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.

A New Standard: The Rise of the Male Beauty Vlogger

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

The signing of a male face to a predominately female brand is big business, and cosmetics giants are jumping at the chance to have men as their latest beauty brand ambassadors. According to WWD, more young men are into cosmetics and are no longer afraid to express themselves, and the industry is going where the men are. With that comes the rise and success of male beauty vloggers. Here are five social media gurus shaking up the beauty business.

James Charles

When you think of Covergirl, a few famous names may come to mind — Christie Brinkley, Tyra Banks, Taylor Swift, and, more recently, Katy Perry. Until very recently, as is the case with many other cosmetics brands, Covergirl has been predominately marketed to women of all ages.

In October 2016, 17-year-old James Charles was named the first male spokesperson for the cosmetics brand. With approximately 1.5 million Instagram followers and more than 885,000 Youtube subscribers (, James Charles was the easy breezy choice for Covergirl. The cosmetic brand expressed their excitement: “Role models are boundary breakers, fearlessly expressing themselves, standing up for what they believe, and redefining what it means to be beautiful… and James is no exception”.

Alex Rivera

Despite nearly 200,000 Youtube subscribers( and 272,000 followers on Instagram, for 26-year-old Alex Rivera it’s not all about glamour. This edgy and talented artist takes his makeup application to the next level with his special FX Halloween vlogs. His 31 days of Halloween makeup tutorials remain unchallenged due to his skill, technique, and pure imagination.

His vlogs are also chock full of ah-mazing makeup, skin and hair care advice. His natural, No Make-up, Makeup, Tutorial for Men is particularly poignant for guys who want to improve their appearance with a little foundation but want the coverage to look as natural as possible. According to Rivera, for natural looking coverage it’s important to stay away from too much product. Try Baca’s Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème ($53.00  

Wayne Goss

Makeup artist and brush extraordinaire Wayne Goss takes a more natural approach to makeup application. At 39, his tutorials are beginner friendly and extremely useful for the guy who prefers to keep his age, shall we say, concealed. With nearly 3 million Youtube subscribers (, 545,000 Instagram followers, a successful brush line (, and collaborations with UK based skin guru Paula’s Choice, Goss is at the top of his beauty game.

His tutorials cover everything from the trouble with cream concealers to foundation application and must have products. Many of Goss’ vlogs focus on those pesky creases that foundation and concealer can leave after settling into fine lines due to wear and oil build-up. For Goss, he stays away from cream concealers because “they can make you look 700 hundred years old, which no one wants”.

In his vlog, The Trouble with Concealer: Caking into Lines, Goss explains that due to its texture cream concealer easily settles into fines lines regardless of age. To combat this problem, Goss recommends using a primer to stop the concealer from creasing or caking. It’s also best to find a concealer that is liquid in form. Try Nars Creamy Concealer ($37.00

Manny Gutierrez

Youtube and Instagram sensation Manny Gutierrez, also know as Manny MUA, is a successful makeup and beauty vlogger who believes that “makeup is genderless”. His Youtube channel ( has nearly 3,000,000 subscribers, while  his Instagram account has a staggering 3.5 million followers.

Similar to James Charles, Manny has scored a contract with a major beauty brand. The media star and beauty influencer will promote Maybelline’s Big Shot Mascara by Colossal. According to an article by the New York Times, “beauty contracts are the brass ring for celebrities — a nod to a rising profile, broadening profiles and wallets.” Manny will be the first male spokesperson for the cosmetics brand.

Gabriel Zamora


With his Rainbow Bright blue hair, flawless skin, and utterly gorgeous pout you can’t get much prettier then Gabriel Zamora. His stunning transformations and amazing makeup tutorials will leave you breathless. With 168,000 Youtube subscribers ( and 269, 000 Instagram followers, and partnerships with Ipsy and Mac cosmetics, Zamora’s star power is quickly rising.

His eyebrow and highlight tutorials are particularly useful for the guy who needs a little more brow power. For drool worthy brows, Zamora recommends Benefit ka-BROW ($32.oo www.sehpora.comin color six. This cream gel brow product works somewhat like a pomade sculpting and filling the brows.

Throughout the fashion, beauty and grooming industries we have seen a sharp increase in personal expression, acceptance and attitude.  Wearing makeup is no longer essentially female, whether it be concealing minor skin imperfections, filling in sparse brows, or using a little foundation for a little complexion perfection. Makeup like everything else has become universal. Continue following our beauty coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Spring style Revamp: Three Runway Looks For Less!

TEXT: Chris Zaghi and Claire Ball

Gone are the days when the standard polyester pantsuit or pencil skirt were the go-to for every woman at the office. The new 9-5 wardrobe should tastefully represent your personal style, as well as the atmosphere of your workplace. The same goes for your beauty routine. You want to look professional and put together without foregoing some extra oomph to your everyday makeup look.

When looking toward the weekend, most of the times all you want to do is throw on a t-shirt and sweats, but hear us out. Loungewear is great for picking up groceries, walking the dog, and laying about and watching Netflix. But sometimes the weekend calls for a little pizazz! An easy weekend solution is to keep your makeup minimal instead of your clothes. Why not amp up your weekend style with some comfy show stoppers that’ll have all your friends begging you for fashion advice and opt for a minimal makeup look?

Now evening wear and formalwear can be a bit tough. There are tons of rules and guidelines on what’s right and what’s wrong. No white at weddings, no stretch fabrics, avoid things that are too casual. All of these rules can make it almost impossible to find something that won’t be gasped at by the rest of night’s guests. Luckily, over the last few years, how we look at formal attire has changed drastically. Outfits that would have never gone over well at formal events are now slowly being accepted. And more outlandish and gaudy designs are being celebrated at events instead of being shunned. This opens up a lot of doors to what you can wear to a formal event this year. So keep your makeup relatively classic with a bit of a twist and let your outfit do the talking!

Office Ready: Chanel vs. Zara

Photos: Vogue Runway – Zara

Zara Textured Weave Cardigan &  Zara Structured Mini Skirt With Ruffle:

$135.80 online or in store

Zara has a long-standing tradition of providing the fashion-forward masses with reasonably priced and well-made clothing inspired by the world’s most exclusive luxury labels. The clothing you find in most Zara boutiques tends to lean toward a very elegant and trend-positive style. And when looking for the perfect 9-5 outfit, elegance, assertiveness, and freshness are key. For example, Zara has recently added this beautiful tweed set to their lookbook. Elegantly trimmed with a fire engine red hem and buttoned with faux pearl accents. This classic style mirrors the suits Mademoiselle Coco made famous decades ago, but with an added flirty twist. This especially helps with keeping your 9-5 wardrobe fresh and exciting (and you can mix and match the set too!)

Office Makeup look: Blush(ing)

Photos: Vouge – MAC Cosmetics

MAC Casual Colour in Hi Jinks: $31.00 in store or online

In case you were absent during the ’80s, now is the time to embrace a retro throwback in your beauty routine. The spring/summer runway was both subtly and extravagantly reminiscent of the decade and one of the most popular makeup tributes to it was bright blush and lips. Designers like Kenzo, Reem Acra, and Adam Selman all participated in various versions of the retro blush. This look from the Chanel spring/summer 2017 runway features a strong, bright coral cheek contour with a hint of coral on the lips to evenly brighten up the face. MAC has a line of creamy multipurpose lip and cheek stains that are perfect for recreating this look for the office on your own! Just trace the cream colour up the cheekbones, and around the eyes. If you’re really feeling the 80s vibes, finish it off by dabbing a little bit on the lips for an added pop of colour. This beauty look screams springtime while also keeping it professional and pretty for work.

Weekend Chic: A.P.C vs. ASOS

Photos: Vogue Runway – ASOS

ASOS Denim Crop Jacket with Ruffle HemASOS Ridley Skinny Jeans

$138.62 + Shipping

Weekend outfits often tend to lean towards whatever is the most casual (and clean) that’s laying around your room. This can lead to some serious drab moments when going out and hitting up the town. Luckily, ASOS has a slew of different dressy yet uber-casual options for you to beef up your weekend wardrobe. Now, most people don’t want to wear a blouse on the weekend. No problem. Denim is your best friend in this case. The denim jacket and jeans give you the same refined, high fashion silhouette that the A.P.C ensemble gives you, just without the high fashion price tag. The pulled in waist and ruffles paired with matching skinny jeans give this look a fresh and expressive take on your traditional Canadian tuxedo.

Weekend Makeup look: No-Makeup Makeup

Photos: Vouge – Sephora

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20: $55.00 in store or online

The bare skin “no-makeup” look has been seen before, but this season it seems that it was more popular than ever. With designers like Isabel Marant, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Christian Dior all displaying a minimalist approach to makeup on the runway, there is no denying the obvious appeal of the “no-makeup” look. Radiant, clear skin like this look from the Stella McCartney spring 2017 show, is the perfect way to keep it casual, fresh, and chic on the weekend. Just apply a good tinted moisturizer, like Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with SPF 20, to even out your skin and bring out your natural radiance with a dewy glow. If you need to cover some blemishes, just touch them up with a little bit of concealer and blend it out. To complete the ultimate natural look, brush up your eyebrows and you’re good to go!

A Beautiful Evening Out: Gucci vs. Free People

Photos: Vogue Runway – Free People

Garden Life Maxi Dress$327.50 online or in store

Evening wear can be a tricky thing to get right. With all the guidelines surrounding what to wear, most people opt for something black and that’s that. However, modern evening wear doesn’t have to end up being so uptight. One big trend we’ve been seeing are florals — explosions of colourful blooms completing outfits in exotic prints and embroidery. And that’s just the right amount of punch your closet needs to fulfill all your formalwear desires. Free People does a wonderful job of merging elegance and hippie-chic in a neat little package, and the Garden Life maxi dress does just that. Mirror the beautiful blooms seen at Gucci this season. The dress is perfect for this year’s upcoming wedding season and any other spring/summer event that requires a little evening magic. Who knows, maybe you can even turn a dull winter party into a tropical paradise if you have the guts to do it.

Evening Makeup look: The Smudgy Eye

Photos: Vogue – Sephora

Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner: $31.00 in store or online

This “still wearing last night’s makeup” look is the new smokey eye. The spring/summer runway was all about the smudgy eye. Runway looks from Rag & Bone, Christopher Kane, and Balmain featured similar versions of the black, ashy, smudged out liner look. Pairing this makeup with the floral Garden Life Maxi Dress adds an edgier vibe for a perfect night out look. The best part about this beauty trend is that you no longer have to stress about drawing a straight line! Use Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner to rim your eyes, and using a smudging brush, Q-tip, or your fingertip, smudge out the liner to create an “already worn out” smudged and smokey look.

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5 Makeup Tips To Change Your Look From Day to Night

When you’re rushing to finish up at the office before making a quick escape across town to meet up with some friends for after work drinks, you don’t have a lot of time to spare on your appearance. After all, you don’t want to be late and keep your hangry friends waiting for you. People lead busy and hectic lives. Between work, commuting, social calendars, Netflix binge watching, and date nights, it’s a miracle we even have a minute to find clean underwear, let alone do our makeup. So what are we to do when we’re stuck at the office until 5:43pm, but are set to meet friends for happy hour at 6? Here are 5 quick ways to refresh your makeup and make the most of your touchup.

Add Drama with Eyeliner

Eyeliner can make all the difference in your look — especially if you’re crunched for time. All you need is a good liquid eyeliner like Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner or a gel liner like Tarte Clay Pot Waterproof Liner to create a bold cat eye.

Add Boldness with Lipstick

If you have no time for anything else, switch up your lipstick. Swap your chap stick covered lips for something with a bit more colour or a matte finish. Making a statement with a classic red lip like Rimmel’s Lasting Finish Matte by Kate Moss in shade 107 or even a neutral matte lip colour like MAC cosmetics matte shade in “Really Me” can go a long way with a bit of eyeliner. It’s the simplest way to transform your look. In my opinion, less is more. You don’t need anything crazy to refresh your makeup — plus, nudes are really in right now.

Add Depth with Eyeshadow

If eyeliner isn’t your forte, or you’re already rocking the winged liner look, you’ve got the perfect reason to create a quick smoky eye. After all, nothing says GNO like a dark smokey eye. Darker smokey shadow pallets like MAC Peachluxe Veluxe Pearl Fusion Shadow or Smashbox Cover Shot Golden Hour Eye Pallet. These pallets are perfect because they’re small enough to have in your purse on-the-go, and they have a variety of shades to create a seamless smokey eye. If you’re already wearing eyeliner, smudge it out a little bit for an even bolder smokey eye effect. Don’t be afraid to bring your smokey eye to the bottom and use your finger to smudge it out too!

Add Glow with Highlighter

Light up the night with a hint of strobing. Keep an illuminating highlighter stick like NARS Multiple Stick in Copacabana, in your purse or office desk to enhance your glow and make the high points of your face — cheekbones, nose, cupid’s bow, and under the brow — shimmer in the night.

Add Definition with Contour

Chiseling your face with a quick contour is a great way to take your makeup from day to night. If you know you’re going to need it, keep a contour-highlighting kit like Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit readily available. If that’s too much to have on hand, you can easily use a bronzer like Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzer to work your angles and create the same effect.

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The excitement of Toronto Men’s Fashion Week (TOM) has finally wrapped up until the next season. We witnessed an arrangement of outstanding shows by various designers, showcasing their latest pieces of work. But with all of the thrill watching these handsome men strut down the runway, we tend to forget that it’s not only about the apparel.


Even though these men are naturally gorgeous, it takes a team of makeup artists and hairstylists to have them on their A-game. This year, TOM teamed up with the highly commercial brand, MAC Cosmetics, to have their models looking clean and dapper. But what better way to bring in one of the top makeup brands around the world, than to introduce their team leader and Senior Mac Makeup Artist, Jane McKay.


Jane has been working as a professional makeup artist for 38 years, and has worked with MAC Cosmetics for 28 years. She was first hired by the creators to generate the Artist Training Division. She then moved on to run the Global Sales Division, followed by helping to create Mac Pro, and is now in her current position as the Senior Mac Makeup Artist. With such a large portfolio and great knowledge in this field , Jane has had the opportunity to take her work to international fashion week’s in New York, Milan, London and Paris.  When it comes to the makeup, the overall direction is quite similar. 75% of the shows are compiled with a nice natural look, and the remaining 25% would have an array of dramatic looks.


This year for TOM, the main focus was male grooming and brows. To achieve a bright, healthy, and natural glow to the skin, Jane had a list of must-have grooming products. These products included, the MAC Cosmetics Brows Are It! Big Brow Pencil, MAC Cosmetics, Fast Response Eye Cream, MAC Cosmetics Studio Moisture Cream, MAC Cosmetics Brows Are It! Brow Pencil, MAC Cosmetics Studio Finish Concealer, MAC Cosmetics Prep+Prime Fix+ Spray, MAC Cosmetics Oil Control Lotion, MAC Cosmetics Prep+Prime Face Protect SPF50, MAC Cosmetics Prep+Prime Natural Radiance, and MAC Cosmetics Volcanic Ash Exfoliator.

The overall result was to take care of the skin as best as they could, to achieve flawless results. They used these products to exfoliate, moisturize, conceal any blemishes or dark circles, filled in any gaps within the brows, added moisture to the lips, and then powdered their faces, with a high emphasis on the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin for lighting purposes).


Tyler Lord - Paradise Reef 3

Jane feels that the way of makeup is drastically changing for men, and it’s a phenomenon that is starting to become a lot more accepting. Three out of the 18 shows did incorporate the use of a more dramatic makeup technique. One could say that inspiration was taken by her makeup heroes, Adam Lambert, and the late David Bowie.


It was a pleasure to sit down and speak to Jane about the overview of grooming for the show. She also gave me some important skincare tips that I would like to share with you all!


MAC Cosmetics Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Cosmetics Volcanic Ash Exfoliator


“I don’ think men know the power of exfoliation, and we have something called the Volcanic Ash Exfoliator (MAC). But if you exfoliate twice a week, you get rid of that dry looking, dehydrated looking, dead skin. That’s actually just sitting on the surface waiting to shed, and you’re just helping it come off. When you do that, the skin will glow more because it doesn’t have that dry surface.”

oil control
MAC Cosmetics Oil Control Lotion


“I do believe in using moisturizers to plump up the skin, because they truly do. If you look at your skin in the summer when there’s more relative humidity outside, your skin will be smoother because it’s plumped up. More than you are now in February and March, which is probably the most drying time right now for us, because the heating systems have sucked the moisture out of our skin.”

essential oil
MAC Cosmetics Essential Oils


“We almost need a little extra oil to hold that moisture in. So I do believe in the winter, we Canadians in these colder climates, do need a little dot of an essential oil, or you can use just a more richer cream that holds moisture in.”

mac face protect
MAC Cosmetics Face Protect Lotion SPF 50


“In the summer when you’re exposed more to the elements, that’s when for sure I just think SPF is essential. Whether it’s an SPF15, or we have something up to a 50 in some of our primers. So SPF is essential because it is the number one anti-aging thing that everyone can do. When you prevent yourself from the sun, and the ultra violet, and the free radical energies, that does overtime take a toll on our skin. So I do believe we need an SPF in the winter too.”

night cream
MAC Cosmetics Studio Moisture Cream


“Using a good night cream even in the winter is helpful. I don’t really think everyone needs a night cream in the summer. It really does a lot and holds our natural moisture. Our moisture doesn’t evaporate and our skin doesn’t feel dry. So if guys want to go to bed at night, just wash their face and go, go right ahead. But a lot of women wash their face and still put a moisturizer on. It kind of feels better, and it keeps that moisture in.”

makeup wipes
MAC Cosmetics Wipes


“At night time that’s when the body does its healing and rejuvenation. So I always do encourage women to take their makeup off before bed, for healthier skin.”

Photos courtesy of: Shayne Gray, Tyler Lord, Katrina Sung, and image001 Cosmetics