Thursday, July 27, 2017

Foreo Espada Blue Light Acne Treatment Review

Nothing ruins a fun night out or an important event like a big, disgusting zit. We’ve all been there – gearing-up for a fun weekend trip, wedding, or date when a nasty breakout pops up to ruin your complexion. I spend a lot of time on my skin and use amazing products but excess oil, greasy food, pollution and bacteria are not the only factors that contribute to pimples. There are also hormonal fluctuations, genetics and clogged pores from makeup or various other substances you put on your face. You may never know what caused them but one thing is certain, blemishes suck!

Instead of hiding at home and sulking, it’s time to fight back with technology so advanced your pimple won’t know what hit it. My first line of defense (developed from much trial and error) is quite effective for complete zit annihilation and prevention.


Foreo (one of my go-to brands for all things skincare) has created the Espada Blue Light Acne Treatment with laser-precision targeting. The LED technology fires blue light into the pores to attack and terminate acne causing bacteria. Unlike similar devices on the market, Foreo has enhanced the light’s effectiveness and penetration even more by utilizing simultaneous sonic vibration to propel the beams even deeper.

The precision laser helps you zero-in on specific areas so you only treat the infected skin and prevent the spread of bacteria. The cycle takes just 30 seconds to complete with a built-in timer and the pulsations gradually intensify to stimulate microcirculation and skin renewal.


As soon as you feel the pain of a pesky pimple, begin treating the area right away. I find that the earlier you start, the faster the zit is exterminated with no blemish or mark left behind. If the pimple gets the better of you and pops up suddenly, use the device daily as needed. The Espada helps get rid of unsightly breakouts quickly and efficiently for clear, glowing skin and it is very easy to keep clean. Each charge lasts for 240 uses and the device comes with a USB charger and travel bag for $199.00.


The Espada is an amazing treatment but it works even better with overnight care. After using the blue light (usually in the evening) I apply an Acne Pimple Master Patch by Corsrx – the best topical spot treatment I’ve tried! My sister orders these for me online for about $6.00 per pack when she stocks up for herself and they work like magic! There is one sheet per pack with 24 clear patches in various sizes and I recommend leaving them on for as long as possible - overnight or at least 8 hours for best results. When I use these in combination with the Espada, my pimple is either completely gone in the morning or dramatically reduced in size and redness. The patches draw out and eliminate bacteria under the skin so effectively that I never leave town without packing them in my makeup bag.


Another very popular treatment is the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17.00) which dries up pimples overnight as I get my beauty sleep. It also works on blackheads and whiteheads with a potent blend of salicylic acid, sulphur, zinc oxide and calamine which eliminates toxins, bacteria and impurities. The lotion smells very strong and medicinal - the kind of aroma that makes my eyes water. It actually reminds me of one of those muscle rubs but the scent does tend to fade as the formula dries and I’ve gotten used to it. The liquid settles in two layers but resist shaking the bottle because it is meant to be separated. You simply dip a cotton swap into the pink portion and lift it out for a nice coating. It dries on the skin like a clay mask and although it can be a bit difficult to rinse off, it works well.


Cleansing is a big part of keeping your skin blemish-free which is why I love my Foreo Luna. While traveling, I prefer to take my Foreo Luna Play ($49.00) to avoid losing the larger, more expensive model if my luggage gets lost (which has happened), plus the play is small enough to pop in your purse.


The device uses sonic vibrations to slough away dead cells, refine, brighten, deep clean and refresh for a smooth, healthy complexion. The silicone bristles also remove oil, makeup and dirt without harboring bacteria and you can simply pat them dry. The Play is not rechargeable like the others but it lasts up-to 100 uses.


Foreo is available at Sephora, Hudson’s Bay and online at foreo.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Concealer Review

The last few days have been hectic and tiring. I’ve been running on 4 hours of sleep per night and lugging my 8lbs Prada purse all over the city to attend press events for work. On weekends I hit up the festivals, parties and patios which means long, summer nights and deep under eye circles. Thankfully Benefit’s new Boi-ing concealers are formulated to provide the ultimate camouflage for blemished skin so you don’t have to skip work or school after pulling an all-nighter.


The Airbrush Concealer ($27.00) is available in 3 shades – light, medium and deep (featured below) but keep in mind that you can always go lighter with your concealer to create a brightening effect. The soft-focus, lightweight formula is designed to provide sheer-medium coverage with up-to 10 hours of waterproof wear. The pigment helps blur the look of fine lines and wrinkles to smooth skin texture and even discoloration with a finish that is virtually undetectable! I like how creamy and spreadable the concealer is and because it dries quickly and blends easily, you can layer more on top without disrupting the underlying coverage. The pigment melts into the skin seamlessly and helps refine large pores to create a flawless complexion without drying out the skin. I require a little more help with my dark circles but this is a great first step to achieving the perfect level of customized coverage and it doesn't cake or flake.


*Tip: To keep the concealer moist and prevent it from drying out, keep the little white seal under the cap.

For those who need more coverage (like me) the Boi-ing Industrial Strength Concealer ($27.00) has your back. This buttery cream also comes in 3 shades and is formulated to cover heavy dark circles, blemishes, acne scars, discoloration, hyperpigmentation and redness. Like the Airbrush formula, it sets quickly without appearing thick, oily or cakey. The matte finish also prevents creasing under the eyes and helps correct prominent undertones. The pigment is not the most full-coverage formula I’ve tried but it does a fabulous job hiding all your imperfections and the texture is definitely lighter than most cream products on the market. If you’re looking for a good, travel-friendly concealer that smooths your skin instead of accentuating roughness and lines, these are definitely worth trying!


Benefit Cosmetics is available at Benefit Boutiques, Shoppers Drug Mart and online at benefitcosmetics.com and beautyboutique.ca.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Avon Summer Fragrances

If you’re looking for light, seasonal fragrances with the perfect balance of refreshing, summery notes then head over to avon.ca and check out the new Be Fragrance Collection. This youthful range features cute packaging and feminine scents to match your mood and capture all your fabulous sides.


The perfumes contain simple notes that combine harmoniously to create scents that you can wear on a daily basis – similar to body spray but with better longevity. They don’t overwhelm the senses or linger heavily in the air and the small bottles are convenient for travel.

Be Romantic showcases a dreamy fusion of luscious black currant, robust rose and creamy musk that mix to form a sweet, sensual blend. If you’re heading out for a candlelight dinner, or a moonlit walk on the beach, this playful floral scent is perfect for intimate encounters.


Be Daring (my personal favorite) isn’t as sugary as the other two perfumes. The warm muskiness adds a deep, seductive element that contrasts beautifully with bergamot and fresh magnolia. The aroma is quite alluring and smells even better after a few hours of wear. This fragrance is great for weekend getaways and summer parties.


Be Fun is the lightest blend with a fruity-floral infusion of sparkling pear, glowing amber and pink freesia. It is a uniform balance between the sweetness of Be Romantic and the muskiness of Be Daring. This is the kind of scent I’d spritz on before heading to brunch with the girls or browsing the farmer's market on a warm summer day.


The perfumes retail for $26.00 each at avon.ca or through independent consultants.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Image Skincare Prevention+ SPF 30 Daily Tinted Moisturizer & Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask Review

Finding the right skincare can be a long process of trial and error and many drugstore products only yield mild benefits due to minuscule amounts of active ingredients. If you want quick, noticeable results, you need formulas that are potent and effective, which is why Image Skincare is a fantastic choice. Developed by a plastic surgeon to deliver the highest concentration of beneficial and restorative components, the brand is used in clinics and high-end treatment facilities. A few of the collections are also sold at various spas and salons in Toronto including The Four Season.


I have a love-hate relationship with sunscreen - I know how imperative it is for UV and anti-aging protection but my skin reacts negatively to most formulas (especially drugstore brands). I don’t have sensitive skin but for some reason the additives in sunscreen cause rashes, itchiness, tanning and redness. Thankfully I found the Prevention+ Daily Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 and antioxidants to decrease the damaging effects of the sun while evening skin tone and creating a healthy glow. I didn’t think tinted sunscreen would work for me but the color is sheer and lightweight so it blends into my complexion with no stickiness or residue. Because the cream has a flesh tone tint rather than the usual white tinge (which I despise), it does not create an unsightly grey cast that alters my skin tone and makeup. It melts in evenly, streak-free and almost undetectable.


The best thing about the formula is that it does not contain chemicals that irritate my skin and react negatively with the sun to cause tanning. I can wear it all day without it oxidizing under my foundation or become excessively greasy and I like how moisturizing it is.

One of the most rejuvenating face masks on the market has to be the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask. After a long day in the sun, sleepless nights and all-nighters, this luscious serum revives, energizes and softens to enhance radiance. The infusion of volcanic water, ginseng root, amino acids, red algae and antioxidants, soothe, brighten and moisturize dehydrated, dull skin for complete rejuvenation and suppleness. The 3D design and hydrogel technology drives the active ingredients deep into the epidermis for spa-like skin transformations in the comfort of your own home. I love using these sheet masks after long vacations to help battle the effects of jet lag and skin irritations.


I’ve also been using the Vital C Hydrating Hand and Body Lotion with natural botanicals and nutrient-rich oils that quench and revitalize thirsty skin. Formulated with four potent forms of Vitamin C and an antioxidant complex, it brightens and improves elasticity. If you drive a car, then you’ve probably encountered sun burn on your arms and hands, especially during those long summer road trips. I use this cream to balance, moisturize, correct and help undo sun damage.


Last but not least is the Ageless Overnight Retinol Masque formulated to lock-in moisture and nutrients while you get your beauty rest. Retinol is used in many skincare products to even skin tone and diminish hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blemishes while delivering effective anti-aging results in the form of toning and wrinkle reduction. If you have not used this ingredient before, some sensitivity may occur so it is always best to patch test on the inside of your arm and start small: 2-3 times per week until your skin adapts.


I like that the jar has a push-top dispenser for expelling the right amount of product and it keeps the cream sanitary. After a few weeks, my skin is noticeably more radiant, even and smooth. 


As mentioned, Image skincare is available at a number of Toronto Spas and Salons including The Four Seasons. You can  check out the website by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Elizabeth Arden Tropical Escape Summer Collection Review

The weather is really heating up in the city so it’s time to break-out the beautiful bronzers and indulge in bright pops of color. The Tropical Escapes Collection by Elizabeth Arden combines stylish seasonal hues with just the right amount of glitz to keep you glowing from head-to-toe!


The Sheer Kiss Lip Oils ($25.00 ea) are luxurious and luscious! The formula is loaded with coconut, avocado, tsubaki - (Japanese camellia) and medowfoam oils that drench lips in nourishing moisture for hours of dryness relief. This rich, antioxidant blend also contains Vitamin E, plant extracts and soothing conditioners to heal, rejuvenate and protect.


The collagen supporting ingredients, plump, firm and improve texture so chapped, rough skin appears healthy, luminous and youthful. The trendy design and globular center makes them easy to locate in my purse and the vibrant color shows through prominently. To use: simply pop off the cap and squeeze the center to eject the creamy oil. Unfortunately the little caps are not actually attached so dropping or losing them is a grim possibility.


The small application surface is just large enough to distribute and spread the pretty color or you can apply it with your finger. The 6 available shades are flattering on all skin tones and provide a hint of sheer, glistening color. Although the pigments are oil-infused, the consistency isn’t greasy or heavy and there is no stickiness. They feel supple, comfortable and very hydrating for instant alleviation of discomfort and tightness.



I love the sweet vanilla scent and the diffused vibrancy makes them very wearable. The rejuvenating formula goes far beyond basic lip oil or balm - it actually helps mend and replenish the skin while softening. 


The FourEver Bronze Powder ($45.00) contains highlight, blush, contour and bronzer in one travel-friendly compact. Use it to sculpt, enhance dimension, brighten, and create the perfect flush with a silky, matte finish. The moisturizing properties and vitamin infusion helps reduce the effects of environmental assaults and absorb excess oil so skin is smooth and balanced.


The powder is easy to blend and the colors can be layered individually or all-together to customize your level of bronze and blur the look of wrinkles without caking.


For an all-over glow, the limited edition Dare to Bare Body Bronzing Oil ($45.00) makes your limbs appear sunkissed and gorgeous! Infused with the scent of vanilla and coconut, each application transports you to the tropics while illuminating your body in a veil of gold shimmer. Key ingredients include: jojoba, macadamia, sunflower, meadowfoam and pomegranate oils plus a healthy dose of antioxidants and vitamins to quench dry skin and blur wrinkles. Keep in mind that this is not a tanning product so it does not leave behind unsightly streaks or color. Think of it as a silky body highlighter that provides natural looking luster that gradually wears away. The bottle does not come with a pump or applicator of any kind but I love the sparkle and hydration.  


Elizabeth Arden is available at department stores, The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and online at beautyboutique.ca and elizabetharden.ca

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Niagara Sunset Cruises Review – Romantic Summer Date Ideas

Niagara Falls is the “honeymoon capital” of the world for a reason. Lovers from all over the globe flock to this picturesque destination to marvel at one of the world’s most spectacular wonders while enjoy thrilling adventures or cozying-up on a romantic dinner cruise. As a Travel Editor, I’ve been to many beautiful cities but Niagara Falls Ontario is still one of my favorite places to spend a warm summer day.


Niagara Sunset Cruises
A short drive away from the traffic and crowds on Clifton Hill, you will find a secluded little hideaway where the Niagara Belle docks on the river surrounded by the magnificent Escarpment. This classic river boat offers lunch and dinner cruises while sailing up the gorge to Lake Ontario.


At the scenic dock we were warmly greeted by the staff and shown to our table with a great river view. We were also able to explore the boat before the cruise and enjoy some sun up on deck while sipping delicious cocktails. Everything seemed to move at a leisurely pace and since the boat wasn’t crowded, there was no problem finding a secluded spot to cuddle-up and savor nature’s beauty.


Dinner was served shortly after we set sail and featured an assortment of bread, salad, veggies, pasta meat and side dishes. There was enough variety to satisfy my picky palette and the traditional home-cooking was quite hearty. I enjoyed the chicken with goat cheese and roasted red pepper Milano Sauce, it went well with the seasoned potatoes and crisp green beans. Guests also had the choice of salmon and roast beef, all served buffet style. (Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are available for an additional cost).


After you enjoy a romantic dinner while being serenaded by live music, head up to the open deck and bask in the warm summer breeze. The sights along the way include historic Fort George, the charming town of Niagara-On-The-Lake, stunning riverside homes and lovely shoreline.


The chairs on deck are perfect for lounging and enjoying some quiet time with your love as the sun sets over the water - casting the sky in beautiful color. Dessert was served later in the evening - refreshing raspberry lemon gelato! The entire trip took about 3 hours which was just enough time to unwind and get ready for a fun night on Clifton Hill!


For more information or to book your cruise visit niagarasunsetcruises.com

Hornblower Tour
For adventurous couples, one of the best ways to see the falls is by hopping aboard the Horbblower cruise which takes you as close as possible. This thrilling adventure is not to be missed and the view is breathtaking! For more information click HERE.



Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours
Looking for even more thrills? Then try the Jet Boat Tours. I experienced this exhilarating speed boat excursion for myself and it was mind-blowing! The boat flies through white water rapids towards the swirling whirlpool, performing 360˚ turns that leave you breathless! At some points we were sitting in waist-high water as huge waves completely engulfed us! The sensation was like being on a wild roller coaster that plunged into the river – I did need to hold my breath as the water hit us but it was one of the most stimulating and daring experiences of my life. For more information visit whirlpooljet.com


While in the area, I also recommend visiting Niagara-On-The-Lake, home to an abundance of restaurants, cafes, shops and parks. Stop by the local fruit markets for a chance to try fresh produce, delicious jams and yummy snacks. 


One of my favorite restaurants in the area is – The Garrison House. I highly recommend trying the burgers, Cast Iron Cheesy Fire Chicken and the Sticky Toffee Pudding.



Touring the various wineries in the area is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. You can book tours and sample delicious local blends including Ice Wine and wine slushies.


At night, Clifton Hill is lit up and thriving! Sample some creamy fudge at The Fudge Factory or grab some chocolate covered strawberries at the Hershey Store while strolling, shopping and taking in all the sights. From lively patio bars to the casino, water park, Bird Kingdom, mini golf, exciting exhibits, restaurants, shows and a romantic ride on the giant ferris wheel - the possibilities are endless!


Whether you are looking for fun date ideas or you just want to escape for some rest and relaxation, this region has something for everyone! Don’t forget to stroll hand-in-hand by the falls through the mist and catch the light show each night as the cascading water is lit up in vibrant color.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Garnier Summer Essentials

Summer in Toronto is quite short so I’m squeezing every last drop of fun out of the season and enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible. From road trips to amazing vacations, food festivals and patio parties – my weekends are always fabulously busy! While lounging by the pool or having picnics in the park, you need to stay protected and be prepared for any beauty emergency which is where Garnier’s collection of essentials comes in handy. 


Before I begin, I’m going to take a moment to highlight a couple things I’ve been shoving in my beach bag recently, including the Lualoha Towel in light grey tribal print ($55.00). You can probably tell that this isn’t a standard towel. The material is 100% Turkish cotton making it super absorbent, lightweight, fast drying and soft - the perfect travel companion! You can use it as a shawl, beach blanket, bikini wrap, hair towel or wrap dress and they come in many colors, patterns and designs. Visit the website at lualoha.com.


The stylish cat-eye shades (from Le Chateau) keep your pretty peepers protected from the sun while you strut down the boardwalk looking tres-chic! They retail for just $15.00.

To keep your skin healthy and shielded from harmful UV rays, Garnier Ombrelle offers a wide selection of broad-spectrum sunscreens so suit your needs including:
*Sports Endurance ($16.97) – Water/sweat resistant refreshing lotion with SPF 30. This breathable, weightless formula is fast absorbing and free of oils, fragrance and colorants with no white residue.
*SPF 60 Complete ($16.97) – All purpose, light and non-greasy.
*SPF 60 Ultra Light Advanced Tinted Lotion for face ($17.99) – formulated with natural filters and a light tint to prevent burns and enhance your natural skin tone.
*SPF 60 Ultra Light Advanced Body Spray ($19.99) – Provides up to 80 minutes of water resistant protection and prevents sand from sticking to skin.


It is always a good idea to pack some makeup wipes for the beach or weekend getaways and the Garnier Skin Active Towelettes are infused with the brand's popular micelle water to remove stubborn makeup, pore clogging dirt and excess oil. I still need to deep cleanse with face wash afterwards but the soft wipes remove blemish causing bacteria without burning the skin.


After a long day in the sun, or partying a little too hard, you may need to recoup with a good face mask. The Clean+ Pore Purifying Clay Cleanser + Mask ($8.97) is a great multi-purpose product for travel because you can use it to rinse away dirt, oil and makeup or leave it on for 5-10 mins to remove impurities. The charcoal absorbs bacteria and toxins to decongest pores and leave skin smooth and replenished.


Going from humidity and sun to air conditioning feels amazing but it can also be quite drying. For a boost of long-lasting hydration, the Moisture Rescue Daily Lotion ($9.97) has an antioxidant, fruit water complex enriched with Vitamin C and E to defend against external aggressors. The supple, oil-free formula (suitable for sensitive skin) works well under makeup for a lightweight matte finish but I usually need a generous amount to quench my thirsty skin.


For night care the new Moisture Rescue Recovery Gel-Cream ($9.97) with plant extracts is like a refreshing drink for parched skin. It conditions and restores vibrancy with active plant extracts and a fortifying complex that softens, tones and nourishes as you get your beauty rest. Usually I prefer rich night creams but this light formula is suitable for warm summer nights.


When humidity levels rise, I put away my flat iron and let my curls down. The Frizz Guard Dry Conditioner infused with argan oil tames poof, static and flyaways anytime, anywhere! Simply pop it in your weekend tote or beach bag and spray it on when your tresses need to be tamed. The light, fragrant formula does not weight down the hair or cause build-up so you can spritz away.


When you don’t have time to wash your hair, the Pure Clean Dry Shampoo with citrus extract absorbs oil and dirt on the roots and scalp with no white residue or stickiness. Hair looks and feels clean and refreshed with natural movement and softness.

Garnier is available at drugstores nationwide
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