Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kaia Naturals - Bamboo Tapioca Beads

I love multi-use products!  I'm always trying to condense and minimize pretty much everything in my life whether it's my makeup kit for work or my personal makeup kit at home so when Kaia Naturals contacted me about trying out their new Bamboo Tapioca Beads I was very excited to give them a try!

So what is this product you ask - well it's a Cleanser, Exfoliator, Mask and Makeup Remover....Yeah it pretty much does it all!  Not only that but it comes in a powder form so it's PERFECT for travel and you can throw it into your carry-on and not have to worry about any liquid restrictions for planes or messy spills in your luggage!  Plus think of how much space you could save if you only had to take one product for all of that!  Also, great to throw in your gym bag if you shower at the gym!  Not only that but it's also Gluten-Free and Cruelty-Free!

It's full of really natural and non-irritating ingredients like kaolin and tapioca root starch which help absorb oil, control shine and purge the skin of toxins and chickpea powder and bamboo which are gentle exfoliants that help soften debris to clear pores and soothe the skin.

To use the powder you just need to activate it w/ a liquid - water if you want to use it as a cleanser, exfoliator or mask and oil if you want to use it as a makeup remover.  Not just typical cooking oil though...Moringa Oil is great for all skin types and the ppl at Kaia say it's their favourite b/c it's a dry oil and won't leave any sort of residue or oilness on the skin plus it penetrates really quickly.  In fact after using it your skin might feel so good it won't even need a moisturizer!  Other liquid suggestions include Almond Oil which is great for combination skin and Blood Orange Juice also great for combination skin and it will help boost the tone of the skin!

I do like to remind ppl to not be afraid of oils on their skin.  I know a lot of ppl w/ oily skin are petrified of adding more oil to their skin but this will not make your skin more oily especially if you use a dry oil.  Plus just b/c your skin is oily doesn't mean it's not sometimes dehydrated too or just in need of a good exfoliation!

So definitely worth giving this product a try if you want something small, light weight and easy to travel with that can do the job of several products!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Style Me Pretty - Modern Bride

One of my favourite sources for "real wedding" inspiration has to come from Style Me Pretty!  So whenever I have the pleasure of seeing one of my former brides featured on the site I'm more than excited to share it w/ everyone!  Not only is it great publicity for me and my company but Style Me Pretty really does encompass the brides, styles and weddings I want to work on or be part of!  It sort of makes me feel "famous" for about a day lol!

Yesterday I saw a feature on one of my favourite brides from last year - Nathalie.  Her wedding was on July 6/13 and in all honesty it probably had to have been one of my favourite Saturdays last season b/c I got to work on not one but two gorgeous weddings w/ two friendly, warm and beautiful brides!

I wrote about Nathalie's wedding previously in another post when she shared some of her beautiful pictures w/ me so I won't bore you w/ all the details again lol!

For Style Me Pretty Canada Nathalie was featured under the "Modern Bride" section and I think that perfectly encapsulated her style.  She wanted something clean, classic, sleek and sophisticated w/ her hair and makeup and it worked perfectly not only w/ her dress but also w/ the whole look of the wedding.  I really like how her modern style was somewhat juxtaposed w/ the backdrop of The Distillery District which has a very old and historical feel to it.

Here's the full Style Me Pretty story if you're curious as well I've attached a few pics from the day that I didn't share before!  Thanks again Silverlight Photography for taking such beautiful pics of this beautiful couple!

One of the things I'm most excited about is that I get to work w/ Nathalie again for her friend's upcoming wedding in June!  Love referrals and seeing my brides again!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hair Extensions and your Bridal Hairstyle

Over the last few years I've had more and more brides using clip-in hair extensions to supplement their natural hair on their wedding day.  I think clip-in extensions are a great tool for hairstyling and they aren't just used to create length, a lot of times they are necessary to create the volume and fullness you see in so many  hairstyles these days.

I find w/ almost every celebrity at some point sporting extensions on the red carpet and the invention of Pinterest hair extensions and have become more and more a necessity and often reality for many bridal styles.  The truth is almost EVERY amazing pic you see on Pinterest where the hair is styled down or half up and is so full, curly and gorgeous has some sort of "fake" hair worked into it whether it be clip-in extensions, bonded extensions etc.  A lot of the updos do too!

Plus, a lot of brides don't realize how long your hair ACTUALLY has to be to create those long, loose curl styles...curl after all shortens the hair so the hair needs to be long to create most of these down styles.

I, myself often use extensions for when I have special events or night's out.  Definitely not for length as my hair is well past my breasts but it's for the thickness.  Even when I'm wearing my hair straight the difference it makes is remarkable!  Sometimes it makes me wish my hair was actually like that but man would it be heavy and hot if it was!!!

The problem comes sometimes when trying to explain to clients how it is not possible to achieve these styles w/out the use of extensions.  I get not every bride wants to invest in extensions which she may or may not ever use again but unfortunately most people's natural hair can't create these styles.  So a bride either needs to adjust her expectations or invest!  And in reality if it's going to make your wedding pictures that much better (which are after all your memories) you might as well spend the couple hundred on extensions.  Just think how much you're spending on the dress, photography, makeup and would be a shame to regret it afterward in my opinion.

Also, talk to your hairstylist about what type, length, style of extensions to get for your desired style.  If your hair is just at your shoulders you probably don't want 18 inch extensions as it will jut be really hard to blend into your style.  If you're doing an updo longer isn't necessary better either...sometimes 14 inch extensions are more than enough for a style.

When I make them I personally make a set of 8-10 pieces.  I like having a variety of sizes and clips so that I can put the extensions where necessary.  Sometimes I've had brides come to me w/ just 3 very long pieces and depending on your style that may or may not work!  Also, I double up on the weft - thicker hair w/ less clips creates a more comfortable and less bulky style w/ less clips to worry about hiding!

With all that said I thought I'd share some of the styles I've created for brides the past few years using extensions....if don't right you shouldn't even know they're there ;)

This was actually for a wedding photographer workshop and was a mock wedding shoot.  I used a ton of extensions on this model's hair and a really tight barrel curling iron....tons of brides love this pic but they don't really realize how tight the curls are in reality lol!  Having highlighted extensions also helps to make them look more real as it creates great dimension and highlighting in the hair!
Photographer Taylor Jackson

One of the few times I had a bride that opted for a straight style w/ her extensions.  I think it was a good choice and really worked well w/ the 60s vibe.  
Photographer Nicole Duplantis @ Eclipse Photography

You can't tell in this pic but Suzanne actually has strawberry blonde hair so which was a bit tricky to match for the extensions...but I did it and they looked gorgeous! It was also nerve wracking b/c I hadn't met Suzanne until the trial and I had to choose the colour based simply on a small snippet of hair she had mailed me b/c she lived in Montreal!

You can see the colour a bit better in this one.

Kristen is tiny so she was a perfect example of someone that had to pick the right extension length for them!  If she would have gone w/ ones that were too long they would have overwhelmed her tiny frame!  I love the braid I incorporated in the front for this style!
Photographer Erin @ Renaissance Studios

Elissa was actually a bridesmaid for her sister last year.  The year before she was the bride and I made extensions for her wedding.  We used them again for her sister's wedding.  They look so natural! Perfect colour match!
Photographer Tobin Grimshaw

 Rashani's hair was actually a pretty blunt bob and she has very coarse hair which makes it a little harder to blend in the extensions so I was happy she opted for a side pony style which really helped to blend it all together and make it look all natural!

Simone actually had a combination of bonded extensions and clip-in extensions on her wedding day.  I was glad she opted to have the clip-in ones too b/c you're not suppose to tease bonded extensions which therefore makes it impossible to create the volume necessary for some styles!
 Photographer Tally @ Phototerra

Svetlana was not only a beautiful bride but she also happens to be my oldest friend (way back since we were 14!).  She has long hair naturally but needed more fullness.  That's where the extensions came in.  She said I created her "dream hair" :)
Photographer Toan Lam

Thought I'd finish off w/ a bridal updo that has extensions worked into it.  What a great looking couple and you'd never know that wasn't all her hair!  See it's not just half updos or down styles that sometimes need the help of updo can also be greatly enhanced by extensions!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Marc Anthony New Coconut Oil Collection

Anyone who knows me knows I'm kinda obsessed w/ anything coconut related...seriously if it smells like a tropical vacation or involves the concept of coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk...basically coconut anything I'm all over it!  So of course I was more than willing to try out Marc Anthony's new Coconut Oil Hair Care Collection!

I think for the last year or so coconut has definitely been picking up steam as the next big ingredient in many hair and body care items.  Coconut oil has a ton of healthy and wellness benefits and it's a great moisturizer for pretty much any part of your body so I can totally see why it's become an "It" ingredient!  I regularly rub coconut oil all over my body as a natural moisturizer and trust me it's been great w/ this never ending cold, windy Winter we've had up in Toronto!

So the newest line from Marc Anthony is targeted at those individuals w/ dry, damaged hair...another effect from this cold, harsh weather...or if you just happen to use and abuse you're styling tools or dye your hair a lot ;)  The idea w/ using both coconut oil and shea butter in their latest collection is that it will absorb into the hair and help nurture it from the inside out.

So I got to try both Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Sulfate Free Shampoo & Conditioner. Love that they are sulfate free as that's a big bonus these days!  They both smell great but not in an artificial coconut way...just really nice.  My one concern was that these products would be too heavy for my hair being that my one prob is volume but I'm happy to say I didn't feel they weighed my hair down at all.  The shampoo left my hair feeling clean and even w/out the sulfates still created a decent lather.  I made sure when using the conditioner to mostly concentrate on the ends as that's where my hair gets dried and tangled and it worked well to nourish and moisturize them w/out leaving my hair feeling limp or lifeless.

I also got to try out the Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter Treatment.  This treatment can be used on dry or damp hair and you only need a couple of drops.  It doesn't leave the hair feeling greasy though so no worries there!  It helps to nourish and moisturize the hair to help create smoother and shinier locks!  It also helps to protect hair against splitting and breaking...important for all those girls looking to grow out their luscious locks!

I must say the people at Marc Anthony have always been so generous w/ what they send me and their packaging is always first rate!  A few days after my initial gift I received a surprise second package to try out w/ their new Oil of Morocco Argan Oil 3X Volume Cream!  Now this is the type of product I need!  I have very long, straight hair so any product that can help me w/ volume and lift is great in my books!  I took about a quarter size amount and ran it through damp hair starting a the root and running through to the ends, blow dried my hair as normal and I can definitely say it works!  My hair definitely had more volume and lift to it at the roots!  I wasn't even doing any fancy blowing drying or using a round brush to help so I imagine if I did that it would have been even more!

So definitely some new hair care products to check out if you're in your local drug store...very reasonably priced and I think they are worth it!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Skincare Trend - Konjac Sponge

It's weird how once you hear or learn about something you suddenly see and hear it popping up everywhere...that's what's been happening w/ me lately w/ Konjac Sponges!  I learned about these awesome little skincare tools last year and now they're all over the place!

So fast forward to now when Canadian/Toronto based company Natural Konjac Sponge offered to send me a couple of their sponges for review I was more than willing to do so!

So a quick little info session for those of you that are scratching your heads and saying "Konjac What?"...

Konjac Sponges are made from Konjac, a plant native to Asia - primarily Japan, Korea, China and parts of Southeast Asia.  It's a highly fibrous plant packed w/ vitamins and minerals.  Konjac sponges are a great natural, soft and gentle skincare tool that can be used by anyone - even those w/ very sensitive skin.  When dry the sponge is hard but once water is added to it the sponge softens right up and an aqueous layer forms which creates a barrier between your skin and the sponge.  This also minimizes the risk or irritation to the skin and over exfoliation.  Also, this aqueous layer is slightly alkaline which balances our skins pH level and effectively helps cleanse away oil, dirt, blackheads even without soap or cleanser!

All the sponges at Natural Konjac Sponge are handmade in Japan using 100% natural glucomannan fibers extracted from the Konjac plant.

Here's some key information and benefits taken directly from the Natural Konjac Sponge website!

Key Benefits of Natural Konjac Sponges

  • Genuine Japanese Handmade Product
  • 100% Natural
  • 100% Biodegradable
  • Suitable for ALL Skin Types
  • Suitable for ALL ages
  • Fragrance Free
  • Suitable for Daily Use
  • Contains Natural Anti-Oxidants and Minerals which are beneficial for the skin
  • NO Artificial Colouring, Preservatives or Harmful & Toxic Chemical
  • Cruelty-Free
  • GMO-Free
Key Benefits to Your Skin:
  • Deeply Cleanses Skin Pores to Remove Excess Oil, Blackheads, Dead Skin Cells and Dir
  • Gently and Effectively Exfoliates Skin resulting in Smoother and Softer Skin Textures
  • Nourishes and Hydrates Skin
  • Balances pH Level of Skin (important in keeping skin blemish-free!)
So yeah given all these great benefits of course I liked the sponges!  Plus Natural Konjac Sponge does FREE Worldwide Shipping on order of $20 or more!  They also have several different types of sponges to try out including Natural, Charcoal (for acne/oily prone skin), Citrus (dry skin)...and several others.  Plus they also have a larger size for the body.

So this is definitely one trend I hope sticks around at transitions to a staple in everyone's skincare regime!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Viora Reaction & Infusion - Tag Team Treatments To Fight Cellulite & Tighten Skin!

A little over a week ago I got to try out two treatments from Viora that promise to help fight cellulite and also firm, tone and tighten the skin.  Both of these treatments have been around for years in Europe and the US but are just now coming to Canada so in the very popular world of Medi Spas this is pretty exciting news!

Now I don't know about you guys but I like pretty much EVERY woman I know has my "problem areas" - mainly my thighs and hips so of course when I was offered the chance to get a free treatment w/ this new technology I jumped at the opportunity!

My therapist for the treatments was named Gail and not only was she a pleasure to converse w/ during the treatments but she was very knowledgeable about the treatments, products and pretty much anything medi spa related since she's been in the business for so many years...and she's obviously doing a good job on her own treatments b/c when she told me she had a son that was my age I was surprised to say the least lol!

After looking at my body...mainly my lower half Gail agreed w/ my own personal assessment - my thighs (particularly the back) are my main "problem area".  The entire treatment lasted between 45-60 mins and was broken up into separate treatments - Reaction & Infusion.  Both can be done on their own or combined for optimal results!

The first treatment was Reaction.  I'm going to try and describe how this treatment works the best I can in the easiest way possible lol.  It's a combination of RF energy heat and vacuum massage therapy over the treated area.  Basically heating the area increases blood circulation and along w/ the vacuum massage, strengthens the dermis and reduces the cell size.  So having both the heat and vacuum working together creates an even stronger and more effective treatment then just each on their own.

Now I'm not going to lie this wasn't "painless"...was it unbearable - No but I definitely wouldn't call it painless lol.  Apparently there's less pain w/ every treatment and it has to do w/ the fact that the treatment is trying to breakdown rigid layers under the skin that are helping to create it was explained to me much more eloquently and scientifically during the treatment but that's how I remember it between the discomfort lol!  This treatment lasted about 20 mins per leg and it really was the beginning part (like 3-5 mins in) for each leg that was the worst but totally bearable after all no pain, no gain right ;)

The next treatment was Infusion which is a great treatment to get after Reaction b/c it felt like a soothing light massage over the skin...definitely glad it came second lol!  It's a electro-mesotherapy treatment that is a pain-free (this one actually is), needle-free alternative to traditional mesotherapy. Now I've had traditional mesotherapy before and I can tell you it is NOT pain-free.  In fact I found certain areas VERY painful.  So much so that before my treatments I use to apply a numbing cream to my skin just to be able to take it...and just so you don't think I'm a wuss I actually have a pretty good pain tolerance - I'm currently doing laser tattoo removal treatment and I can get through that just fine.  Plus traditional mesotheraphy left my thighs bruised BAD for at least a wk after each treatment!  I did have a little bruising after these two treatments (I think Reaction caused it) but nothing that bad and it did go away after a couple of days, also my thighs were a little sore after the treatment and the next day but it pretty much just felt like I had a good workout or something.

So of course being that I only had the 1 treatment it's not like I can have a really good analysis on results from a personal perspective but I can show you a Before & After treatment pic Gail took of my thigh and butt's not a lot but considering it was only 1 treatment I actually think the result is pretty impressive!  Btw I can't believe I'm actually posting a pic of my butt...good thing I wore nice undies lol!

So if you're really concerned about cellulite or sagging skin these treatments definitely might be something you'd be interested in.  Do your research of course and see if it's right for you and of course go talk to a medi spa professional if you have any questions or concerns!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

After The Rain

It's seems like forever since I've posted some creative work I've done on here so I'm so excited to share w/ you a new beauty story I did back in Jan that is currently featured in Tantalum Magazine! It's really cool too b/c there is a lot of really good work featured in the magazine...always nice to be surrounded by other awesome artists and work!  Also awesome is that the magazine is available in online and in print!

For this look I really wanted to work w/ the idea of wet or glistening skin and wet strands of hair in the face.  I'm not going to lie it's not as easy as it looks to make it work and in fact in the beg. of the shoot I thought we were going to have to scrap the whole concept b/c it just wasn't meshing the way we (as a team) had envisioned.  It finally started to come together though when we realized it looked better if the hair was wet but being blown over the face gently using a bit of fan action versus being placed and stuck to the face.

It's always important to remember to not be afraid to make mistakes or try new things out as artists...sometimes what you originally had in mind isn't going to work but sometimes something even better comes out of it!

For the makeup I wanted the skin to being dewey and glistening and I used a lot of baby oil gel, clear lip gloss and MAC strobe cream for that.  The problem when doing any sort of "wet" look though is the up looks awesome but only for about 5 mins so you gotta work quick to get that shot lol!  I also wanted to get back into using some colour w/ Spring (hopefully) around the corner lol!  A lot of the products used were from Yaby Cosmetics, Face Atelier, OCC and MUFE...great shoot to pull out my flash palette and OCC pigments!

After The Rain
Photographer Ruo Bing Li
Model Julee (Elite)