All posts by airaponi

THE BEST DRUGSTORE TANNER UNDER THE SUN

Clever title, huh? (at least I thought so)

After an extremely disappointing stint with a high-end self tanner (who’s name I will not mention), I really began to appreciate my #1, my Jergens. Let me tell you my little story about when I was foolish enough to try another—it was a Monday morning (typical, typical). I decided to don a sleeveless tank that I had never worn, except my arms looked just a tad, well, dull. They needed a healthy glow. My mom had given me a sample of a big-name self tanner the night before, and I thought, well of course, this will obviously work much better than the one I’ve been using for years. I mean, it’s practically four times the cost and I had been pleased with other products from the line. So I carefully applied, following the basic rules of self tanning. The smell, which stuck around all day, was very strong and made me feel dirty. Then, as the day progressed, I noticed the sparkles on my arms– how am I supposed to pretend that I got a nice tan on the weekend when my skin is shimmering? And, as I recall the rather unfortunate events of today, I’m staring at my now streaky, orange arms (and still, that damn smell). Let’s just put it this way; not a good start to the week.

The Jergens Natural Glow Firming Moistuizer has gotten rave reviews for years, which is what initially drew me to it. It promises gradual, natural-looking colour, and to reduce the appearance of cellulite, and oh, does it deliver. Not until this sad Monday night have I realized that this stuff really smells great, not that unpleasant typical tanner odor. As fair as I am (let’s just say I’m more often than not the first shade that most foundations offer), I use the medium to dark colour, and have never looked streaky or orange. For most pale women, the veins in our legs can be extra-obvious through our light skin, and can appear purple-y blue–not really the beach babe look. I mix this (50-50) with my everyday lotion, slather on my legs, and my legs are not only rid of this discolouration, but also have a subtle glow that doesn’t scream a fake tan. And, I mean, come on, it’s like, $9. For all of the $30+ fancy-shmancy self tanners out there, can you risk another perfectly fine Monday when you’ve got an all-star at your local drugstore? I think not. I should have never doubted you, my dear Jergens.

Now, time to hit the shower, this smell is making me sick.

–Anna Raponi

AN EPIPHANY // MASCARA WOES

I don’t know if it’s that I have particularly watery eyes, or if it’s my mascara, but by the end of the day, mascara is ALWAYS shadowing right under my waterline, and not defining and separating my lower lashes. I once heard that moisturizer around the eyes can cause the mascara to break down, but even since I stopped applying moisturizer there, the mascara just won’t stay. I then proceed to scrub the area with my pinkie, unsuccessfully clearing the transferred mascara. Evidently, what I was doing was not working. But then, I was struck with an idea– maybe more (embarrassingly ) obvious than I thought. Waterproof mascara on the bottom, regular on the top (you couldn’t possibly think I would abandon my beloved Burberry, could you?), and BAM, no five o’clock shadow (hah, you know what I mean). Despite the more vigorous and time-consuming makeup removing process, this technique is the most effective cure for this mysterious, annoying mascara phenomenon.

–Anna Raponi

EVE LOM // BALM CLEANSER

After reading this inspiring interview with Lisa Eldridge, I thought more about cleansing my face better, especially at night. I was using my Kiehl’s cleanser for acne-prone skin (for the hormonal acne on my chin), but really was being lazy about it compared to the way Lisa double-cleanses her skin. I began to think that maybe I was getting so much acne because my cleanser was too harsh and meant for oilier skin (not me), thus stripping away my face’s natural oils, prompting them to encourage even more to compensate for the dehydration.
Well, it seems I have cracked it and this was indeed the problem. I had heard so much about Eve Lom’s cleansing balm and the method of cleansing with muslin cloths. Everytime I read an interview that mentioned this cleanser, the person always would say something along the lines of “when I was using my Eve Lom cleanser, my skin looked amazing“. Well why should we be lazy with our skin? We only get one face our whole lives, so we should be taking care of it to the best of our ability.
Eve’s cleansing method is pretty intense. It includes a 7-step lymphatic massage, steaming and exfoliation with a muslin cloth. It’s quite the process, but don’t be scared–it’s really not hard and once you do it for the first time you will be addicted to how it feels. It feels like you’re giving yourself a mini-spa experience every single time. Where before I use to wash my face as fast as I could, or count down the seconds until the Clarisonic would finish, now I take my time and a few deep breaths (and rarely use my Clarisonic anymore).
You only need to do the lymphatic massage twice a week, but when I first started using this cleanser I was having one of my worst breakouts yet. I did the massage twice a day until it started to clear up and the lymphs would drain.
Even if you don’t want to use this cleanser (there is some controversy about there being mineral oil in the ingredients. I, however, love it and it doesn’t break me out, so to each his own. It’s a bestselling cleanser in the UK, so you decide.) you should still adopt a cleansing balm (my friend Joanna tells me uses Coconut oil and loves it) and massage and cleanse your face with a washcloth. You can do so much good with a cloth–steam, open your pores, properly cleanse your face and exfoliate. And you should be using one (sorry to be preachy, it has made such a difference in my skin). This particular cleanser includes essential oils in the ingredients, which makes the steaming step really open up your sinuses.
For those with acne–don’t be scared of this cleanser just because it contains oil and is a balm. It will properly cleanse your face and will help to heal acne. You need oil to remove oil, so if you are oily, so don’t be afraid. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now and it is changing my skin. My complexion is clearer, my acne is almost totally gone (I am no longer using any spot treatments or acne treatments at all) and my skin is more hydrated than ever.

A LESSON ON SKINCARE

I’ve had a few people ask me questions about skincare, how to wash their face and what products they should be using. I don’t claim to have all of the answers, I really only know what works best for me (and certainly what doesn’t). I am, however, slightly obsessed with skincare, so I take care of my skin as best as I can with a lot of different products that have different functions (I also try out a TON of products).

Last week, I stumbled upon this great website, Beautymouth, which is written by skincare guru Caroline Hirons. She knows absolutely EVERYTHING about skincare, and as you can imagine I have been devouring her entire site (be sure to read all of her cheat sheets). For those who don’t have a clue about skincare or how they should be washing their face (wipes are NOT okay on the regular), this is a must watch. Not all of the products are carried in Canada, but if you listen to what purpose they serve in a skincare routine, you can always seek out an alternative.

PixiWoo are amazing makeup artists, and they deserve to be checked out as well on YouTube for all of their amazing tutorials.

 

WEDDING SKINCARE PREP PART 3 // BE STILL(WATER) MY BEATING HEART

With the upcoming wedding, and the feelings that accompany it, my mother and I thought it would be a nice idea to have a day together of shopping and pampering ourselves. We made our way over to Bloor Street where we looked around for bridal jewelry and makeup and then into the Stillwater Spa at the Park Hyatt where we enjoyed their beautiful facilities and a facial.
Having been here before, we knew what to expect–serene surroundings and amazing scents throughout the spa (after coming here the first time, my mother renovated her bathroom to have the aura of this spa), as well as amazing treatments.
Their facials truly make me the most relaxed I have ever felt–I walk out of the treatment room feeling half asleep, in a happy daze. They take care to incoporate a massage along with your facial (extra zen points), so you really are getting a lot for what you paid for.
We left refereshed and with glowing complexions (though mine a little redder, since I had about 40 extractions done on my face–me to the facialist Luana, “I want beautiful skin for my wedding! Go nuts on extractions!”, her jokingly, “Ok, there will be some torture then”. Beauty is pain, what can I say.) While sipping on tea and eating cookies, we decided that we must make this a traditon and make time to get facials twice a year. Let’s hope that we can keep that promise–my skin will look amazing if we do!

Some bridal skincare tips from my facialist:
-Try not to use heavy moisturizers or sunscreens in the weeks leading up to your big day. This way your pores will stay unclogged and will prevent pimples from forming. Try instead to use some lighter, hydrating serums (she recommended this one for me).
-Try to avoid using acne spot treatments. They dry out the skin and make the blackheads very hard which makes them very difficult to remove. Leave your pimples alone!

N.B. If you’re going to get a facial before your wedding, be sure to do so about 6 weeks beforehand. This way your face has enough time to adjust and recover.

P.S. Also, I know I said in my first wedding skincare prep post that I was going to be forgoing a facial in lieu of doing it myself, but when your mom suggests you go for a facial, are you going to say no? Of course not.

Wedding Skincare Prep Part 1, Part 2.

NEUTROGENA // WATER-LIGHT SUNSCREEN

Summer is coming (or shouldn’t it already be here?) and it’s time to lather up with some SPF (though you should really be wearing it all year round). Having SPF in your makeup is just not good enough. Most SPFs in makeup or tinted moisturizer can actually disappear and dissolve after application from rubbing the product with your fingers or with a makeup brush.

Since my facialist recommended that I stay away from heavy moisturizers and sunscreens, I decided I would see if I could beat my much-loved Kiehl’s. Thinking, what could be lighter than water?, I picked up Neutrogena’s Water-Light sunscreen. Really, what everyone hates most about sunscreen is:

1) applying it
2) the smell
3) how greasy it is
4) how shiny your face looks afterwards

With new formulations for sunscreen coming out all of the time, you really have no excuse to not be wearing sunscreen. Get with the times people. If you want to look like a gross leather handbag at 50, then be my guest and ignore this. Sun is the number one cause of aging. Why wouldn’t you stop it if you could?

This suncreen claimed to be extremely lightweight with a matte finish. I would say that this sunscreen is just as good as the Kiehl’s for a fraction of the price. They are equal in weight (or both “water-light” if you prefer) and don’t leave a greasy finish. They work perfectly under makeup so you really have no excuse not to use it. Neutrogena has an extra SPF factor of 10 compared to Kiehl’s but I’m still not sure whether or not anything above 50 is actually better than 50 (maybe someone knows more about this?).

In my opinion, it’s probably better to spend a little bit less on sunscreen if you’re going to be precious about applying a more expensive one. While not all drugstore sunscreens are equal (some of the cheap ones can cause rashes on some people), there is no point spending $50 on a sunscreen if you won’t want to apply it generously.

Remember to apply it a few times a day on your face, neck, decolleté and the backs of your hands. If you have any more doubts about why you should be using a separate sunscreen, Beautymouth has a great cheat sheet on SPF (all of her cheat sheets are great).

LID COVERAGE // MY SOLUTION

No matter how hard I try, I’ve just never been bothered to wear eyeshadow on a day-to-day basis. I think it just takes too long to apply and blend and then it creases… plus I find that I always look overdone. Oh, the struggles. I really only wear some liner on my tight line and mascara– I prefer a more natural, “no-makeup” look. I used to cover up redness on my eyelids with foundation, but had to stop because it would just crease so easily on my oily eyelids, which looked just plain weird.
My hesitation towards eyeshadow stopped me from ever covering the redness with a colour. Recently, however, the redness has been bugging me, so I dug around in my been-there-done-that makeup bin and rediscovered my love for this MAC paint pot. I first heard of this one in last years prom tutorial from Pixiwoo, and ran out that day because I just loved the luminosity this product gave off.
Bare Study, a beige with shimmer, is the perfect shadow for those of us who really don’t care for shadows whatsoever. The colour is very similar to my skin tone; perfectly hiding any redness or veins on the thin skin on my eyelids. You can literally just smear this right up to the brow and right into the tear duct– highlighting the inner corners will make you look more awake and under the brow will accentuate your arch. The creamy texture is so easy to blend and surprisingly doesn’t crease, even for my exceptionally greasy skin. While this shade blends with my skin tone, it looks just as beautiful on more tan skin tones (as seen in the Pixiwoo video). The classic MAC pot is quite heavy and looks quite pretty on my vanity, and well, that’s just the cherry on top.
–Anna Raponi