Natural Beauty with Elly Mayday

Source: Forever Yours Lingere

Two years ago, model and social media personality Elly Mayday moved from her hometown of Aylesbury, Saskatchewan, to pursue dreams of traveling the world. She was on the verge of a successful modeling career when a diagnosis of stage-three ovarian cancer and subsequent treatments changed everything.

Mayday experienced many physical and emotional challenges, but she was able to use her illness as a platform to speak about the power of natural beauty and self-acceptance all over the world.

I wanted to show you can be beautiful when you are going through hell…” Mayday says on her website, “I worked really hard on all my shoots because I knew I was doing something that would help others facing cancer as well.”  

Mayday’s determination to embody self-confidence and body-positivity even during the throes of chemotherapy catapulted her into international fame. Since then, she has been featured on Good Morning America, in Women’s Weekly Australia, in documentary-film “A Perfect 14,” and has modeled for Lane Bryant’s “I’m no Angel” campaign.

One unexpected thing that had to change during her treatment, says Mayday, was her beauty routine.

Source: Elly Mayday Official Website

I had liked to do my hair,” she says, ”but when I lost it, I had my wigs… I stopped getting my nails done, [because] I would get sick from all the fumes involved in the process and couldn’t keep them on if I had an operation.”

Mayday’s heightened sensitivity to smells and chemicals found in everyday cosmetics led her to seek out natural alternatives for her favourite beauty products. “I started to do a bit of research and realized there were so many unpronounceable ingredients in something as simple as makeup remover,” she says, “I have some close friends in the all-natural, clean-eating world and knew going that route would be better for me.”

According to a research survey conducted by the David Suzuki Association, 80% of beauty products possessed by participants contained at least one of twelve “dirty dozen” ingredients shown to have potentially harmful effects on the body. For some individuals, exposure to these ingredients can cause very serious health problems.

Consumers are advised by health experts to read cosmetic labels and steer clear of toxic ingredients (such as BHA, PEGs, parabens, parfum, petrolatum, sulfates and triclosan) that can be found lurking in many common cosmetic  and beauty products.

For those wishing to try natural alternatives, Elly recommends her following top five favourite all-natural beauty items:

1. Coconut Oil.

I use this for my makeup remover and moisturizer. I like it because it’s available everywhere, travels easily and you can pre-soak cotton swabs for when you’re  on-the-go.”

2. Aluminum-free Deodorant.

“I use Green Beaver Natural Deodorant.”

3. Lia Reese Lipsticks. 

“These are allergy-tested, hypoallergenic, not tested on animals and fragrance free. They have great pigment and last all day, plus have a subtle scent of vanilla. There are a ton of options for colors and I like to support Canadian-owned companies.”

4. Taproot Organics Cocoa Face Bar. 

“I use this as my face wash. If I’ve forgotten my coconut oil, I have no problem getting my makeup off just using this. It lathers well and gets the job done, and it’s mainly made out of oils that don’t dry my skin out afterwards like a regular bar soap. “

5. Activated Charcoal.

“I use this for a face mask as well as teeth whitener.”

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7 Deadly Skincare Sins Men Make

TEXT: Peter Minkoff

The standard of male beauty today can be best described as rugged and bearded. But that does not mean that you are allowed to commit skincare sins. Achieving the perfect rugged look requires a lot of work and taking care of your skin will pay off tenfold in the future. We are all guilty of committing a few skincare sins, but the time to start taking better care of our skin and ourselves is now! Keep reading if you want to make sure you never sin again.

Not using SPF

Everybody loves having a great tan, but the costs of getting one can be too great. We are all well aware of the harmful effects sun rays have on our skin, but somehow that golden glow you get after spending an afternoon in the sun seems to be too enticing. No one can deny that tanned skin looks amazing; you can achieve that and still stay safe if you use a great sunscreen. Sunrays affect your skin even during cloudy days and winter, so applying sunscreen to your face should be a part of your year-round morning routine. Also, you should protect your entire body if you’re going to be exposed to sunrays for a longer period of time or if you are planning to go sunbathing.

Going to tanning salons

If there is one thing worse than exposing your unprotected skin to the sun, it is regularly visiting a tanning salon. Spending ten minutes in a tanning bed is equal to spending a whole day in the sun unprotected. Every time you lie in that bed, you increase the risks of getting skin cancer and making your skin look older. There are no excuses for visiting tanning salons, so stop it right now. If you do need to get some tan, there are great self-tanners available today which are way less harmful.

Not drinking enough water

I know what it sounds like, but hear me out. Fifty to seventy percent of our bodies is made up of water, so it is essential if we want our bodies to function properly. Drinking enough water prevents dehydration and cleanses our bodies of toxins. Water also hydrates our skin, making it look soft and glowy. It is also essential for proper skincare. Start your every day with a big glass of water, and make sure you drink at least six more glasses before you go to bed. You will notice a big difference in a few weeks.

Ignoring the signs of aging

There are many factors that affect our skin and its aging. However, ignoring the signs of aging is probably even worse than exposing our skins to those harmful factors. If you notice any signs of aging think about the factors that might have contributed to it and try eliminating them from your life. Unfortunately, when the damage is already done there is not much you can do but you still have options. Getting anti-aging skincare, for example; some of the Aspect products are a great way to counteract the damage your skin suffered. It is effective with great results and is rising in popularity fast.

Not getting enough sleep

Lack of sleep leads to stress and it can affect our skin in different ways — from bags under your eyes to acne, the effects are bad. On average, people need about eight hours of sleep a night. However, if you are constantly feeling tired during the day and are having problems waking up, you are not sleeping enough. Try going to bed earlier or taking naps during the day if that works better for you.

Smoking

Smoking is out, but if you are still holding on, it is time to let it go. Smoking is bad for your overall health and it is bad for your skin; it reduces the blood flow to the skin, causes wrinkles, and makes the skin look lifeless. Smoking adds years to your face — quit and rejuvenate yourself.

Using the wrong product

Using a bar of soap and water is not taking care of your skin. Determine your skin type and get the appropriate products to clean and moisturize it because they won’t irritate your skin. If you are not sure what to get, ask the shop clerk to help you out or you can even try a few samples before making a decision. Just do it as soon as possible.

Peter Minkoff is a men’s lifestyle writer at Gentleman Zone & Men-Ual magazine from the U.K.. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips. And continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Skincare 101: Five Skincare Treatments Every Guy Should Consider

 

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

Age is a funny thing. It’s something that can’t be avoided. And yet, it’s fought against vigorously until the bitter end. And although using a high quality face cream is a great way to maintain the moisture balance in your skin, it can only do so much; after all the empty promises, it’s still just a face cream, not a magic wand. So when its time to step-up your game, these five skincare treatments are guaranteed to keep you looking like you, longer.

Botox: Complexion Perfection

I am a big fan of Botox, and for good reason: it can knock off a few years in a matter of a few days. Botox is a neurotoxin protein that temporarily freezes overactive facial muscles. It can be applied to various places in and around the face. The most popular areas for treatment are the forehead, around the eyes, between the eyebrows, the lower jaw (for jowls), and the ‘tree rings’ around the neck.

The treatment is quick, painless, and requires no down time. The procedure is moderately inexpensive and usually costs between $8, on the very low end, to $12 per unit. Men typically need to apply more Botox due to the thickness of their skin. The majority of patients notice improvements in their skin in as little as three to four days and the full treatment lasts three to six months depending on location.

Peel the Years Away

It’s rather pointless to spend a small fortune on Botox and other time-erasing procedures if your skin is riddled with discolouration. A chemical peel is a great way to improve sun-damaged and wrinkle prone skin. The treatment uses a light acid to safely remove the upper layers of the dermis stimulating collagen and elastin. The skin is left revitalized, smooth and spot-free.

Although relatively painless, there may be some redness, light peeling, and mild tingling after the treatment. Results will vary and the procedure typically costs $140 (figure from NewDermaMed) per session. Peels can also be applied to the neck and hands.

Blastoff With Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is far lighter than a chemical peel and is often included in many of the super facials that have gained popularity recently. Tiny crystals are sand blasted onto the face to buff away the outer most layer of the skin. After the treatment, the skin will be brighter and smoother, and will appear more youthful. Although there may be a bit of redness after the treatment, it will subside quickly. An average microdermabrasion treatment will cost around $140 per session.

Laser Where it Counts

If you’re looking for a relatively quick procedure with highly noticeable results, opt for a laser skin resurfacing treatment. Lasers are used to remove layers of the skin at a far more precise and deeper level than your average chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment. Your skin will look younger, tighter, and be more resilient.

You can have your youth back but it will cost you. A typical micro laser procedure will set you back at least $600 (figure from NewDermaMed) and will only go up from there. Four or more sessions are recommended for optimum results.

Hard at Work: The Super Facial

The super facial ($118 Blitz Body Bar) is a relatively new hybrid of skincare that combines a little bit of everything. These high quality oxygen infused facials deeply clean and exfoliate the skin but with an added kick. Think of your regular facial treatment on steroids.

Super facials often include a mix of microdermabrasion, facial steaming, blackhead extractions, a mask or two, and lymphatic facial massage. The results are immediate and will leave your skin incredibly hydrated, smooth, and polished.The treatment works well on various skin types and is ideal for monthly maintenance.

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Healthy Interiors: A Conversation with Jessica Helps of Wolfe ID

Wolfe ID founder and leader Jessica Helps has been designing for over 14 years and has a unique take on health that incorporates interior design as a way to improve your daily living/wellness. She is inspired by neurobiological, sociocultural, and humanistic perspectives, and designs spaces based on three principles; art, science, and design. She takes into account nature, sound, light, air, water, and, of course, colour. Integrating science into room design can have an impact on your daily mood, productivity, and overall experiences within the space. We had a conversation with Jessica about designing with health and wellness in mind.

Helen Jacob: How long have you been doing interior design?

Jessica Helps: I think this is my 14th year!

HJ: Where did you go to school?

JH: OCAD U. I took environmental design, so it’s more like architecture, or, to dumb it down, how to come up with great concepts for design. The little technicalities and some of the lighter interior design stuff, they expect you to already know. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, getting through that program alive, but it was great!

HJ: When did you first start integrating health and wellness into your designs?

JH: I guess I started researching it about a year and a half ago. I had a couple of clients whose decisions I didn’t agree with. I didn’t know how to tell them, other than giving them my opinion. I knew they were going to be making a mistake and the space wasn’t going to feel that great. They were doing an office layout and they wanted a lot of desks in the space but I knew the way the office would function wasn’t superior. I tried to direct them but I had really no way of telling them why I was right other than saying it was just my opinion. It wasn’t really sinking in with the client so I was kind of upset and afterwards, I thought well how can I prove this? There must be some science behind what I’m saying because I somewhat know it to be true. So I started researching it and I realized there was this whole field of environmental psychology (how people feel within a space and why, and the science behind why people interpret space and light and colour and volumes and also proximity and layout of furniture). So when I realized that, I got into biophilic design and then I realized there was a complete line of science behind interiors that we tend to avoid or not really understand. We don’t really direct our designs based on the science around them. So it’s pretty interesting.

HJ: Is it a new concept?

JH: It’s relatively new…well yes and no. Sometimes I think the colour theory — like how colours affect people — that’s not new. But research based design is pretty new. Let me give you an example. If you were designing a corridor for maybe an old folks home for the elderly, as an interior designer how would you design that space? I was thinking I’d pick light calm colours, tone on tone, just something really relaxing and simple and clean. Well, I learned that’s actually a really stressful environment for somebody who’s 75, because a 75-year-old has 1/8th of the contrast vision that a 25-year-old has. So if everything is the same colour, it might be all nice and light but they can’t distinguish the floor from the walls or see handrails or see doors. So it’s actually very stressful for them. They need the contrast to be able to properly navigate themselves through a space, you realize that (the science) should direct the design, not the fact that I want to do tone on tone grey.

HJ: What is biophilic design?

JH: Biophilic design is centered on the relationship humans have with nature. They say there is an innate relationship between nature and humans. We feel good around natural settings. What we’ve done is built these urban cities that are really hard. They’re concrete, glass, and metal. They’re very man-made, very hard. And they’ve actually created a separation from nature which actually leaves people feeling cold or distant or disconnected. So biophilic design focuses on bringing natural elements back into the environment.  Light greenery such as green walls or hanging plants, cactuses, and things of that nature are good. Natural finishes like woods or tiles or things that you can touch that have a natural texture are also good. Also focus on light as well, like getting natural light into a space. Those three things I find in biophilic design, really give back that connection with nature that makes us feel better.

HJ: What do you think about the minimalist interior trend?

JH: I think right now there is a Scandinavian trend so its really popular to be clean. You know there’s that documentary on Netflix called Minimalist. I fully like what they’re doing. It’s a very healthy design, it’s natural materials and simple design. It’s reducing visual complexity and simplifying everything and I think that really does make humans feel better and happier in spaces. So whether or not people are focused on what is the healthiest design, I think the trend is good.

HJ: What do you take into consideration when incorporating wellness and health?

JH: Well it depends on the function of the space. What I always do is go into a space and what I ask the client is how do you want to feel in the space? So if it’s an office or it’s a home, or a specific room, start with the feeling: How do you want to feel in here? Do they want to feel really relaxed or do they want a cozy room or do they want their living room to be a place where they can entertain their family and curl up and read a book? We would start with that feeling and then build out from there. The furniture and colours and textures that would give them that feeling. You might see a pretty picture on Pinterest and you just want that and then when you get it, it doesn’t make you feel quite the way you wanted. So I always start with the feeling first and the function.

HJ: Sound, light, air water, and colour. Could you speak to each of those?

JH: Well for sound, there’s lots of issues with acoustics. It causes hypertension in people and it’s one of those things that creeps up on you. You don’t realize it’s causing you unwanted stress. So if you have thins walls- maybe you live in a warehouse conversion so neighbours or people above you can be really disturbing. Also if you’re designing a restaurant and you have a lot of hard finishes, you get a lot of clash of noise that bounces around and it’s hard to hear the person you’re having dinner with. So you can do ceiling panels, or white noise machines. You can also add fabric underneath tables and chairs- you just want softer finishes to absorb the noise rather than have it bounce. Also be aware of mechanical systems or appliances or photocopiers that are generally really noisy because they can also lead you to feel really stressed out if they’re going off all the time. Put them in a closed space or arrange the furniture to be further away.

HJ: What about light?

JH: You just want to maximize the amount of natural light you’re getting. There’s some crazy statistic that a lot of offices don’t have natural light- like no windows. I guess you’re tucked away in a basement or something. It actually causes productivity to plummet when you don’t have natural light or plants or have an environment that’s inspiring you to even be there. Its important to control light. In the evenings, dim your lights one hour before going to bed. Everybody has circadium rhythm. That’s the body’s way of regulating sleep and alertness. Everyone has one and it’s usually timed with the sunset and sunrise. And so the most natural way to wake up is with the sunrise and go to bed with the sunset. Obviously we don’t do that living in the city because everything is rather artificial and our schedules do not follow that. So dimming your lights in the evening gets your body to release melatonin and melatonin helps you regulate sleep. Try to block out all the light when you’re sleeping. You want a perfectly dark cave to sleep in.

HJ: Air and water?

JH: Those are the two functional items in a space. We have standards and we have building code and that’s great, but it is a minimal. Air quality is actually better outdoors than it is indoors in the city. Our indoor air quality is terrible. So you can up the filter on your H-vac system. If you live in a condo, you have what’s called a fan coil, (a vertical mechanical unit and with a filter on it). If you live at home you have a furnace that will also have an air filter in it where the intake of the air is going through. So you can up the quality of that- (from 10-15 is optimal). MERV is the rating. Or HEPA filter is the best, you’ll find them in Tesla cars and some vacuums have them. Those will really help your air quality. For water quality, if you have the ability to add a filter right into your system, that’s great. Or you can add a reverse osmosis. You can also just get an on counter water filter that makes the water alkaline and also reduces the toxins in it as well.

HJ: How would you work with colour?

JH: Colour is interesting because I don’t think there’s an unhealthy colour. There’s unhealthy uses of colour or just ways to maximize your health using colour. So say I was designing a spa bathroom and I want it to be relaxing, the three things I would not do is paint it red, put super bright lights in it, or play the music super loud. Those are all things that are very invigorating and make you excitable. So you want lower lighting, have softer and more comfortable furniture, more warmer and natural colours so the body is relaxing on a biological level. Green, greys and white are more relaxing and restorative.

HJ: Do you have any tips to integrate this into a cubicle setting?

JH: Umm yeah, maybe get rid of your cubicle? It’s an interesting question. The Google office kind of set the precedent for how to blow the typical corporate office out. They got rid of board rooms and cubicles and did the complete opposite. They did ballpits for adults and beanbag chairs and a lounge. It was almost like a playground for adults. This caught on because it was fun and employees were happier. They’re excited to come to work and productivity goes up. And that’s true- for Google. Google is generally a bunch of creative people doing stuff on computers so that works really well. But what they’re starting to notice now is within every office, there are certain people that work really well in private spaces, semi private spaces, or communal spaces. Some people who are forced to work in a communal space who would rather work in a private space, suffer and their productivity goes down. So you really have to look at your office and decide which departments need what kind of space. If you do have a cubicle, and you do like the private space I would at least pick a fun cubicle. They have some really great systems right now. A lot of them have acoustic paneling within them so you get really good acoustics. Some of them have little benches that pull out so you can still invite people to come hang out at your desk and you still get that human connection for people who don’t like being isolated. Some offices will have little plants or cactuses so you have that biophilic element. Also, employees who get taken care of tend to be the most productive.

HJ: Is there a way to organize your space that’s good for you?

JH: Yes, reducing visual complexity is huge. If you have open shelves jammed with junk, and you’re looking at it all the time, it’s visually overpowering. Hiding your visual clutter creates a freeness. If it’s already clean, then you can do what you need to do in that space without worrying about cleaning up the mess. You don’t want anything see through, like acrylic boxes.

HJ: What are the main elements to consider when revamping your space in terms of health and wellness?

JH: I think its all about creating a space that feels good. I think you really have to touch on the biophilic design. Like what’s natural about the space? What makes you want to work there? Light quality is huge. If you have no natural light, it’s essentially a storage room. I think people need to stop worrying about specific fixtures or details and think how does this space make me feel? Then you look at ways to maximize the space.

Beauty Review: The Dew Puff

Everyone wants clear, healthy, radiant skin, especially in summer. Removing dull and flaky skin before and after sun exposure is the key to achieving a flawless summer tan. In an effort to achieve perfect glowing summer skin, a few Novella team members were introduced to the Dew Puff Konjac Sponge. Dew Puff sponges are a modern version of one of the oldest and most traditional beauty tools in the world used for hundreds of years in Asia. What makes these sponges unique are the ingredients, or, in this case, the lack thereof. Dew Puff sponges are 100% plant based cleansing tools with only one ingredient — konjac root. When dry, these sponges are hard and rough to touch, but once they are wet, these natural sponges become exceptionally soft, gentle, and exfoliating. The goal of the Dew Puff is to create a perfect pH balance on the skin and to help brighten and even skin tone. Simply get it wet and you can use the sponge to gently exfoliate your face and body using circular motions with or without a cleanser. Dew Puff natural sponges are available in three varieties: Original, Asian Clay, and Bamboo Charcoal.

DEW PUFF ORIGINAL — KIMBERLEY

Listen, I can’t complain. I have been pretty lucky with my skin (with the exception of  few awkward years in elementary school) as someone who isn’t prone to breakouts except for the few stray pimples I have experienced throughout my life. When Claire, our resident beauty expert and skincare reviewing queen, mentioned making a joint article and having three members of our team each review a Dew Puff, I thought, why not?

Although I am not one with a wide range of knowledge on tips and tricks for skincare — or really someone who does much to their skin at all except wash it each night with Neutrogena Naturals and moisturize —, I am a sucker for trying out new skincare additives. Once a week, my boo and I will wear a generic, 15 minute face mask for an extra bit of shine or deep clean. It’s sort of a nice ritual.

I felt confident about my skincare routine and loved to give advice to acne prone friends suggesting that they drink more water. I drink around 3L a day and I haven’t had a pimple in months. I soon realized that I was sort of an asshole for this. That not all people are accustomed to the same sort of luxury that I have. Twitter verified this.

I was given the Dew Puff Original Konjac Sponge for testing. We decided on a two week trial then we’d each report back with our findings. Upon first opening the package and holding the sponge in my hand, it felt very hard and gritty. I ran it under water and it came to life, turning into my very own fluffy little cloud. I soon felt how soft the little sponge was and used it (without any other cleansing agents) to wash off any excess oils or dirt on my face.

The next morning when I woke up, I noticed that my skin was really soft and my pores were noticeably smaller. It’s amazing what this little sponge can do. I continued to use it for the rest of the week with my cleanser — and sometimes without — and while I didn’t notice a huge change to the look of my skin, it helped keep it smooth and clear. The teardrop design of the sponge is really comfortable to hold (sort of like a beauty blender), and it became a part of my routine when washing my makeup off at the end of the day. Instead of rubbing in my cleanser myself, I would use the sponge and enjoy a nice little facial from its soft surface.

Overall, I didn’t turn into Angelina Jolie, but I did notice how smooth and clear my skin became and remained, and for that I’m grateful.

DEW PUFF ASIAN CLAY — CLAIRE

My skin has come a long way, to say the least and, lately, I have reached a point where I am finally confident and comfortable with my skincare routine. The key is learning about what type of skin you have and knowing how it behaves. I could definitely learn from Kimberly’s 3L of water a day rule, but in the meantime, I try to gulp down the expected 8 glasses a day and hope for the best. I suffer from dull, dry, and uneven skin. So, when I chose to do the Dew Puff review, it made the most sense for me to try the Asian Clay Dew Puff, which is designed for dry or aging skin.

My first time using the Dew Puff sponge was in the evening as a part of my nighttime cleansing routine. I decided I would use the sponge hand-in-hand with my cleanser just to keep some consistency with my usual routine. Immediately after using the sponge I noticed my skin felt smooth and clean. The next morning, my skin looked fresh and smooth. Throughout the two weeks, similar to Kimberly, I continued to use the sponge with and without cleanser. It is gentle enough that I never felt like I was over exfoliating my skin. Even though I have dry skin, I am still prone to breakouts. While using the Dew Puff I noticed my skin remained fairly under control, which was nice, and I feel like it may have helped specifically with the blackheads on my nose.

All in all, I don’t feel more or less confident about my skin, but I did notice a consistently smoother texture while using it. It’s definitely worth trying if you’re trying to stay away from chemicals and use natural skincare.

DEW PUFF BAMBOO CHARACOAL — Adina

If there’s a skin problem lottery, then I have won it. I’ve suffered from pretty terrible eczema since I was very little. It was supposed to go away when I turned 12 or 13, according to the conventional wisdom of my family members who also had childhood eczema, but much like Senator Elizabeth Warren, it persisted. Typically, it results in some scattered, manageable rashes around my skin, but every now and again I get these terrible, itchy, dry, red, gross flare ups.

And as if that weren’t enough, I also have acne. And not like a teeny pimple every once in a while, but all around my face and neck and body. And yes, I drink water and wash my face, but thanks for assuming I’m a heathen.

Anyway, because of my combination skin I’ve learned to be pretty skeptical of most products that offer “natural” solutions to your skin woes or tell you that you don’t need strong chemicals to keep your acne at bay. If it sounds like something that Gwyneth Paltrow would tell you to spend $70 on, it’s probably not worth your time. Still, when I was offered to use the “blemished” skin Dew Puff with Bamboo and Charcoal, I figured getting something for free and testing it out couldn’t hurt.

That being said, I was a bit surprised with the results of the Dew Puff. No, it didn’t get rid of my acne (if only!), but I did notice a reduction in breakouts, and it left my face feeling a little smoother. Plus, it actually felt really nice using it. Normally washing my face means getting kind of vigorous and it leaves my face feeling dry, but I liked the way my skin felt after using the Dew Puff.

So will this cure your skincare woes? No, not really. But does it feel nice and make your skin a little softer and ease the dryness that comes with most acne treatments? You bet your goop it does.

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