Monday, January 20, 2014



Monday, July 8, 2013

Vive Montréal (And @Kiehls)!

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Ladies, I just returned home from a weekend in Montréal and I was inspired. Montréal is full of fashionable people with their own sense of what style should be. I saw fashionable colours, clothing details, accessories, shoes and haircuts. Of course, I had to partake in the Montréal shopping experience (The Bay on Sainte-Catherine is ah-may-zing! And they had a shoe sale!), but for the purposes of this blog, I will focus on my Kiehl's purchase (I may have converted my girl to a Kiehl's fan).
Photo: It’s not just talk – it’s our guarantee.
Let me first give you some history of the company: founded in 1851 by John Kiehl, Kiehl's began as a homeopathic pharmacy located at 3rd Avenue and 13th Street in the East Village of New York City. In 1921, Irving Morse, a former apprentice and Russian Jewish émigré who had studied pharmacology at Columbia University, purchased the store. Morse was involved in the development of many Kiehl's products that are still popular today, including Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion and Creme de Corps.

Kiehl's is recognized for its philanthropic activities. More than 40 years ago, Aaron Morse wrote the "Mission of Kiehl's," a 137-word statement which committed the company to the objective of "making for better citizens, better firms, and better communities. I understand that during WWII, the US government contracted them to develop a formulation that treated radiation burns. 

I spent the morning trying out my purchases, so let's break down my Kiehl's swag:

Rare Earth Pore-Refining Tonic

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This dual-phase pore minimizing toner is formulated with Amazonian White Clay to help remove excess dirt and toxins from the skin while helping to control surface oil and refine the look of pores throughout the day. 

I'm having issues with controlling the oil slick that collects in my T-Zone during the day. It's hot and I want to keep this face dewy-looking, but balanced--easier said than done. So far, I'm impressed with the results.

Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution (Sample)

This is serum is supposed to minimize the look of dark spots and unify skin tone. Thank god for samples. We'll see if it works. It's definitely light, so I barely know it's on. 

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Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50

I am not the best at using sunscreen. In fact, I don't use sunscreen (I can hear the gasps as I type). It is usually thick, heavy, greasy and causes breakouts--even the facial sunscreen. I get sweaty just applying it. Kiehl's, however, is different--it contains no moisturizers. It's light and non-greasy and waterproof. Again, I barely knew it was on. 
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Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

, , largeThis cleanser is the best during the summer. It's pore-minimizing and gives you a light exfoliation every time you use it. It removes excess oil, toxins and residues from the skin. It also exfoliates and leaves the skin feeling smooth. You'll love me just for recommending this one.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate

, , largeNowadays, I'm starting to feel as though I should invest a bit more in preventative skin care. As my girl said, "It's never too early for prevention". In response, I picked up this serum, which is supposed to restore skin’s healthy appearance overnight, resulting in smoother, more radiant complexion by morning. The sales attendant, Richard, mused that his skin wakes up before he does because of this stuff. Again, we'll see if it works. Stay tuned.

Cross-Terrain “Dry Run ”Foot Cream

, , largeI'm a gym girl, so during the summer I don't like to wear socks with my runners. This, of course, makes for sweaty feet--enter Kiehl's foot cream. This is actually a men's product, but I hope it can keep my feet drier and smelling better. It's supposed to prime feet for any activity by providing a long-lasting dry feel. It's also supposed to sooth feet from minor skin irritations and discomforts due to perspiration and the stresses and abuses of an active lifestyle. This one's for all you runners, gym bunnies, sports athletes or even for those who walk a lot. I'll keep you updated on how it works.

This is a pretty extensive list, I know (I didn't even include all the samples I got), but after my morning routine of cleansing, exfoliating, masking, etc, my skin looks ah-may-zing! It has been four hours and the pores are still minimized, there is an absence of a T-zone oil slick and my skin looks balanced and dewy. I will give you my routine, but I warn you, this is not for the faint of heart in a rush:

Ultra Facial Cleanser
Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion
Clay Masque (not Kiehl's, but this one is awesome. I will blog about it in another post)
Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic (toner)
Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution
Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50 (sunscreen)
Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream (perfect moisturizer for summer. It's a gel, not a cream and it's lightweight)
Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado (if you're over the age of 28, you need an eye cream)

This is my new Sunday morning routine, in that order. Looks intimidating, eh? For daily use, however, the routine is not that bad. I would remove the Microdermabrasion and the masque. In addition, at night, I would use the Midnight Recovery serum instead of the sunscreen. I also don't usually use the eye cream for day, only at night.

The salesperson, Richard, was absolutely amazing and showed me products I didn't even know existed. If you are in Montréal make sure you head to Kiehl's at the Bay on Sainte-Catherine and let Richard dazzle you, as he did me. :)

Friday, May 24, 2013


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Ladies, you're either gonna love me or hate me after this recommendation; you'll either think I know what I'm talking about or that I'm full of shit.

Yves Saint Laurent has come out with the best mascara I have ever used--yes, EVER! It's called Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Shocking. Let me lay it out for you: I have short, stumpy--but curly--lashes. For years, I thought all I needed was a separator, so that's what I bought for the most part. It was only when I started buying premium mascaras that I realized what a true voluminous lashes look like. They look like an entry into heaven, ladies, an.entry.into.heaven. I have used DiorShow and loved it and Chanel and loved it, however I never knew a love like this before. First off, the formula is amazing--it's thick and weighty and smells divine. The effect on the lashes is second to none. It provides dramatic volume and dense, surprisingly longer-looking lashes. Now, I have to warn you: it takes some practice to truly learn how to work the mascara. Its formula is wetter than others and so it provides an effect that makes you look like you just stepped out of the shower where some lashes stick together. I personally like this look, but I prefer fanned lashes. This is where a bit of dexterity comes in. You have to work the wand a little to get the desired amount of separation, but as I prove daily, it can be done.

I notice that this mascara is hit or miss with people. Because the formula is primarily one that is volumizing, its default can be to clump more than other mascaras, but with a little practice, the incidence of that can be greatly reduced. For those of us that love it, we love that it withstands an intense workout, rain, sleet and snow, but washes off easily with soap and warm water. Best of all, it doesn't dry out within 6 weeks, which really pisses me off, given that these products aren't cheap. Neither DiorShow nor Chanel can say that.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#Tradmag Going #Digimag

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I came across an interesting find today while perusing Allure Magazine's website (Zoe Saldana's on the cover this month): Beauty, the Guide. It is a beauty magazine in the digital magazine format that is lush and colourful and incredible. Let me tell you what's so amazing about this digimag. Firstly, I love that it's like Flipbook for beauty fiends in that you click and flip pages, just like you would in a traditional magazine, but the layout is familiar. Second, it looks stunning on an iPad. This digimag is definitely for tablets. The best attribute, however, is that it is interactive. Let me tell you exactly what I mean: the pages contain ads that you will see in a traditional magazine (tradmag), but you can click on the products, which will take you straight to the Bay's e-commerce site. If, for example, you check out p. 46 above, you have the J'Adore commercial embedded in the ad layout. Now this is not revolutionary by any means, hell, we're generally talking about embedding some multimedia files on a webpage, but what makes this awesome is the beauty with which a simple concept is executed. There is also a US version (below) that has all of the trimmings on a different bird--i.e. the content varies from the Canadian version, but the execution of the concept is same without losing the pizzazz.

If you are the observant sort, you will notice that when you click on the products, they link to either the Bay (Canadian version) or Lord and Taylor (U.S. version). If I were a betting sort, I would say that this is the Bay going digital and putting more $$ into their cosmetics business--to which I say, it's about time. Now, if the Bay could completely overhaul the design of their cosmetics counters and make the experience of shopping there more pleasant, I would be a convert. I swear, I haven't seen their cosmetics area change since I was a pre-teen reading Tiger Beat (anyone remember that? Lord, I just aged myself). Oh well, petit pas, as the French would say.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

You Were Doing So Well

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Ladies, I'll let you in on a little secret: there is not one line that does everything wonderfully. Case in point, Stila. Now you guys know that I love Stila lip stains, glosses and I also like their cream blushes. Unfortunately, I despise their Smudge Stick Waterproof pencil eye liner. Frankly, I think it's one of the worst   pencil liners I've ever used.

I have been on a quest for an eyeliner that has the following properties: wearability (it's ability to withstand prolonged wear), pigment (saturation of colour, where high pigment means intense colour saturation), ease of application (does it tug on the eye when applied?) and, of course, price. I have yet to find one that rates highly in all of these categories. Let's just say that Stila fails completely. It neither passes the two o'clock test, which is the ability of an eye pencil to stay on from before work, to the dreaded two o'clock time frame when most liners start to either run, or disappear completely; nor does it pass the workout test, which is whether or not it can withstand sweat from an intense workout. It's application is fair, meaning it can be applied without feeling like you're ripping the skin from your eyes, however it is not necessarily a smooth application, either.

The worst crime of this eyeliner is that it produced a translucent film over my contacts minutes after it was applied and I constantly had to remove my contacts, wash them and reinsert them, which did not solve the problem without me doing this multiple times. I consistently had to carry a bottle of contact solution with me wherever I went, or I would be partially blinded by this film. Now, you may be saying to yourself, maybe it was just a problem with your contacts. I thought of this too. I even changed my old contacts and put in fresh ones. It didn't help. And having worn many pencil eyeliners over the years, this was the first time this had happened. For what Stila is charging for this liner, (around $26), you'd think they would produce a product that actually works. Now I know that this may only happen to a minority of users, but with so many brands producing pencils, why take the risk? So not impressed.