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WEDDING PREP PART 1 // REN SKINCARE MASK

Since asking Eva for some advice on getting my skin to look it’s best for my wedding day, I’ve been inspired to not get a facial and get myself ready at home with a few products. Continue reading WEDDING PREP PART 1 // REN SKINCARE MASK

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HIGH ROTATION: AMANDA’S JANUARY FAVOURITES

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo: Using it day and night to help abolish bumps, gently.

Kate Somerville Exfolikate: This is growing on me. At first I was a bit nervous about using a scrub, but it really, really works.

Ren Clarifying Clay Cleanser: Gentle, non-stripping. I use this when I feel a breakout coming on, and even leave it to work for about 2 minutes before rinsing off. It also has a nice, slightly sweet almond-y smell that is unexpected for a clay cleanser.

Eminence Probiotic Mask + Willow Bark Serum: You already know this is my favourite for helping fight breakouts.

Verso Products: Loving the retinol-infused products so far, and their minimalist design.

Kate Somerville Goat Cream: This is a really great replenishing moisturizer, I’m impressed with it so far. Hoping the lactic acid in the goat milk will help to keep breakouts at bay!

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine: Loving this in the shade Boy. Nude, yet gives some oomph to lips. Shiny without being sticky. It’s almost the same as my favourite lipstick, Mademoiselle, but is more sheer and foolproof (I can easily apply this in a flash without a mirror).

Nuxe Reve de Miel: Has been saving my lips from the polar vortex. Thick and protective and last forever. Unfortunately, it was just dropped on the floor last night and the lid cracked 😦

Alpha H Liquid Gold: Resurfaces the skin overnight. I use it alone a few nights a week. Review to come!

IPL: I’ve gotten two facials with the IPL laser, which has really helped to get down to the bottom of my breakouts and dry them out. These treatments have really made a difference (bonus: they stimulate collagen growth).

AMANDA’S TOP 2013 PICKS

Makeup

CHANEL HOLIDAY COLLECTION
Joues Contraste in Accent
Le Vernis in Rouge Rubis

Accent is the perfect blush for winter–pink with bronze to warm up paler skin tones

CLARINS
Be Long Mascara

“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. “ 

VICHY
Dermablend Setting Powder

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.”

LANCOME
Effacernes Concealer

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.”

DIOR
Airflash Foundation

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.”

URBAN DECAY 
Naked Palette

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 “


Skincare

KIEHL’S
Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque

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. “

SK-II 
Masks

If you have the money, these are really a great investment for your face, they will make a noticeable difference in your skin. “

BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE 
P50

“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.” 

NUXE
Reve de Miel Lip Balm

“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.”

REN
Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

It decongests the pores and works well to help fade post-acne scarring, blackheads, blemishes and sun-damaged skin.”

AURELIA PROBIOTIC SKINCARE
Miracle Cleanser
Cell Repair Oil

“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.”

Hair

KERASTASE
Mousse Nutri-Sculpt

“It creates such a smooth, voluminous blow dry, without weighing hair down. Seriously–your hair looks like it came from a shampoo commercial.” 

MATRIX
Heat Resist

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.”



Body

KIEHL’S
Nashi Blossom and Pink Grapefruit Body Lotion
On my wedding day, I was told by 4 different people that I smelled amazing (before dancing started, mind you), all because of this product.”

THE SUNDAY NIGHT FACIAL

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What do you do on Sunday nights? Nothing, probably other than sit at home depressed because tomorrow is Monday. What better way to get ready for the week than to deep clean your skin? I do this faithfully every single Sunday night to keep my face in ship shape and prevent breakouts.

Get your robe on, tie your hair back, and get ready.

Step 1: First cleanse
Start by using a balm cleanser (or coconut oil) to cleanse your face, neck and chest. I really like Ren’s balm cleanser, it is gentle and has a rose scent. Eve Lom‘s is also great (if you’re not opposed to mineral oil), as well as Darphin‘s. Massage the product in to your dry face for a minute or so, even getting the eye area to remove all makeup. (Darphin’s balm recommends avoiding the eye area, but I did it by accident, and it was fine for me and I have really sensitive eyes. Use your own judgement.

Now, grab a muslin cloth or facecloth. Soak it in the hottest water you can stand, wring it out, and apply to face. Take 3 deep breaths. Repeat this 3 times. Rinse the cloth, wring it out and rub your face with it to exfoliate.

Step 2: Extraction (optional)
You maybe have noticed that the hot water has brought some white heads to the surface. If you feel comfortable doing this, you can gently extract some of the whiteheads/blackheads at this time using some toilet paper and your fingers (stay away from the extraction tools!). I usually concentrate on the chin, nose and cheeks.

Step 3: Second cleanse
Using a gentler cleanser (I like Ren’s Mayblossom and Lancome’s Galatée Confort), apply the product to your dry face and massage for 1 minute. Repeat the washcloth method from Step 1.

Step 4: Exfoliate
Apply an exofiliating mask, such as Ren’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Mask to the face. Take a breather and watch some TV for the required time.

Step 5: Tone
Since you have already exfoliate, do not apply your exfoliating toner and jump ahead to the hydrating toner. I use Nars’ Multi-Action or La Roche-Posay’s Serozinc.

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Step 6: Purify
Apply a clay mask (I use one from Kiehl’s) to your face, or if your skin is dry like mine, to your problem areas (nose, chin, forehead, whatever). Wait the required time, and watch some more TV.

Step 7: Hydrate
Apply a good overnight hydrating mask to your face, neck, and even around your eyes. Some masks say that you can remove the extra lotion from your face but I just leave it on all night.

Go to sleep and get your beauty rest.

WEDDING SKINCARE PREP PART 4 // ESSENTIALS

In the lead up to my wedding, I was pretty stressed…and you could see it on my skin. Not so much on my face, but my chest. Never before have I suffered from any kind of chacne (chest acne) and I truthfully had no idea what to do with it.

At first I noticed some colourless bumps on my chest appear, but since they weren’t real pimples and were just under the skin, I figured they would probably go away and wouldn’t be a problem. BUT, then I went for my hair trial.

I was freaking out in my head the whole time. As soon as I sit down in the chair, the girl doing my rollers complains that my hair is so fine and slippery and is making the hot rollers fall out, then the hairdresser complains how stubborn my J.Lo-like baby hairs won’t stay in place and my hair frizzes when she touches it, and then the updo I wanted doesn’t look how I imagined it in my mind. I like to think I am no Bridezilla, but with my lack of sleep, stress and then this, as soon as I saw Jordan when I got home I burst into tears. Jordan looked at me, gave me a hug and said, what happened to your chest?

Stress gave me chacne, y’all. Not cool three weeks before the wedding.

Don’t fret, my hair turned out fine on the day. As did everything else, but stress and lack of sleep can wreak total havoc on the skin.

Anyways, on to my pre-wedding skin prep routine. This is all about exfoliation, protection and hydration.

Following my facialist’s advice to use very lightweight moisturizers in the lead-up to the wedding (you want skin to look plump and youthful), I used Babor’s Skinovage Moisture Plus Serum day and night to pack in the moisturizer without any heavy oils. In the morning, I applied Lancome’s Advanced Généfique eye and facial serums to keep any fine lines at bay and to help even out my skintone. At night, I used Visionnaire to give an extra punch to any forming stress wrinkles and even out my skin texture. I locked everything in with Kiehl’s super lightweight but very hydrating Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion.

Once a week I used Ren’s Glycolic Lactic Radiance Mask to unclog pores and exfoliate my face. This is crucial for keeping any new pimples at bay and fighting any current spots and bumps. When the chacne happened, I even used this twice on my chest. On my newly resurfaced skin I applied Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask to draw out any impurities and clarify my skin (also applied to both face and chest twice a week).

I also made sure to protect my face from any new freckles, burns or pigmentation (if you are using glycolic acids, you need to be protecting your new baby skin) with Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Water Light Sunscreen. This super lightweight liquid packs a serious punch of protection with SPF 60. I made sure to double cleanse my face every night when using sunscreen to ensure that I had throughly removed every last bit.

Even though I wore fake eyelashes on the big day, I wanted to have a good base of lashes, and really, who doesn’t want full, long lashes everyday of their lives? Every night I applied Fusion Beauty’s StimuLash to grow long, thick, dark lashes. Just make sure you don’t get this anywhere other than your lashes, hair will grow!

And finally, to keep my hair in primo, silky condition I applied Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak to keep my hair hydrated, healthy and free of split-ends.

AMANDA’S CLEANSING ROUTINE

Feeling frustrated with my face (as always), and after devouring Caroline Hirons blog, I decided it was high time to revamp my cleansing routine. I had gotten lazy, relying on my Clarisonic to do most of the work, and when I wasn’t sonic-ing, my hands could not wash my face fast enough. All in all, I was really not cleansing my face properly.
In walks the Eve Lom balm cleanser, with her 8-step cleansing and massage routine with a muslin cloth. Before I knew it, I had started to love washing my face, taking lots of time to steam with a hot washcloth. And, I was enjoying the results. My complexion was already becoming clearer, brighter, and well, cleaner.
Since my skin is prone to becoming congested, I decided to take Caroline’s advice and start using an acidic toner. I was already using Ren’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal mask once a week, and loving the results, but it scared me a bit to be using acid on my face twice a day. However, I had no reason to be afraid. Peter Thomas Roth’s toner has way less acid than the mask, but is effective at kick starting your skin into action. You epidermis will begin to turnover its cells, making way for new ones and dissolving the old ones. My skin is already getting much clearer, the scars are fading and the little red bumps under the skin are disappearing. According to her, your skin should be an acid environment so as not to promote bacteria from growing. When your skin is more alkaline, this is when bacteria spreads and acne forms.
Caroline prescribes following the acid toner with a hydrating toner. I had attempted to purchase Ren’s Hydrating Toner (Caroline approved. Ren also makes an exoliating toner.), but was not able to find it in Sephora (maybe it is not carried in Canada?). Instead, I was recommended Nars’ Multi Action Hydrating Toner, which is also supposed to aid in brightening the skin, turnover, and is alcohol-free (a quality you want in a toner. The Peter Thomas Roth toner does contain alcohol, however, it was the only exfoliating toner I was able to find at the moment. It is also the fifth ingredient listed, so I don’t believe that there is enough of it to have a negative effect.). I do love this toner, and appreciate the extra step of injecting some moisture into my dry skin. I also appreciate the bottle’s design (sleek, modern, etc.), however, the cap is kind of big and obnoxious and takes up a lot of room in my skincare storage basket (which is always overflowing).
Lastly, I have added a second cleanse to my nighttime routine. Following a good, deep cleanse from Eve, I use Ren’s Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel with a muslin cloth. This was a winner for me because it is non-foaming (a.k.a. it will not strip the skin, thus prompting my skin to produce even more oil) and it works well. My skin doesn’t feel tight afterwards, just nice and clean. Added bonus is that it helps to balance and control my oily nose area.
Further reading/watching: