Well, if you had asked me not too long ago what I had been using for skincare, the list would have been super long. Continue reading MY SKINCARE // SPRING 2015
Looking back at all of the posts from this year, I realized just how many products we’ve actually reviewed–and there are a ton!
Originally, I was going to do a top 10 list, but there are so many great products old and new that I’ve loved.
Between last week’s cold snap, ramping up the heat in my office, and the dryness of my old apartment building’s radiators, my skin has been feeling dry and papery. Continue reading DRY WINTER SKIN // BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE GEL ADN SILKGEN
The newest offering from Biologique Recherche gave me the opportunity to experience yet another one of their facials, (believe me, I know how lucky I am) along with their newest innovation, the Crème Masque Vernix. Continue reading BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE // CRÈME MASQUE VERNIX
While enjoying my Margaret Dabbs pedicure, I was chatting with the lovely ladies from BeautyNext, the company that distributes Biologique Recherche in Canada. And what was the most important thing I learned from our conversation? That I MUST get my hands on the BR Finishing Serums, specifically the VIPO2, because it would change my life (and my skin). And they were right. Continue reading BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE // VIPO2 FINISHING SERUM
As much as the products in my evening skincare routine have changed, they have finally settled, and I have found what seems to work best for my skin (in case you didn’t already know, hormonal acne-prone and slightly dry). Continue reading MY EVENING SKINCARE ROUTINE
This is probably one of the least glamorous-looking beauty products out there. But, it’s efficacy makes up for it’s un-aesthetically pleasing white tube.
I have now been on Differin for more than three months now (supposedly how long it takes to actually work), and I can definitely see an improvement in my skin.
It has really purged my pores of little under the skin bumps, pimples, blackheads and more. However–don’t get me wrong–I still have some blackheads on my nose, some comedones on my chin and forehead and the occasional cystic pimple. But there are far less of them and this adapalene gel makes them much more manageable.
I used to experience a never ending circle of cystic pimples on my chin and cheeks and now, I may get 1 every two weeks (more likely around my special time of the month) and instead of lurking around for a week before disappearing, the Differin brings down the size and pain significantly in one night and speeds up the healing process to only a day or two. This in itself, for me, is magic.
If you’re expecting Differin to clear up your skin by 3 months, you’re probably dreaming. When I was frustrated and approaching my second month (and going through what seemed like purge cycle upon purge cycle), I found online that Differin really needs at least 4 months to be given a chance. There’s definite improvements so far, so I’m going to stick with it.
Tips for using Differin:
- Make sure you have thoroughly cleansed your face beforehand, and then wait 15 minutes before applying a pea-sized amount to your entire face. This is not a spot treatment.
- I usually give the gel a few minutes to sink in before applying my other skincare. If you have oilier skin, you might be able to go without any moisturizer on top, but the retinol can be quite drying.
- Don’t use any heavy serums, oils or moisturizers over top. Keep it light.
- If you have uber-sensitive skin, then start slowly by only using it every other night for the first week.
- Follow the directions: only use a pea-sized amount, cover your entire face and do wait those 15-20 minutes: I read a blog post about a girl who was complaining about it’s efficacy but she was using it totally wrong (using it as a spot treatment after applying moisturizer).
- Clinique TTDO balm, Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and cream cleansers like Clinique, and Weleda.
- Clarins Gentle Exfoliator in the morning and Biologique Recherche P50W in the evening.
- Ole Henriksen Truth Serum in the morning and Estée Lauder ANR in the evening.
- Biologique Recherche Crème Dermopurifiante and a few nights a week I layer over Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa for added moisture.
- One night a week I will use Kate Somerville Exfolikate and one day (when I’m not going outside) I use Alpha H Liquid Gold.
- Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant mixed with 1/2 tsp of baking soda 3-4 times a week.
- Clarisonic only for morning cleanses.
- Always, always, always SPF 50 before going outside (I like Kiehl’s, La Roche-Posay and Vichy).
Differin cannot be bought from a department store: you need a prescription from your doctor. As a beauty blogger, I am so lucky to receive many products for free, but all in all, this is the best product that I don’t have to pay for (thank you benefits). So, for now at least, I’ll keep truckin’ and keep you all updated with the results in a few months.
When I was in Grade 11, my friend Joanna went on a 3-week exchange to Australia. When she returned, she walked into Biology class one day and thrust a little yellow packet that said ‘Vegemite’ in front of me and said ‘Have some! It tastes like chocolate!’. So, being the food obsessive that I am, I stuck a huge glob of it in my mouth and immediately felt like I was gonna hurl. Let me tell you–it did not taste like chocolate.
For those of you in the know, Vegemite or Marmite is a dark brown paste made of leftover yeast extract. For some reason, British and Australian people love it, however, I find it absolutely revolting. The smell and taste are disgusting and strong. After tasting some, I was counting down the minutes until class was over so I could go home and brush my teeth 5 times and mouthwash. Thanks, Joanna.
Anyways, I hate to start this post off on a bad note, but Vegemite is exactly what Masque Vivant smells like. While applying this super thick and goopy paste to my face, I was immediately brought back to my high school days. Yes, it does absolutely stink (Jordan was across the room and said YOU STINK), however, you sort of get used to the smell, and really, it’s all worth it because it WORKS.
When I had my Biologique Recherche facial back in March, my facialist, Ellis, mixed this mask with the Masque VIP O2, as per Dr. Allouche’s recommendation. I have not, however, repeated this (purely because I do not feel like dropping $140 on two face masks at once), but I mix the Vivant with a pinch of baking soda and a few drops of water for blackhead removal abilities.
So, in true BR style, being the Hermès of skincare and all, this mask isn’t cheap. It’s $77, but it works. And for me, right now, I am so frustrated with my skin, that it’s OK. I’m still on the Differin, and it feels like I am in a constant state of ‘purging’ which is really frustrating. I just needed something to help with my constant breakouts.
This mask purifies the face, leaving it super clean. First I double cleanse, follow up with P50W (just use your exfoliating toner), the smooth on the foamy brown paste. After application, leave it alone for 20 minutes or so, and it hardens but does not pull on the face, crack or leave skin feeling tight or dry. Yes, you will look semi-terrifying and sort of look like you have leprosy as the baking soda bubbles, but you definitely see results the next morning–the redness had pretty much gone, skin is more refined, and pimples have significantly reduced in size. Skin is more clear and glowing, and all the little bumps under my skin are clearing up (!!).
Since I’ve been so fed up with my face, I used it 4 or 5 times in the first week, but after that I’ve continued with 2 or 3 times a week. After removal, I apply the Differin, and then a moisturizing mask (really liking Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Night Spa).
Biologique Recherche products can be found in Canada at:
One to One Studio (Toronto)
Heritage Way Medical Spa (Oakville)
Femme Fatale Spa (Barrie)
La Chambre des Dames (Montréal)
Bren’s Skin Care (Manitoba)
Kolor Twist (Calgary)
However, Biologique Recherche takes it to a whole other level. Their exclusive spa off the Champs-Elysées is in the little black book of every editor and make up artist around the world. Their treatments and products aren’t cheap either–they’re known as the Hermès of skincare for a reason. One woman from Town & Country magazine took part in their “Haute Couture” program, a personalized regimen that is updated every month by BR, that costs $12,500–the price of a Birkin.
You’ve heard me talk about their ultimate exfoliating toner, P50, here before. While being extremely hard to find (I had to convince BR’s American PR company to send me a bottle) and smelling of onions, it is also very effective. Containing lactic acid and magnesium, P50 is the cornerstone of BR’s vast range of skincare products.
This past week, Biologique Recherche launched their brand in Canada. Their facial treatments are products will now be available across the country in Toronto, Montreal and Manitoba (and soon, Oakville) at select spas and plastic surgery clinics.
Last week, I had the privilege of being invited for a BR facial along with an interview with two of the brand’s founders, Dr. Allouche and Pierre-Louis Delapalme. I was ushered into a treatment room at One to One Studio by the wonderful Ellis Holevas (National trainer for BR in Canada), and was told that Dr. Allouche himself would be doing my skincare consultation. I was immediately struck by the sheer volume of BR products lining the counter and shelves. So. many. options.
After Ellis cleansed my face, Dr. Allouche breezed in, the ever-charming Frenchman to take a look at my skin. I was either expecting to hear that my face was a total disaster (my skin is still purging from the new addition of Differin into my skincare routine), or that it was so-so. The reaction I received from the doctor was not at all what I was expecting.
After pressing my hand, he took a look at my skin.
“Are you pregnant?”
“But you are going to be pregnant soon? Or you just had a baby?”
“No! No!” (I’m slightly panicking now, does this man know something I don’t??)
“Well, OK, you have lots of hormonal breakouts then.” (This I could agree on).
“Well, the doctor just prescribed me retinol”, to which he immediately made a disapproving face. I asked him what was wrong with retinol. “Nothing, nothing. It is not the best, but if it works for you, keep using it”. Well…OK.
He looked to Ellis and rapidly lists off instructions in his French-inflected English of what she is to use on my skin–different masks, their “Soin Lissant” of course, a P50 toner, and to mix a mask with baking soda. I barely caught any of it, Ellis is a true pro.
After the usual cleanse and tone, Ellis proceeded with the Soin Lissant, starting on the right side of my face. It was the deepest and most thorough lymphatic and facial massage I have ever experience. Once she was done with my right side, she asked if I would like to take a look–and admittedly, I was a bit confused as to why I would want to see my face mid-facial–but when I looked in the mirror, it looked as if my cheekbones had been lifted and injected with filler. I kid you not. The right side of my face was noticeably fuller. It was so incredible.
She then applied a mask to the one-half of my face (Masque Vivant), and went to work sculpting the other half. She has the most miraculous hands–with expert fluttery movements of flicks and applied pressure, she was able to remodel my face as if it was made of clay. I don’t need to tell you that I will be massaging the crap out of my face now at home (even in my amateur fashion with fingers and my massage roller).
Then 2 additional masks were layered on top of each other, and she went to work massaging my arms. Pure heaven.
“So tell me…what do you have against retinol?”. “No no, nothing, nothing, just it’s not the best but if it works for you, continue using it. But our method would work too, it might just take a little longer”, says Dr. Allouche. “We have seen the results from our tests in Thailand, the were extraordinary”, says Pierre-Louis, “they have terrible acne in Thailand, you know, all of the spicy foods, it creates inflammation”.
I had no idea about this. Note to self: cut down on chili flakes, salsa and hot sauce ASAP.
“Of course, all acne is different, I would not treat an adolescent’s acne the same way I would treat yours, but we could do it. With the P50 and regular visits en cabine (facials), we could do it”. I ask how often these visits would be. “Well, at first once a week, then once a month. The skin changes so often, you know, and it constantly needs to be assessed. This is why we do the “Skin Instant” before the treatment. We do a visual assessment of your face at that moment before it is treated in the cabine“, says Delapalme.
So, how often does the skin change then? “Hour to hour, day to day, this is why products and treatments need to be constantly reassessed. We would like if our clients could come in once a month to the cabine to have their skin reassessed.”
I mention that I noticed that there wasn’t any steaming or extractions during the facial. “No, no, it is too harsh on the skin. Using lasers and metal tools on the skin is like using a laser to cut butter, it’s unnecessary. The skin is so delicate”, says Delapalme. I also noticed that there were no scrubs included in their product catalog. “No, mechanical exfoliation is not needed for the face, we have a product with mechnical exfolation for the body, but not for the face. The P50 is enough”, says Delapalme.
Convinced to reincorporate BR into my skincare routine, I purchase a few of (the many) products that Dr. Allouche prescribed for me, the toner (the gentlest version, for now), of course, and a moisturizer that promises to rebalance sebum secretion (sounds gross). The two set me back nearly $200. “We want to be exclusive, we don’t want to be everywhere. We want to stay professional”, said Dr. Phillipe Allouche, one of the founders of Biologique Recherche. Well, you’re certainly top shelf skincare, that’s for sure.
Biologique Recherche facials and the entire product range is now available in select cities across Canada. In Ontario, you can find BR in Toronto at One to One Studio, and soon in Oakville at Briarwood Cosmetic Surgical Centre and at Heritage Way Medical Spa.
Update: I received more addresses from PR.
Montréal La Chambre des Dames (514.248.0701)
Manitoba Bren’s Skin Care (www.brensskincare.com)
Barrie Femme Fatale (http://www.femmefatalespa.com)
Accent is the perfect blush for winter–pink with bronze to warm up paler skin tones
“The main reason why I love this mascara so is the incredible brush (which I learned is really what differentiates a mascara from the pack). It has a small plastic brush so you can really get in there, and it grabs on to each lash with a bit of tension, so you get that long, defined lash, never any clumps. “
“I apply it before doing my eye makeup in the morning so that the two minutes of waiting time goes by without noticing it. The result is a more even and matte complexion that lasts for hours.”
“It has the perfect amount of thickness and pigment for coverage but never ever clumps or gets stuck in fine lines. It just. doesn’t. budge. Just smooth it on and never worry about your makeup moving around again.”
“The be-all and end-all of foundations. It has the ever-so-slightest pearlescent sheen to it that gives you a magic glow and watch as it erases all unevenness and blemishes.”
“I shouldn’t have been so blasé, this palette is actually amazing. Every single colour I have tried looks great. Every. Single. One. And! They are super long-lasting. The colour stays true all day long, without a primer “
“I woke up with a more younger-looking, plumped up face. The skin around my eyes looked so much better–the lines had faded, and the skin was smooth. My skin had a more even and luminous tone. “
“If you have the money, these are really a great investment for your face, they will make a noticeable difference in your skin. “
“I must admit, at first the smell put me off, but you see the results. My chin acne is pretty much gone now, and my skin is clearer and has a more translucent, glowing quality to it.”
“The consistency is quite thick, but not sticky at all, and you barely need any of the honey and grapefruit-scented formula to save your lips from that tight, dry feeling.”
“It decongests the pores and works well to help fade post-acne scarring, blackheads, blemishes and sun-damaged skin.”
“The aromatic cleanser throughly cleanses the skin, but leaves it feeling soft and supple. For an extra hydrating/anti-aging kick, a few drops of the Cell Repair Night Oil boosts your skin’s ability to repair your skin overnight.”
“It creates such a smooth, voluminous blow dry, without weighing hair down. Seriously–your hair looks like it came from a shampoo commercial.”
“Overall, this line holds my blowout longer (3 days!), fights frizz and most importantly to me, doesn’t feel like I have any product in my hair. Winners all around, and at a great price.”