SHOP ALL WEEKEND: FACIAL CLEANSING BRUSH

Photo Credit: Raccine
Photo Credit: Raccine

Many beauty gurus and experts constantly rave over the skin cleaning device, Clarisonic. This electronic brush is known for giving your skin a nice deep clean. But with the price at almost $200, that can be quite expensive for some of us.

As a beauty writer and – more importantly – a woman who really cares about her skin, I’ve been doing some research on this and I think I’ve found the ideal alternative.

Racinne is a skin care beauty line that was founded by Edwin Tseng. The Korean brand offers many different products that range from anti-aging, to brightening skin care series. They believe that we should celebrate and enhance the best version of our skin and encourage us to find products that help us rejuvenate both our skin and confidence, instead of gravitating towards plastic surgery.

Amongst their wide array of products, there is the Holy Grail for beauty gurus, the Racinne Electric Cleansing Face Brush that is presented in a very simple set format and comes with four different applicators.

The Facial Cleansing Brush gets right into your skin and removes any dirt, and impurities. Also, if you need to take off any makeup, this brush is absolutely perfect as it exfoliates your skin, leaving your face fresh and smooth.

The Facial Sponge, is a soft sponge that massages your skin, giving it a smooth surface to prepare the skin before applying any moisturizers or serums.

The Pumice Stone applicator is definitely needed for these winter months and is used on the feet, knees, and elbows. It removes the dry, dead layers of skin, to reveal smooth skin underneath.

And last, but not least the Body Brush. This brush applicator is a larger version of the face brush. Just lather up with your favourite soap or body wash, and use it all over your body. It’ll have your skin feeling squeaky clean.

Not only does this set come with the four brush heads, but it is also set at the fantastic price of $69.99.

You can’t go wrong with a brush set like this, that’ll have your skin glowing all the way down to your toes!

Where To Buy: https://www.racinne.ca/

Where to treat yo’ self in Toronto

Ladies and gents, now is the time to take “treat yo’ self” seriously. We’re 21 days into the New Year, which means we’ve entered that weird limbo between that “new year, new me” resolution phase and the “oh my God, I need to start thinking about how I’m going to squeeze into that swimsuit” phase. Worry not: Toronto is home to a ton of places that specialize in detoxifying and treating the body, from our brows to our beards, from our nails to our vaginas. Read on to find out where and how you can show your body the love it deserves (and trust me, it’ll love you back — just in time for beach season).

FACE: The Ayurveda Facial at Laya Spa & Yoga 

It’s a popular opinion that this cosy little spa is Toronto’s facial authority, and for good reason: their famous Ayurveda Facial is, as far as I’m aware, a magical gift from the Gods of Perfect Skin. Each all-natural mask is concocted from scratch to suit each individual’s unique skin, and dosha specific oils are used to massage the body and detoxify the skin using manual lymphatic drainage.

“Laya’s Ayurveda Facial has grown in popularity as it allows for a more in-depth focus into not only the skin but the client’s ayurvedic dosha, providing a holistic approach to skin therapy,” says Alessandra, owner of Laya. “Each client leaves feeling nourished, grounded and loved.”

So basically, it’s a facial that’s as good for the face as it is for the soul.

BROWS: Brow Design at The Brow House

As our Queen Lena Dunham once stated, “Never trust someone with bad eyebrows.” That being said, if you want to be trusted ever again, get thee to The Brow House in Yorkville. Their otherworldly brow-shaping abilities will transform your eyebrows and, in turn, your face. If your brows are the opposite of “on fleek,” they’ll reno those bad boys to perfection. And if you need a simple cleanup, they’re wonderful at that, too. Their eyebrow tinting service is also a godsend for those of us who hate/are incapable of filling them in by hand.

Just know one thing: whatever you get done here, you’ll leave your appointment with Pinterest-worthy brows.

LADY PARTS: The Vagacial at Fuzz Wax Bar

Anyone who has ever experienced a vagina in any way knows that lady parts have a pretty rough life. The Vagacial is like sending your muff to the spa: a Fuzzologist (yes, they call themselves that) performs a five-step treatment to “care for, correct and calm” your skin — a process that includes a gentle cleansing, exfoliation, ingrown hair extraction, the clarifying “V-Mask,” and moisturizing. Ahhhh. (FYI this is best done two weeks after your wax.) (Also FYI: ask for Parul, as she is the Messiah of the Brazilian wax and knows her shit.)

BEARD: The Majestic Facial Hair treatment at Saul’s Beauty Shop

I don’t even have a beard and I want this done to me: on top of getting a facial, your beard gets to enjoy a full cleanse, a customized conditioning mask, a finishing oil and a taming comb-out, AND they’ll get rid of ingrown hairs, AND give you a shoulder massage. So majestic.

 NAILS: The Ultimate Manicure at Her Majesty’s Pleasure

By now the entire city — the entire world, perhaps — is aware of the fact that Her Majesty’s Pleasure is actually Heaven on Earth. Their Ultimate Manicure covers all the bases: filing, complete cuticle care, exfoliation, a deep relaxing hand and arm massage, a 10-minute scalp and shoulder massage, and, finally, polishing. And the fact that you can have all of this while sipping a freshly made coffee or cocktail from their bar basically makes it like a euphoric out-of-body experience.

HAIR: Hair mask at Elmwood Spa

After your hair expert identifies what level of repair your hair needs, they’ll restore your strands with high-performance, argan-rich oil formulas that’ll deeply hydrate and condition. The result: incredibly improved hair texture, elasticity and manageability (yes please, yes please and yes please).

SHOP ALL WEEKEND: WINTER SKINCARE

With the holidays over and starting a brand new year, you might have had a rough time with this hectic transition. We went from stuffing our faces and attending party after party, to getting the hang of our regular, basic routines. Not only that, but it also seems like the weather is playing games with our emotions. One minute it looks like the beginning of spring, and the next it is like we are back in the Ice Age.

All of this takes a toll on your body and plays a huge factor on your skin. As a result, it may be a lot more dull and dryer than usual. So here are a few beauty products that will bring the glow in your skin back and help you surviving these winter months.

Photo Credit: The Body Shop
Photo Credit: The Body Shop

One product that I highly recommend is The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Moisture Cream. Vitamin E has multiple skin benefits such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, warding off sun damage and brown spots, and smoothing out the surface of your skin. The Vitamin E Moisture Cream is extremely hydrating, and will bring life back into your skin when using consistently.

Where To Buy: http://www.thebodyshop.ca

Photo Credit: Sephora
Photo Credit: Sephora

Dry and dull looking skin is usually accompanied with dark under eye circles. It can be a result of staying up late over the holidays and not recovering because of the climate change. To help combat under eye circles, try Clinique’s Pep-Start Eye Cream. This cream is lightweight, and has brightening properties, that will hydrate your skin and make your eyes look alive again.

Where To Buy: http://sephora.com

Photo Credit: The Body Shop
Photo Credit: The Body Shop

I believe that everyone should invest in a really good exfoliant. By using exfoliating creams we get rid of dead skin cells that have been lagging on the surface, and help reveal bright as well as glowing skin underneath.The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Microdermabrasion Scrub is a perfect at home exfoliant. It is infused with Vitamin C, Amazonian Camu Camu, and Community Fair Trade Shea Butter. It is meant to be applied once a week and will illuminate the skin, correct uneven skin-tone and lighten dark spots.

Where To Buy: http://www.thebodyshop.ca

Photo Credit: Lush
Photo Credit: Lush

With winter, we not only get dry skin, but we also come in terms with dry lips. For a quick fix, use a lip exfoliant to give your lips a smooth surface that matches your face. A perfect lip scrub is Lush’s Bubble Gum Lip Scrub. It smells – and tastes – like bubble gum and it will leave your lips feeling hydrated, smooth and looking luscious.

Where To Buy: http://www.lush.ca

Photo Credit: Walmart
Photo Credit: Walmart

Even though it is winter, and the sun loves to hide, UV rays are still peaking through and can cause damage to your skin. Using exfoliators and brightening agents will most definitely leave your skin being a little more sensitive than usual. A sunscreen that I love is Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 70. This sunscreen is super lightweight and is the number one recommended suncare product by dermatologists. Just apply a generous amount on your skin after moisturizing, and you’ll be shielded for the day.

Where To Buy: http://www.walmart.com

Resolution: To Remix Your Workout

For those who’ve thrown in the towel on the gym, here are five quirky ways to break a sweat in Toronto

Here’s my predicament this New Year: I hate the gym (as you do), jogging in the cold is gross, and I’m not nearly disciplined enough to keep up with at-home workouts (I mean, I love you, Kayla Itsines, but my thighs and I are half-convinced that you’re the devil). That being said, my annual resolution of exercising has been looking pretty dismal.

At least, it was, until I got invited to a friend’s parkour-themed birthday party and was reminded of all the strange and wonderful ways one can break a sweat in this city. Think about it: there are indoor obstacle courses, pole dancing classes, aerial silk workshops — and tons of other crazy, quirky exercise options that feel more like a party than a workout. Not to mention that most of them are best experienced with a group of chums.

Here are my five favourites.

Parkour at Pursuit OCR: This place’s logo is “10,000 square feet of awesome.” And they ain’t lying. Remember the McDonald’s Play Place? The jungle gym? The monkey bars? Parkour is basically an adult version of all of those glorious things.

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Photo courtesy of Pursuit OCR

Pole dancing at Brass Vixens: I mean, who wouldn’t want to hone their finesse while getting a premium full-body workout at the same time? Plus, it’s a great way to remember how sexy you can be (even after falling on your ass a few times).

Grassroots workouts at Anchored Social Club: This place is all about getting a good, raw workout. There’s not a piece of gym equipment in sight. Instead, you and your group will use things like bags of rice or planks of wood — all the while being led by trainer Ben Dussault or Robert Dvorchik. They also have some cool vintage tees for sale there, too. Just because.

Photo courtesy of Anchored Social Club
Photo courtesy of Anchored Social Club, by Pat Moore

Yoga dance raves at Temple 23: This is a thing. Temple 23 was co-founded by a Spiritual Guide and Healer, so you know that whatever goes down here’s got to be good. Particularly their regular dance raves, which basically replace drugs and booze with yoga and meditation!

Dance classes at City Dance Corps: You’ve probably heard of this one. They’re known as one of the best dance studios in the city, but they’re not only there for the pros — they offer so many classes for all levels (even n00bs like me), from ballet to breakdance, from aerial silks (!!!) to zumba.

Photo courtesy of City Dance Corps
Photo courtesy of City Dance Corps

Any other alternative workout ideas you want to try in Toronto? Tweet them to me! @novellamagazine or @amanda__storey (that’s two underscores — don’t ask)

SHOP ALL WEEKEND: PERFECT HOLIDAY HAIRSTYLES

Many people have already been to quite a few Christmas parties, and with the holiday right around the corner, you want to look your utmost best. What usually puts an outfit together is how a person styles their hair. Your hair is just as important as the shoes you throw on, or the beautiful necklace you accessorize with. So here are a few simple, but elegant holiday hairstyles, that absolutely anyone can achieve and pull off.

Photo Credit: Etsy
Photo Credit: Etsy

The first hairstyle to debut is a simple low bun. This low bun can be styled with a side or middle part, but either one is perfect. To get the elegant sleek look, make sure to slick back all of your hair, and spray away at any flyaways. If you want to take this look a step further, add a brooch to up the elegant meter.

Where To Buy: http://etsy.com

Photo Credit: Walmart
Photo Credit: Walmart

This next hairstyle is just as simple, or maybe even easier to do. If you want more of a laid back look, try some loose beach waves. To achieve this style, all you need is a basic wand curler and some hairspray. Curl pieces of hair at random to accomplish the messy but classy look, and set the style with some hairspray, so that it lasts the entire night.

Where To Buy: http://walmart.com

Photo Credit: Aliexpress
Photo Credit: Aliexpress

Different braiding hairstyles are definitely in, and a very popular one is the Elsa Braid. This particular braid is similar to a French Braid, except is goes off to the side. So you just start from the very top and work all the way down. If you have short hair and want to try this look for one night, you can get clip-in extensions to add some length. Once they’re in, braid away. And don’t worry if you have strands of hair out of place, the tousled look is the one we’re going for.

Where To Buy: http://aliexpress.com

Photo Credit: Walmart
Photo Credit: Walmart

This last hairstyle is one that is quite similar to the low bun, except you’re not pinning the hair up. You can never go wrong with a nice and smooth, low ponytail. With this style, you can go with a middle part, a side part, or no part at all, and make sure all the hair is slicked back. To get this style to perfection, you can take the extra step of straightening your hair first. For the best results to help you achieve pin straight hair, use the Chi Silk Infusion Restructuring Complex.

Where To Buy: http://walmart.com