Review: True Glow by Conair

Shedding your dry winter skin in exchange for soft and supple summer skin can be a challenge. I’ve heard of skin brushing before, but never once have I ever thought to give it a try myself. To be honest, I always viewed it as an additional, and rather unnecessary, part of a beauty routine. My skin has always had a dry and uneven texture to it. And up until recently I also believed that my skin was too dry and sensitive to use a skin brush to exfoliate my face. As it turns out, skin brushing has been proven to have many positive health benefits like increasing circulation, eliminating waste and toxins, reducing fat deposits, and even tightening the skin and toning muscles.

True Glow from Conair is an excellent way to rejuvenate yourself for the summer months and buff away your drab winter skin. True Glow has various attachments to help exfoliate and eliminate dead skin, leaving your skin incredibly soft and refreshed. It also uses Sonic technology, which means there is not just a rotation but also a pulsation to lift dirt from the skin and help to cleanse clogged pores. The device also has a high, medium, and low settings, which makes it perfect for people with different skin types. It is rechargeable, waterproof, and relatively compact, which makes it ideal for storage purposes and traveling.

My Experience

After my very first time using True Glow by Conair, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I had waited all this time to try skin brushing. The first thing I noticed immediately after using it was the difference in my skin’s texture. I suffer from rough, dry, uneven texture and it has been nearly impossible for me to find something that was consistently benefiting my skin. The first time I used it was in the evening as a part of my bedtime skincare routine. I had removed my makeup before using it, and I decided to use the lowest power setting since it was my first time using the device. Afterward, my face felt successfully cleaned and exfoliated without feeling tight or irritated. It removed all the excess dirt and makeup that was left behind by my makeup remover. Honestly, I also feel like it’s the best way to get the most out of your facial cleanser and skin care routine. The benefits of a facial cleanser are enhanced with the help of skin brushing. After about a week of consistent use, I genuinely believe my skin has never looked or felt better. It looks clearer, healthier, and more toned. I am so happy I jumped on the skin brushing bandwagon, and I can’t see myself ever jumping off! If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend giving skin brushing a chance.

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Review: SkinHealth King West

Your skin is the largest, the most visible, and the most complex human organ. That’s why it is so incredibly important to take good care of it. Give yourself an extra boost of nutrition — and I’m not talking about clean eating and kale diets. Feed your skin with the proper vitamins and it will thank you!

SkinHealth Clinics (I visited the King St. West location), focus on achieving sustainable and natural results by Feeding, Boosting, and Finishing your skin using their Skin90 treatment plan. It all starts with a consultation regarding your skin goals and concerns, and what needs to be done for your skin to thrive. As it turns out your skin needs active ingredients like vitamins A, C, and E, antioxidants, and peptides. Your feed is the take home product and “daily diet” your skin needs to sustain itself in a healthy way. During your consultation, you will discuss an at-home skin care routine that best suits your needs and concerns. Your boost is the in clinic treatment. This appointment with your Skin Coach and Registered Nurse takes approximately 90 minutes. It’s designed to increase penetration of active ingredients, i.e., Vitamins A, C, and E, stimulate collagen and elastin production. Long story short, one in-clinic boost is equal to 40 days of at home product, so it is the perfect way to accelerate results and achieve healthier skin faster. Finishing treatments address specific concerns around volume loss (fillers), and wrinkles (Botox) if necessary for your skin.

My Experience

I never really thought of my skin as something that needs to be “fed” a healthy diet. But SkinHealth taught me, and showed me, how important vitamins are for your skin. My skin has come a long way over the years. But, like everyone, I have specific skin concerns. My skin is dry, red, and is prone to breakouts and blackheads. Overall, it’s not terrible, but it could definitely improve.

After discussing my concerns with Melissa, my Skin Coach, and registered nurse, she chose a clinic treatment for my needs. My boost treatment plan was called Environ’s DF Vitamin Infusion Treatment. It started with a gentle clay mask exfoliation and deep cleanse. After that, we used something called “sonophoresis,” which uses a probe to produce high-frequency sound to “shake” the skin cells and allow the active ingredients to fall through. It feels like someone is massaging your face and at times you can hear a high pitched sound. For the last step of my boost treatment she used “iontophoresis.” This final step uses energy to help push active ingredients into the skin with a thick white alginate mask. This mask was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I didn’t feel anything really, except a very thick sheet masking cover your entire face including your eyes and mouth (optional), but for the first few seconds, after the mask was clipped to an energy producing machine, you can see a little light show while your eyes are sealed shut. Overall, it was a very different but informative and cool experience.

Final Thoughts

When I left the clinic, my skin felt super soft, clean, and refreshed. When I got home and looked in the mirror, it looked healthier and more glowing than it ever had. I took a selfie in the car and posted it on my Instagram story. A friend of mine texted me asking if I had makeup on, and I said no. She was amazed at the results. So I guess what I’m trying to say is my skin was clearly thirsty for vitamins, and I would absolutely recommend SkinHealth’s treatment if you are having trouble with your skin, or you just want to try giving your skin an extra boost. They offer a variety of different treatments plans to focus on various concerns from aging to acne and everything in between. If you are in a crunch and need to be ready for an event, it is the perfect way to get your skin in the best shape it can be in!

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Best Face Forward: Blitz Facial Bar Review

TEXT: Alexander Sauve

After the holiday season, who doesn’t need a little pampering to get their skin back on track? Blitz Facial Bar offers superior facials at a fraction of the time and cost without sacrificing the oh-so important spa experience. Catering to the skincare needs of both men and women–the beauty gurus at Blitz are guaranteed to help you on your quest for a little complexion perfection.

Blitz has all the attributes you would expect from a day spa–a modern and relaxed atmosphere, an inviting and courteous staff, but has a high-end salon or barbershop vibe with its perfectly aligned white chairs and simple yet comfortable design.  

My treatment began with a brief overview of the basics of the facial, what to (and what not to) expect and aftercare. My esthetician Sarah, who was fabulous by the way, made sure I felt at ease and relaxed while answering my questions and concerns regarding my skin.

I received The Works (118$). This sixty minute super facial delivers a deep cleanse and exfoliation to the skin by taking the classic blitz + glow treatment (48$) and adding in microdermabrasion, a steam, an extraction and a deep lymphatic facial massage.

A facial steam helps to eliminate dirt and debris from the skin’s pores. With a freshly prepped face, your pores are set to better absorb the products your esthetician may use. It is also a great way to improve circulation and eliminate toxins from the skin.

Following the steam–the extractor (not to be confused with your fears of the dentist or some B rated horror film) is an effective way to remove those pesky blackheads and hard to reach blemishes without having to worrying about troublesome scarring, redness or irritation.

The benefits of massage have long been documented for it’s circulatory, health and healing properties. A deep tissue lymphatic facial massage stimulates muscles increasing collagen production while giving your skin a healthy natural glow. Sarah used derma rollers (think mini rolling pins) to smooth and relax my skin. I thoroughly enjoyed the thought and feeling of my face being smoothed out, with the tension literally being rolled away.

I will admit, I am a big of Microdermabrasion and was totally looking forward to this portion of the facial. Micro (as its known in some circles) is used to gently lift away dead skin cells leaving the skin polished and refreshed. The procedure is great for all skin types and is an effective form of deeper exfoliation and requires next no down time. With multiple treatments microdermabrasion can also soften fine lines, wrinkles and acne scars.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons–Microdermabrasion remains among the top five of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures performed in 2015. Botox, fillers, chemical peels and laser hair removal round out the top five. These procedures remain popular due to their affordability, little to no downtime and can be done on your lunch hour.   

With the rise in popularity of oxygen facials the spa also offers The O2 Blitz (190$). This oxygen derma facial is clinically proven to brighten and lift the skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles. For a deep cleanse and exfoliation, Blitz offers the Micro (78$). It cleans while gently exfoliating away dirt and debris from the skins surface. These treatments are perfect for monthly or seasonal maintenance.

My overall experience at Blitz Facial Bar was amazing. From beginning to end, Sarah made sure I felt comfortable and relaxed. After my treatment, I was left with a bit of redness, but it subsided quickly and left my skin looking incredibly smooth and polished.

Blitz will personally customized your treatment to compliment your skin and its individual needs. This full service facial spa offers a variety of treatments guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. For a younger, smoother, and more radiant complexion add Blitz as part of your scheduled grooming and/or beauty regimen.

Blitz Facial Bar is available at four locations across Toronto, Trinity Bellwoods, Roncesvalles, Leslieville and at their newest location 65 Queen Street West (PATH).

Treat Yourself Real in 2017

A couple of years ago, I used to close my eyes and imagine colourful videos. That was my reflection on the brightest moments of my life. Sadly, I notice that it’s getting harder and harder to do the same now. While images keep changing, I see less and less continuous scenes. Life becomes more of a picture rather than a video. A picture in a museum, a picture on the beach, a picture in a new cafe… We are trying to be everywhere and experience everything. But very often, instead of experiencing we get just another picture on Instagram.

That’s why my biggest New Year’s resolution is to capture everything I do, wear, and experience in my heart. Here are some tips on how to treat yourself REAL in 2017.

Musician Oddane Taylor. Photo by Sveta Soloveva

Go for Music

You already know how to make Spotify and Soundcloud create a playlist that satisfies your musical tastes. However, you can make your musical experience even more entertaining by actually going to events. The fact that the Greater Toronto Area is a home to many talented producers, singers, and DJs makes your musical discovery not only exciting but also affordable. You don’t always need to spend hundreds of dollars on a ticket to see someone at the Air Canada Centre. A lot of musicians prefer to hit nightclubs. For example, a Brampton-based rapper Roy Woods has recently performed in Mod Club, while Tory Lanez (from Brampton as well) threw a dancehall party in Rebel. A $25-50 ticket for those shows buys you a party and adds many favourite songs to your playlist. The songs that you will have personal connections to.

Bonus: Check Red Bull Sound Select for more inspiration. Last fall, I explored Mick Jenkins and Smino, two cool hip hop artists on one of the Red Bull concerts.

Sousse, Tunisia

Make your travel destination your dream motherland

Instead of hitting multiple places, explore one place in depth. Saying you’ve been all over the world sounds cool, but saying it doesn’t make it real! Your trip doesn’t deserve a quick glance from bus windows or an impressive post on Facebook or Instagram.

Build a relationship with a place. Make a playlist of its music and listen to it on the plane. Meet the locals and go to their parties. Dance with them and listen to them talk. That will tell you a lot about the country.

Ask your new friends (not your tour guide) about the best places to eat, go for a picnic, and party. Keep your head up, don’t let the camera on your neck restrain you from looking around. Pick one or two days for a proper photoshoot, and forget about pictures for the rest of your trip. Breathe, take your time to stop and live in a moment. That’s what will make your travel experience unforgettable.

Last summer I made friends with Tunisian animators during my stay at a hotel in Sousse. I helped them host mini-disco for kids and entertain people on the beach. That experience made me closer to Tunisian culture and added many funny moments to my vacation.

Bonus: Explore the world through volunteering and educational programs. They will help you bring a positive change to the communities and make new friends. Volunteer Forever has recently posted 2017 Best Volunteer Abroad Programs, Organizations, & Projects.

Photo by Olga Rodionova

Build Your Dream Wardrobe

This year make your style iconic by purchasing only high-quality clothes and clothes that will tell a unique story about you. Don’t buy items because they are on sale or because you just need another sweater. Choose something you really love. Most of the time, it will be pricier, I agree. But with hundreds of fast fashion items in your wardrobe, you still complain about having nothing to wear — it’s worth a try.

I noticed that clothes that I usually buy in malls lose their attraction after a couple of weeks. But items such as overalls from Smoke + Ash or a Mischa Lampert fur-pom-pom beanie that I bought years ago, still give me confidence and a sense of beauty.

Items that I got when traveling to other countries make me feel special too. One of a kind leather gloves with orange ruffles that I bought in Venice seven years ago still get many compliments as well as a cheap scarf that I bought in Turkey.

Make your skin your sunshine

It’s fun to smell and try different skin products. But honestly ask yourself: Do you really need all those day and night creams, toners, and serums? Loading your face up with products or using many of them at the same time might cause irritations and breakouts.

Clean your beauty shelf out of everything that didn’t work for you last year and leave or add only those products that make your skin perfect.

If you still haven’t found your ideal skincare, you might want to check Mèreadesso, a new line that Novella reviewed last month.

The creator Linda Stephenson proposes a simple combination of products such as moisturizer, cleanser, and body balm that will replenish all the needs of your skin.

Bonus: DIY beauty hack recipes for fans of natural treats.

Photo: Tullahoma News

Don’t take your phone to the gym

Get better results from your workout by simply leaving your phone in a locker. My personal trainer in Russia always asked me if I was thinking about something else while exercising. He urged me to turn off my brain for half an hour and think only about the areas of my body I was working on. Exercises such as sculpting and stretching need your full attention. Checking your phone and messaging interrupts you from the process and extends your breaks between exercises, which can ruin the entire workout. If you already follow this phone etiquette, try to improve your results by shortening your breaks between exercises.

Photo: Food & Wine Magazine

Go on a food trip in your kitchen

Tired of your standard dinner recipes? Broaden your culinary horizons and take your family on a food trip! Ask your Italian friend about an authentic pasta recipe or get an Irish family to give you the secret for the best Shepherd’s Pie. You can also search for the recipes on the Internet. Write them on pieces of paper and throw them in a bowl. This is your new culinary globe! Each time you aren’t sure what to cook for dinner and thinking about ordering in a pizza, slip your hand into the bowl and cook whatever you get. Moroccan chicken tonight? Hawaiian poke bowl tomorrow? All countries come to your kitchen in homemade goodness.

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Product Review: Mèreadesso

Wanting perfect skin is one thing, but searching for perfect skincare products in a world with so many sending you hundreds of mixed messages can not only be difficult, but it can also be downright discouraging. As someone who has spent most of my life in search of products that can properly take care of my skin, I understand that the struggle is way too real.

Now that I am in my twenties, I am finally starting to learn more about my skin and what it’s like. But skincare has become so confusing and extravagant. With cleansers, toners, serums, creams, oils, milks, and moisturizers, it’s hard to know what you need. It makes finding what works for you a nightmare you can’t escape. At this rate, by the time you do find your perfect skincare, you’ll need a different one because you’ll have aged 20 years.

Luckily for me, I was given the chance to try a new line of skincare known as Mèreadesso. Mèreadesso was created by Linda Stephenson, a chemist, botanist, and microbiologist, who was formerly a senior product developer for Estée Lauder. When Linda became a mom, she truly understood what it means to have no time to herself, so she decided to create a product that would do multiple things at once (i.e. day/night/eye cream, primer, toner). Mèreadesso is also the only Canadian line carried by Nordstrom’s beauty department.

Over the course of a couple of weeks, I tried out some Mèreadesso products to see what this new line had to offer.

Face and Neck Cleanser

At first, I was a little caught off guard and skeptical about using the microfiber cloth with the cleanser. This cleanser reminded me more of a cleansing milk. Its non-foamy formula acts as a cleanser, mask, toner, and eye makeup remover. Initially, I questioned whether or not it actually cleaned my skin, because in the past I have always used foamy products that lather on my skin. But after the first night of using the cleanser, I was impressed. My makeup was completely removed and my face felt clean and smooth; my skin looked and felt better than I expected.

Note: I was given the small travel sachet size of the face and neck cleanser to try, along with a mini travel sized microfibre cloth, but you can purchase this cleanser and cloth in a full-size 4oz bottle as well.

All-in-One Moisturizer

I suffer from having fairly dry and sensitive skin, so proper moisturizing is important to me. What I loved most about this moisturizer is how it made my skin look. The all-in-one moisturizer claims to be a single step product that replaces day cream, night cream, eye cream, serum, and primer. It is said to decrease redness and tighten and tone the skin while reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Once again, I was skeptical about the performance of the moisturizer, but once again I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was my skin well hydrated and moisturized, but it also really did seem more toned, tightened, and even. As far as moisturizers go, this one works well for me.

Tinted Lip Treats

As someone who is constantly applying lip product on my lips to keep them hydrated and pretty while I’m on the go and at work, I was very excited and impressed by these lip tints. I feel that a lot of the time tinted chapsticks are never really tinted, but that is not the case with these lip treats. The tinted lip treats did exactly what they promised. They provided long-term moisturization with the addition of buildable colour, and without the waxy feeling of chapstick. I’ve been wearing the light pink one religiously since I got it. They are low-key and natural looking so they are perfect for an added touch of colour and moisture to your everyday makeup look. I also tried them as lipstick primers and I was not disappointed. Long story short, I loved the tinted lip treats.

Beautiful Body Balm

Body moisturizing is just as important as face moisturizing. Even though it is kind of a pain at times, your skin will seriously thank you. That being said, I’m usually pretty picky when it comes to body moisturizers because I am not a fan of scented or greasy formulas. What I loved about the Mèreadesso body balm was its ability to make my skin look and feel smooth and toned without being greasy. I also loved its versatility as a body, foot, and hand lotion. It really did the trick in all three areas. Plus, according to Mèreadesso, the body balm helps break down cellulite and minimize the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and water retention. My only complaint is that it felt like it took long to fully rub into my skin. It moves around and leaves white cream lines until it is fully rubbed in, kind of like the old sunscreen from the 90’s used to. But other than that, I thought it was great.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned, I suffer from having fairly dry, sensitive skin that is also prone to breakouts, so finding a good cleanser and moisturizer that works for me is super important. Overall, I really liked the Mèreadesso cleanser and moisturizer. I was really impressed with the results and how smooth and moisturized it made my skin. The system didn’t dry out my skin at all or cause breakouts. I also really like how the skincare system eliminates a lot of steps such as toner and serum — it made getting ready for bed that much quicker.

My biggest criticisms are that there were times that I wished there was a deep cleaning part to the routine. Maybe a mask or something to go along with it. I know the line is made to eliminate steps, but I feel like a cleanser just can’t clean thoroughly enough on its own. Sometimes you need a deep clean after a long week. I also wasn’t crazy about using a reusable cleansing cloth to wipe away my makeup and buff my skin. Even though the cloth is washable, it seems a little unhygienic and inconvenient for me.

To conclude on a positive note, I love the mini travel sachets. I think more companies that make mini travel packs should try the resealable packaging Mèreadesso uses. I also love the lip treats and the all-in-one moisturizer. The moisturizer is non-greasy, and probably the best part of the entire Mèreadesso line. I would definitely recommend this line to people who are struggling to find a skin care system that works for them!

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