & Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain). In the past, my experience with drug store brands has not been favourable, either because of the quality or lack of testers. As I did my household shopping at Target yesterday, I saw one of the two items recommended (Just Bitten Lipstain+Balm) was on sale for $6 and change. I decided to give it a try and as I checked out, I received a coupon for $2 off the other (Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain) and promptly picked it up as well.
Top: Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm in Forbidden/ Bottom: Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Adorable
The following are my thoughts:
REVLON JUST BITTEN LIPSTAIN + BALM
* Stays on for hours
* Doesn’t cake
* Looks very natural
* The colour does not transfer to the balm
* Feels light and satiny soft on the lips
* Available in a variety of shades
* Testers are not available in most drug stores, I ended up returning two before settling on Forbidden because they were too pigmented
* The Balm broke on my first one, no problem, I simply exchanged it
Update: The balm also broke on the second and third time as well, suffice it to say, chances are you could be balmless within a week. I’ve just opted to use my Rose Salve Balm in lieu and it is fine, however, I wouldn’t purchase this again simply because having the balm attached is what makes the product so appealing for me.
* The felt tip dispensed the colour in splotches with my first tube, however, I’ve not had this happen with the Forbidden
Update: The colour began drying out within one week, this could be a defective tube, however, it may be wise to hold on to your receipt if you decide to purchase it.
Revlon’s Just Bitten Lipstain+Balm is not for me, however, with a few modifications I’d surely try it again.
REVLON JUST BITTEN KISSABLE BALM STAIN
* Goes on very smoothly
* Looks quite natural
* Stays on for hours
* Colour won’t transfer to hubby, glasses, etc.
* Lightweight in texture
* Does not require anything over it to add moisture, it is moisturizing on it’s own, although I use a neutral gloss over it
* No need for sharpening
* Available in a variety of shades
Update: After using this for a week, I can say I really like it, and in addition to Adore, I have added Honey and Crush, they are both very flattering.
* The only negative I have at the moment is there are typically no testers available in drugstores, therefore, you’ll have to make your best efforts to choose the correct shade, the shades seem to go on lighter than the colour represented on the packaging, which makes it a bit challenging to choose accurately. However, if it doesn’t work, most stores will honour a return or exchange.
Again, the pros outweigh the cons. I actually prefer this over the Lipstain + Balm and will definitely be purchasing more shades. It has such an ease of use which I feel the former does not.
Top: Just Bitten Lipstain + Balm in Forbidden/Bottom: Just Bitten Balm Stain in Adorable
These products retail for about $8.99 on the Revlon site, I opted to purchase them from Target where I spent a little over $6
Smashbox Cosmetics, created by Dean and Davis Factor, grandsons of Hollywood makeup legend, Max Factor, has come out with a brand new palette and shadow quads for fall. The collection is very impressive at price points of $59 and $10 respectively; it was inspired by the favourites carried to set by Smashbox makeup artists. You will most definitely be covered for every occasion with the great variety of colours included. Furthermore, the shades are wearable for most, if not all, skin tones.
The Master Class 11 Meet The Masters Palette ($59) comes with:
- 28 Photo Op Eyeshadows
- 4 Brow Tech Powders
- Brow Tech Wax
- 8 Cream Eyeliners
- 2 Blushes
- 3 Soft Lights
- 4 Lip Glosses
The Master Class Eyeshadow Quad ($10) is available in two combinations (hazel pictured):
- Hazel- Pink Nude, Shimmering Slate, Matte Eggplant, Taupe
- Brown- Ivory, Cabernet, Shimmering Sienna, Matte Navy
The price point for these palettes is an amazing value for quality products with exceptional wear and longevity. They are available online or in-store at Sephora.