Tag Archives: aveda


I have a whole lot of really fine hair–which is fine, I find it quite easy to style. Unfortunately, when I step out of the shower, or if it has been a particularly windy day, my hair turns into a big matted knot. No matter how much conditioner, or if I have just brushed my hair, it is tangly.

Even though I apply an oil to my ends, this does not smooth and untangle my hair by itself. Enter, Aveda’s Brilliant spray. I spray a cloud of this ALL over my head (don’t worry, it’s weightless and not greasy or sticky at all and has a pretty scent), leave my hair for a few minutes, and it makes my blow-dry so much easier. After a spraying and waiting, I run my fingers though my hair for detangling (don’t brush out your wet hair!) and let it air dry until I’m reading for the blowdryer.

This miracle spray not only detangles, but helps protect your hair against damaging heat and UV rays. You can also spray this on dry hair for a bit of hair sunscreen and a bit of shine.


Aveda’s new Naturally Straight cream claims to not only create a smooth, sleek blowout that lasts, but also to make your hair smoother and sleeker the more you use this product, naturally. You can also use this as a styling cream to eliminate frizz for wavy or curly locks by applying to damp hair and either allowing to dry naturally or with a diffuser.

Having curly hair, naturally, I was the perfect candidate to put this to the test. I mean, with Canada’s disgusting summer humidity, I’ll do anything I can to fight frizz.

This lightweight cream should be applied thoroughly throughout the hair. I like to divide my hair into two section, then warm up a dime-sized amount in my hands before applying.

This cream does do some of the stuff it claims. But it also doesn’t do some of the other things. Let me be more specific:

Blow drying should be smoother. This is true. My brush was able to glide easily through my hair, making for a smoother finish and require less touch-ups than usual with a flat-iron.

Your hair should stay straight, day after day. My curly hair still fought through and I had curls and waves near my ears and by my neck after my walk to work (it was humid out).

Progressively straightens curls with every use. I used it three times in a row, and my hair was just as curly as ever.

Now, please don’t take this as a negative post, I do not write negative posts about products. If I don’t like a product, I simply will not write about it.

So, the verdict is that I like it–it makes blowdrying an easier battle, requires less of the iron and creates shiny, healthy looking hair without weighing it down, and hair does get easier to blowdry the more you use it. However, it still can’t fight humid air. But nothing really can as far as I know.


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Get a good night’s sleep
It’s free, and you’ll look younger

Abbey Lee gets her beauty sleep

Sleep really helps with everything–including what you consume (as in eat). We’re obsessed with getting enough sleep–it trumps everything else. When you are well-rested, you look better and you eat less–you’re less likely to reach for everything with sugar in sight. It’s proven. Plus, you won’t need to spend as much on coffee from Starbies or cookies from Le Gourmand (though sometimes I just give in to those big, fat cookies–I’m human).

This one doesn’t require you to spend any money, but if you’d like to make your nest a little more luxurious, try changing your pillowcase (get a silk one if you really want to go for it) or put a few drops of lavender or another relaxing essential oil on your pillow case. If you have problems falling asleep, try taking a nice, hot bath with Epsom salts and oils–you’ll enter into a sleep coma in no time. You could also try a little relaxation yoga before bed, or a little meditation to calm your mind.

To avoid squashing your face into the pillow (which can contribute to wrinkles), try to sleep on your back. You can try to trick yourself into staying on your back by placing a pillow underneath your knees. Also, get into a consistent sleep routine–Dr. Oz says that this way your body’s biorhythms and hormones be will be regular.

An hour or so before bed, shut off all unnecessary lights and avoid watching television, listening to music, or going on your phone. This will start to get you mentally prepared for bed.

Try applying a few drops of lavender oil to your fingers, inhale, and massage pressure points like you temples, inside your wrists, and your neck. Lie down in bed, close your eyes and make your inhales and long as your exhales (equal counts of four). Then, start to add one extra count to each exhale, eventually doubling the length of your exhale to 8. Concentrating on your breathing will calm your mind and relax you.

We like: Aveda Stress Relief Roller, Badger Sleep Balm, essential oils, Mother’s Little Helper tea

How does this save you $: more, better sleep = a more energetic, productive you = less spent on candy and coffee urges and anti-aging products


For me, there is nothing worse than going to bed cold. If I slip into freezing cold sheets, it is so hard for me to warm up, and if I don’t warm up, then I can’t fall asleep. I don’t know if it’s poor circulation, or I’m a lizard, or what, but my feet are persistently ice blocks.

And with stupid Winter just getting colder every single day and laughing in my face as I try not to slip on the ice while walking to work dressed up as the Michelin man, I am almost constantly cold. We don’t control the heating in our apartment, so it is not uncommon for me to be wrapped in a blanket. On Christmas morning, I opened my presents wrapped up like the Grandma that I am (on the inside).

Exhibit A

So! To try to combat the icy chill and dark morning and nights (this, really, is why I am vampire pale), I have taken up bathing (among other spa activities). Ok, I bathed before in a shower (obviously, I hope), but now I am bathing…in a bathtub. With very hot water and a mixture of potions.

Here is my recipe for making yourself so ridiculously internally warm and half-awake.

Clean bathtub + hot water + bath pillow + sweet almond oil + Epsom Salts + 4-8 drops of Essential Oil

As for which essential oil you choose, it really is personal preference. I basically just went to Whole Foods one night and smelled like 40 little vials until I found one that I liked and wasn’t ridiculously expensive (of course the one I liked most was $40). But, I really do enjoy the one that I bought (Sleep Well from The Aromatherapist), it’s a nice mix of Lavender, Sandalwood, Bitter Orange and Ravintsara that is really relaxing and not overpowering.

If I’m feeling extra fancy/if I am alone in the apartment, I will even shut all the lights off, light a scented candle, and light a few tea lights in my bathroom. Or, I don’t want to get too sleepy, then I’ll grab my Kindle (currently reading The Goldfinch: it is excellent so far) and pray that I don’t drop it in the bathtub and electrocute myself.

If you can add a skin-scrubbing hemp mitt to that, you will exit the bathtub as a new, hot blooded, silky smooth and soft woman. I then spray myself down with some rosewater spray (to smell like a princess) and then, if I really wanna cook like a chicken all night, then I’ll slather on some more almond oil or thick body lotion (my skin is insufferably dry in the winter) to finish and then I’ll wrap myself in a fleecy robe, go sit on the couch, and watch TV like a warm, nice-smelling, sleepy zombie. Sometimes, I’ll step up the zombie-brain with a cup of sleepytime tea.

Wanna go that extra mile to Cloud 9? Apply Aveda’s Stress Relief Rollerball to inner wrists and behind ears.



From Day to Night with a Cat-eye and a Pink Lip


LET’S BE HONEST–everyone and their mother will be wearingreds and golds to their holiday parties, so wearing a classic red lip will not make you stand out. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Why not switch it up with a bright pink lip? It’s unexpected for winter, and is a quick and easy way to change up your look before heading out to that after work holiday party.
I paired this lip with a cat eye–I used a brown felt-tipped eyeliner from Smashbox (which makes it easy as pie to quickly draw a flick in any office bathroom) over top of my normal, everyday eye makeup. You’ll want to make sure your everyday eye makeup is pretty neutral that day.

For the shocking pink lip, I mixed RMS’ Lip Shine in Sacred with Aveda’s Winterberry Lip Glaze to create a vivid, cool-toned pink. They are both glossy in texture, which means you won’t need to worry as much about touch ups between eating and drinking, and your lips will stay hydrated.


Click to enlarge


Unfortunately, Winter is here. Whether we like it or not. I got the basket of mittens, gloves, scarves and hands brought down from the top shelf of the front closet last week to find something to keep me warm on my walk to work. The blustery, cold winds had finally gotten to me and I realized that I could no longer let my fingers freeze every morning.

So I guess it’s time to accept it. Halloween is almost here, which means it is that close to November. Time to beef up our supplies with cozy knits and richer products. Here’s my winter essentials list:
1. Miu Miu Leather Gloves: I believe these were on my wishlist last year. I am just dying for a pair of pink leather gloves like these for fancy occasions. Sometimes looking chic takes precedence over keeping warm.
2. Talula Fulton Mittens: These are my staple mitten. I have picked them up for the last 3 or 4 years now without fail as they perfectly fit my small hands (nothing worse than huge, droopy mittens). Knit exterior and fleece-lined interior to keep your mitts (pun intended) warm.
3. Diptyque Pomander Candle: On my last trip to Soap and Water for my Fall candle (Feu de Bois), I smelled this candle while perusing. It has the perfect mix of everything Christmas–orange, cloves and cinammon, I would have picked it up then, but I am waiting until mid-November so I don’t use it up before December even arrives.
4. Aveda Hand Relief: My favourite hand cream. Non-greasy but rich enough to keep hands from cracking or getting chapped. Plus, the refreshing rosemary-mint scent is always a winner.
5. Elizabeth Arden 8-hour Cream: As you know, I get Peri-Orbital eczema in the Winter (aka dry, itchy, red eyelids). I put this cream on my eyelids to protect them from wind burn on my walks to work. Also great for anything chapped (hands, lips, cheeks, etc.)
6. Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm: Thick and luxurious. Won’t wear off for hours and provides a nice barrier for lip protection.
7. Hunter Boots: I don’t feel super chic in these, I kind of feel like I belong on the farm, but Winter just got to me last year, and my feet couldn’t take any more leather-soaked boots any longer. These babies should keep any kind of snow, slush or moisture out. I’ll pair them with thick socks for warmth.
8. Zara Two-Sided Soft Scarf: I’m not sure if it’s the grunge trend that’s happening right now, or if my lumberjack-esque husband’s style is influencing mine, but I saw this scarf online and decided I had to have it. One side for play, one for business. Or, one for grunge, one for prep. Perfectly versatile and large enough to double as a blanket.
9. Roots Cabin Socks: As I mentioned in 7, these are great paired with boots, or just for keeping warm inside. Cozy, thick and they look cute peeking out of boots.
10. Fleece-lined tights: My friend Joanna texted me insisting that if I was making a Winter essentials post, these better be included. And she’s right. Ever since discovering these at Primark, we buy these every year. Straight up tights won’t do when it’s -10, or -20 outside. These allow you to keep wearing your dresses and not totally freeze your butt off. 
11. Oliver Peoples XXV-S Sunglasses: I tried these on last summer at Holt Renfrew and I still want them. Plus, everyone needs a pair of sunnies to protect their eyes from snow glare in the winter (and for me, it’s extra eyelid protection against the wind).

12. Green Juice: I am a new convert to this. Every single time I have felt sick, I run to my nearest Fresh Restaurant and pick up their Super Cleanse juice. Filled with vitamins, it has fought off every cold before it has even begun. Plus, it’s always good for your skin too.

13. Aritzia Mirte Turtleneck: I have been dreaming of this sweater since it came out this Fall. I am now waiting patiently for it to go on sale. Who doesn’t love a chunky knit sweater in the winter, plus the 90’s are back now, so turtlenecks are acceptable again. 


Routines are great, I think we can all agree in one way or another. But things get in the way and they get hectic. Plus, lately I’ve been skimping on my eight hours and even have a hard time bringing my energy down once I do hit the hay, which makes me even more stressed. And I don’t know about you, but my skin goes CRAZY when I don’t get enough sleep. So with the homework, the late nights, the breakouts, and the consequential lack of yoga classes (though it should really be a priority in my schedule), I get a little bit, well crazy. I’ve come across a few products here and there that help me get to sleep and, well just help me mellow out. I also later realized that all of these products are made by all-natural brands, fittingly.

Aveda Stress-Fix Body Lotion is great for when I have some time before I go to sleep, especially if you worked out the day before. You can give yourself a mini leg massage while you get a whiff of the calming scent of this lotion. It feels great on tired muscles and gives you a few minutes to clear your head. Amanda likes to apply this all over after jumping out of the shower at night. The matching rollerball contains a more concentrated oil of this lavender, lavandin and sage scent. It’s great to throw in your purse for both those crazy-stressful moments or just for those few minutes of the train or when you’ve got a minute to sort your thoughts. I like to apply this one to my wrists and behind my ears.

I was actually in Organic Garage when I discovered Badger’s Sleep Balm (don’t overlook the beauty sections of these natural grocery stores, they’re cheap and usually great for your skin!). Now, this stuff won’t make you doze off upon a sniff of this, as the name may suggest (although that would be really cool and somewhat dangerous now that I think of it…). But the aroma of lavender and bergamot in the form of a moisturizing balm can do wonders! I warm a bit between my fingers then apply to the tops of my shoulders, behind my ears, temples (beware, this may cause breakouts), the tip of my nose, my wrists, really anywhere where you’d like.

Origins Peace of Mind is probably the most effective de-stresser of the bunch. It has an immediate cooling sensation which effectively soothes a lot of tension around my neck and jaw (I apply a pump of this to my temples and behind my ears). The scent is actually really minty, which doesn’t strike me as calming, but after trying many others, the mint may just be the key.

But do remember, nothing beats stress like good sleep, a trip to the gym  and lots of water (also, green juice is an instant pick-me-up!).

–Anna Raponi


A few weeks ago, disaster came upon my household. I was told I couldn’t use my diffuser anymore. Now first off, as a girl with a soft core afro, this was hard to swallow. And you know what the worst part of it was? The diffuser wasn’t even broken, my mom just thought that it was getting too hot and that it would burn down the entire house (logical, I know). I had a new, T3 diffuser ordered and in transit (obviously!), but that left me with a few weeks without a diffuser. I know, I know, it’s not that bad. I really don’t mind my natural curls… but it’s just nice to wake up once in a while to look in the mirror, and know what to expect. With my diffuser, I can count on voluminous curls. Au natural, not so much. Self-education really is the best education, in my opinion. With practice, I can now give myself big, glamorous waves that last me up to three days with just a few tools.
Big league volume is a necessity for this look– I like the René Furterer Voumea shampoo/ conditioner combo for this. While your conditioner is soaking in, comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb or a Tangle Teezer, being as gentle as possible. Once out of the shower and detangled, get in there with your hands with an anti-frizz product and a styling mousse of some sort. My current favourites are the Pantene BB Creme and Phomollient from Aveda. Now wait about half an hour to forty-five minutes– you want your hair to be around 70% dry.
No matter how much hair you’ve got, you’re going to need to work with 1 inch sections, bottom up. I usually do around four or five, so make sure you’ve got a big clip to help you out.
Now let’s dig in. Your tools at hand will be a one to two inch round brush and a good blowdryer. Hold the brush in your dominant hand and the dryer in your weak hand. If you have a concentrator (a attachment for your dryer that, well, concentrates the heat), all the better. Face it horizontally. Now this brush technique will take some practice to get the hang of. Work with about two or three inch long sections of the section that you’ve not got clipped up. Hair on top of the brush. Start off by drying the roots and the tops of the strands. Then, work your way down, maintaining a bit of tension with your brush so that the hair stays moderately tight to the brush.
As you get to the ends, rotate your wrist downwards so that the brush picks up the ends again, focusing the nozzle on the barrel of the brush. This rotating motion will give you those big waves. If you’re getting the rhythm, you can use the nozzle of the drier to hold the section as you reposition the brush, if you get what I’m saying. Once you’ve finished a complete section, go through again roughly with your brush, assuring that the section is completely dried (this will prevent unwanted frizz).

Once you’ve finally made it to the hair at the top of your head, you’re gonna take on a bit of a different technique. If you’re looking in the mirror, you want it so the brush is behind the section, and now face the drier towards your face (but not at it, ouch), drying the roots, then working with some brush action to curl the ends.

Grab a pump of a finishing cream, or another of the Pantene BB, massage it between your palms, and comb through your Bardot-esque waves, et voila! Big, effortless-looking (but painstaking) tresses. Try to avoid touching your baby-soft hair, I dare you. 

–Anna Raponi


Class is in session! For todays lesson, we’re gonna take french braiding to the next step; the inverted french braid! Now don’t get your panties in a bunch, this isn’t rocket science. You now know how to french braid, so I know you are very well capable of pulling off this look–it’s literally the same procedure but you’re gonna weave under instead of over. Scratch that, I’ve probably already lost you. Just follow my lead.
Great hair starts with good tools. As always, I recommend a good paddle brush, some styling wax and a thin elastic, preferably either clear or matched to your hair colour.
Brush it out– tangles are a no-no when it comes to braiding, and really, just in general. It makes the whole process harder and you could end up with weird lumps and bumps. Now, warm some of the wax in your hands and comb through with your fingers, targeting those pesky baby hairs around your face.
Now, look straight on at your face, making two parts at the upper corners of your forehead, pulling the hair up and into a sort of triangular part (the point facing behind you). Split into three equal sections and pull backwards.
Let’s start braiding! Grab the rightmost piece and pull it under the centre piece, simultaneously pulling the original centre piece over to the right. Now with the leftmost piece, pull it under the now middle piece, pulling that middle piece over to the right. This is the basic pattern.
Now, as you continue pulling from the sides under into the middle, grab thin layers of hair, joining them along with the outermost pieces. This will keep the braid thick and secured to the head. I know your arms are tired at this point, but keep it going. Grab hair. Right under, centre over. Grab more hair. Left under, centre over.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the nape of your neck! Make sure that you’ve added the remainder of your hair to your inverted braid by now, and keep these weaves very tight to your head (it looks much nicer). Now, you’re ready to leave the nest (haha). You’re going solo. Keep with the inverted style braiding (ie. side pieces moving under instead of over) until you reach the desired end. Secure with an elastic and ta-da!

If you like the sleek look, use a little more hair wax to smooth down those baby hairs and any shorter layers that may have popped out. I prefer a looser look, so don’t be afraid to pull at a few pieces and let some loose. Recess time, class!

-Anna Raponi

P.S. Thanks to our lovely model Cassidy and her even lovelier hair.


Well that summer bites the dust. And in comes the chilly weather– and while I can’t wait to bring back sweater weather, the cold weather takes quite a toll in the beauty department, something not really to look forward to. Dry lips and rosy cheeks aside, every time fall/winter rolls around, I get really itchy scalp. Now, a lot of things can cause this dilemma, however, I think the dryness just gives me more dandruff (the effectiveness of this product may differ if your itch is cause by psoriasis or a fungal disease, though I’d definitely give it a go). Anyone who has had itchy scalp knows how embarrassing it is, and well, I was putting my foot down. Actually, my mom was the brilliant one that thought of this one. Then, I knew I had to share my secret to the world of itchy scalp sufferer’s, or even just people with bad dandruff.

I guess this isn’t really a review of Aveda’s Invati Exfoliating Shampoo— although my mother swears by it for thinning hair. It’s really the weirdest texture ever– super runny and brown-coloured. It doesn’t really foam up like most shampoos either (Aveda shampoos don’t really foam up). Oh, and it smells kinda funny (they only use natural ingredients). All quirks aside, this stuff works because it’s an exfoliator (via salicylic acid, a common ingredient in acne products). Sounds weird, huh? Well, we use scrubs and acids to slough off the old skin on our faces, leaving us with smooth, new skin cells. And if dandruff is just flaking, old skin, wouldn’t exfoliating seem like the perfect option? It also aims to nourish dry scalps, further preventing dandruff and the itch. I use this once or twice a week, usually following with a normal shampoo after to get rid of any build up. So fear no longer, itchy scalpers, I have found the remedy.

Anna Raponi