Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2017

Let’s say you’ve got a beauty junkie in your life.

Someone that takes at least 30 minutes to get ready, someone who plans their makeup before their outfit (or even coordinates them, which is pretty next level), someone who knows the difference in tones between red lipsticks or someone who enters Sephora and actually knows what they’re looking for.

What do you get this person for Christmas?

Firstly, don’t underestimate the power of a good snoop. See what brands they seem to like, items they go through quickly. Listen to them when they talk about makeup. Maybe there’s something they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves, but something they’ve always wanted.

While you can always go the gift card route — tried and true, though a little uninspired —  you could also dive headfirst into Christmas-shopping-mania and find the perfect gift for the beauty lover in your life.

We can help you there.

tarte Limited Edition Treasure Box

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This is a wildly-well-priced gift set from a wonderful makeup brand, containing almost everything you need to do a full face of makeup except for foundation. tarte’s makeup is good, in the nature of full disclosure they are one of my favourite brands, and is entirely vegan if your beauty junkie is concerned with the ingredients of the product. This guy will keep on giving: the potential for a lot of use, over a long period of time.

Find it here.

Juliette Has a Gun Discovery Kit

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Fragrance is so specific to every person that it’s hard to get it right unless you know someone really well. A good solution to that, of course, is to bombard them with so many scent options they have no choice but to find one they really like (and possibly regift the rest.) Mini perfumes are perfect to take on the go, not to mention Juliette Has a Gun have some wonderfully unique and gorgeous scents available. This is the perfect way for someone to be introduced to the brand.

Find it here.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Set

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So yes, scent is specific to every person, but come on, I think everyone likes Tom Ford. His makeup brand is the pinnacle of luxury. The packaging! The scent! The price tag! This is a splurge gift for sure, only for those who have made peace with a high budget, but if you know your intended gift receiver is a bit of a lush, the you know this gift will be a hit. Like, when you wear this, you smell expensive.

Find it here.

Sephora Favourites Give Me Some Nude Lip

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If you can’t decide on one lipstick to get someone, or if you go spying in their makeup collection see so many brands you don’t even understand how its possible, I will point you in the direction of the Sephora Favourites lip set. This gift set has lippies from Kat Von D, Buxom and Bite Beauty and contains both liquid lipsticks and, well… lip-sitcks. And they’re all nudes so they’re guaranteed to actually be used. Basically the perfect gift for the person you have no idea what to get for.

Find it here.

Fenty Beauty

Okay, so we all know Rihanna is a goddess who can do no wrong, and it was a surprise to absolutely no one that there makeup collection is damn good. Even if someone already has pieces from the collection, it seems unlikely someone would say no to getting more Fenty Beauty. Nearly everything from the collection is a safe bet, but may I point you towards:

Galaxy Eyeshadow Palette
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Glittery eyeshadows galore in beautiful, limited edition packaging.

Find it here.

Killawatt Freestyle Highlight in Trophy Wife
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The greatest highlighter to have ever been made. Whoever wears it will literally look like a million bucks. Like a stack of gold coins.

Find it here.

MAC Rossy de Palma Collection

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“Limited edition” and “collaboration” are words that are pretty exciting and hysteria-inducing in the beauty community and MAC is on top of the game. Their collabs are always timely, well-made, and beyond tempting. They do have a few available right now, such as the Nicki Minaj and Robert Lee Morris collections, and, while both are exquisite, my personal favourite is the collection with Spanish actress Rossy de Palma partly because she’s fabulous and partly because the packaging is so luxe.

Find the collection here.

MAC Snow Ball Pigment and Glitter Kit

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If you know your gift-intended loves some glitz and glam in their life, why not give the gift of glitter? MAC pigments are famous for their staying power and potency and these colours are perfect for the winter. Not to mention they come in a cute little disco ball clutch for even more glam.

Find it here.

Colorpop Yes Please! Palette

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Colorpop is a well-made, incredibly fairly-priced makeup brand, so most of their products are good for the more modest budget but will make a huge impact. The Yes Please! palette is a real show-stopper for the brand. The palette was on Nylon’s beauty hit list of 2017 and features 12 gorgeous warm-toned shades, guaranteed to look good on everyone.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Advent Calendar

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At this point, it’s getting close to the wire, but I had to include one beauty advent calendar, firstly because they are just the best and secondly because they are so difficult to find in Canada that we all need to share the good ones when we are able to find them. L’Occitane’s advent calendar is pretty iconic already, at a decent price point for the amount of high-quality products you get from it. This year they’ve also put out a premium advent calendar for the big spenders, but the original is a great way to introduce someone to the brand if they’ve never tried it before.

Find it here.

L’Occitane Divine Collection

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For the skincare fanatic in your life, L’Occitane is a good way to go, and their Divine collection is a particularly well-advised gifting idea. It’s anti-aging, but you won’t necessarily offend anyone by giving it to them because the products in this line are also moisturizing, luminizing and all-around nice-skin-makers. (That being said, maybe don’t gift this to anyone who is real sensitive about aging.) The set contains an all-over cream, an eye cream, a cleaner and a face oil — a full skincare routine ready to go.

Find it here.

Inspired Soap Works Velvety Salve

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Lastly, I’ve got something pretty different from everything else we’ve talked about on here. Inspired Soap Works is a smaller Canadian company with a big impact, selling hand-made affordable skincare products. One of their last launches are a line of salves for the entire body, from head to toe. The salves are formulated without water, so despite them coming in small packages, they really will go a long way. These are the ideal ~stocking stuffers~.

Find it here.

Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy Review

Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea GreenEnvy

Supporting ethical brands is something that is important to me. Farmacy is a unique brand, that started in New York, which uses powerful superfood ingredients within their products. The Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask with Echinacea Green Envy ($75), is packed with highly concentrated ingredients that leave your skin feeling its best.

What exactly is this product?

To start things off, this mask has a base of honey. Honey moisturizes, cleanses, exfoliates, fades scars, treats acne, brightens and protects skin from environmental damages. The honey they use is all harvested from their farms where the bees pollinate from their echinacea plants. So naturally, the honey is highly concentrated with echinacea, which also has various skincare benefits. Echinacea is anti-aging, fights acne, and soothes the skin (fights redness and heals irritations). The two ingredients together work quickly on the skin to leave your skin highly moisturized, glowing, clear and nourished- in as little as two weeks.

My Review:

I’ve used countless skincare products on my skin, many of those being different kinds of masks. There was something different about this mask that called out to me. To start things off, I like how the brand uses fresh ingredients with high antioxidants in it. In the jar, the mask seems to look similar to a jar of honey. The jar includes a spatula that is magnetized so you never lose it. When you scoop the product out of the jar, the mask appears to be thick like honey, but as you apply it to the skin it completely changes consistency. The mask turns white and becomes very smooth and creamy. It also warms up on the skin which feels amazing. Another thing that I like is that you don’t have to leave the mask on for too long, 10-15 minutes is all. My skincare routine is long enough, the last thing I want is to leave a mask on for ages. After leaving it on, the mask was super easy to remove. A little bit of warm water did the trick. What my skin felt like heaven afterwards is what made me fall in love with this product after a single use (I legit want to buy their entire line of products now). My skin felt so soft, clean and hydrated that I kept rubbing my cheeks, completely obsessed with how it felt. The next day my skin still felt just as amazing and my makeup slid on like a dream. It was as if I’d gone to a spa and had an intensive treatment. If you’re wanting your skin feeling as amazing as mine did, you’ll have to check this product out.

This product is available online from Sephora as well as the Farmacy website.

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Extreme beauty trends

Have you noticed how the beauty world can be a little bit mysterious sometimes?! Shouldn’t beauty trends make us more attractive, more beautiful?

The new generation of beauty gurus are trying to break the traditional beauty standards and are using social media to talk about them. While laser hair removal has become the latest trend, social media is showing us that beauty gurus are not ready to get rid of hair and are, in fact, even developing a cult for keeping it around.

Everything began two years ago when female celebrities proudly showed their hairy underarms on red carpets. At the time, we were talking more about a movement than a trend. It was a way for women to get their power back and to act as they wanted.

Of course, Madonna was one of the first who decided to proudly show off her hairy armpits.

Back in 2016, models with furry nails were seen on the runway at the New York Fashion Week. We owe this incredible manicure trend to Jan Arnold, director and co-founder of CND Nail Polish. What a surprise it was to see hair on models’ hands, but, at the same time, it seemed to be an extension of nail art, something the fashion world could easily accept.

Earlier this year, Instagram showed us a new trend regarding hair: “Squiggle brows”!!! As weird as it sounds, the idea is to create a zig zag shape on your eyebrows. I don’t know about you, but I feel like doing your brows is difficult enough without having to adopt a trend that requires an entire day — especially if it makes you look like an alien.

Few weeks ago, another bizarre trend came up, and, if you have an Instagram account or a Facebook profile, you’ve probably seen this picture in your feed.

Yes, getting fake hair nose extensions is the new trend…!!!!!!!

@Gret_Chen_Chen probably didn’t imagine that the photo reposted a thousand times all over the world. But since then, the trend has taken hold, and is being spread by beauty gurus, and seems to mean something.

Again, isn’t beauty supposed to make you feel pretty? Is it going too far?

The more I ask myself, the more I understand that beauty shouldn’t be a standard but something that makes you feel good and confident. So if having a nose full of hair makes you feel awesome, why not?!

Review: Maui Moisture Haircare

Photo via Pinterest.

For some people, there is an immediate prejudice against drugstore hair care products. Much like with makeup, some consider affordable drugstore brands to be lesser somehow than what can be bought specially at a much higher price. The questions supposedly always comes down to quality and effectiveness. It’s a seemingly simple formula: the more expensive the product, the better it has to work, right?

I can already hear many of you protesting because, of course, that isn’t true. As someone who has tried higher-end, pricier hair care versus more affordable brands, the real difference always comes down to personal preferences and finding products that work for your particular issue.

If you’re me, that issue is having very fine, very straight, limp, damaged hair.

This isn’t to say my hair can be low maintenance: it takes two hours to air dry, doesn’t get very frizzy, and, in fact, doesn’t really do anything except sit limply on my head like a wet pillowcase. And over the course of my life thus far, I’ve tried tons of different products all promising various miraculous things for my lifeless locks. I’ve tried volumizing shampoos and conditioners, mousses, volumizing sprays, texturizing sprays, and, on one memorable occasion, hot rollers. Nothing has ever worked as miraculously as promised. Results were usually lacklustre at best, and most of those sprays and mousses just left my hair flat and crunchy.

But I keep trying things, and through these trials and tribulations, I’ve found a couple of holy grail products (Verb’s volumizing spray and IGK’s dry shampoo for example) and some exciting new finds, like the Thicken & Restore collection from Maui Moisture.

When I had the opportunity to try something from Maui Moisture, I went in with medium expectations based on past experiences. The range promises shiny, healthy hair with volume — a highly sought-after, ideal combination for someone with hair like mine. It’s a lot to claim, but any hair care brand out there does its best to boast in order to stand out on the shelves. But here’s the thing: after using the Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibres Shampoo, Conditioner and Blow Out Mist, I can say this: these guys also didn’t give me immediate, mind-blowing results, but they did work well enough for me.

To start, some of the primary ingredients in both products are aloe juice and coconut water, an interesting combination that gives the products a pretty heady and intense smell, which I actually love but could put off others. While there are unnatural ingredients also in the products, I was keen to try a hair care product that did contain natural ingredients high up on its content list.

So, the ingredients were looking good, the price point was right (about $10.99 a pop) but then I had to test it out. For a few weeks I’ve been using the shampoo and conditioner and then, when I have blow-dry days (about half the time), the spray.

And no, I didn’t have a miracle moment with suddenly amazing hair. It had to take about a week of use, but I did see a bit of life come into my own boring hair. After about two weeks of use, I felt like my hair had movement, when its default state has been that wet pillowcase thing we talked about earlier. That was kind of a big deal for me, to have a product actually work a little bit instead of not working at all.

My true positive result came at about the two week mark, when I was satisfied with my hair that day enough not to curl it with a hot tool, my go-to to give my hair any kind of shape and bounce. That isn’t to say I didn’t style my hair with hot tools the next day, but it felt good to skip it once. And another weird effect is that my day-two hair now rocks.

The Maui Moisture products did not make my hair magically thicker, but they did make it have a little bounce while moisturizing it really well. Since I do style it with hot tools frequently and have dyed it many times in the past, my poor hair is seriously damaged and always crying out for help. It was really nice to find more products that balance moisture without being heavy on fine hair. You kind of get the best of both worlds with these.

So, yes, I’m sold on the Maui Moisture Thicken & Restore + Bamboo Fibres stuff. It worked really well for me, the chronic flat-hair-er of Canada, and I would recommend trying it to anyone else with similar hair issues. Especially for that price point, as it did work more effectively on my head than some other salon products I’ve tried did. Not that I’ll name brands or anything. Just know they didn’t work out. Shhhhh.

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LAB SERIES: The Science Behind A Great looking Complexion

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

Regardless if you’re a man or a woman, skin changes happen and it’s important to be ready for them. LAB SERIES, an Estée Lauder brand, introduced a new line of men’s grooming products guaranteed to change the way you take care of your skin. Incorporating these five essential skincare products will help to recharge, brighten, and energize your skin for decades to come.

Wash it Up: Clean and Clear

Whether your skin type is dry, oily, or a combination of the two, adding a high-performance face wash is essential for a clean and healthy looking complexion. This multifunctional All-In-One Face Cleansing Gel ($18) deeply cleans, refreshes and balances the complexion without over-drying or irritating the skin. This product also works well for guys with facial hair due to its rich and clean lather. Use morning and night for optimum results.

Moisture Lock

If you haven’t been introduced to the extreme hydrating benefits of a Solid Water Essence ($47) you’re seriously missing out. This bamboo and ginseng infused ingredient powerhouse helps to maintain the moisture and structural balance in the skin and is an innovation in men’s skincare. Use directly after cleansing for best results. Follow with your favorite LAB SERIES products to complete the regimen.

Recharged Now for Later

As we age, our skin becomes drier and less resilient, making it prone to wrinkles and unsightly sagging. Treat a dry and aging complexion with a Water-Charged Gel Cream ($50). This deeply hydrating, lightly scented gel cream maintains the moisture balance in the skin while protecting it against further signs of aging. Apply to the face and neck twice daily for optimum results.

Future Rescue and Repair

If you’re looking for an intense burst of hydration, look no further than Future Rescue Repair Serum ($60). Facial serums are well known for their high-quality ingredients and their ability to repair and benefit the skin. Brightness and skin vitality is restored. Highly concentrated to protect against environmental pollutants, stressors, and aging skin. Use twice daily for optimum results.

Intensely Hydrate

This All-In-One Face Hydrating Gel ($30) gently nourishes and cools the skin while protecting it against further signs of aging and environmental damage. This unique and multifaceted hydrating gel deeply moisturizes the complexion without leaving an oily or heavy residue. Light in texture, it dries with a smooth matte finish and is suitable for all skin types. Use as often as needed for the best results.

LAB SERIES products can be found online and in stores. Visit their website here for the nearest store near you. Continue following our health & lifestyle coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.