Tag Archives: winter


Is it just me or is old man winter really taking his toll these days? Continue reading WINTER BEAUTY SURVIVAL KIT


Each time I find myself itching with discomfort, sitting at the salon with bleach coating my entire scalp, I’ll find any way possible to distract myself–but talking on the phone ends with bleach in your speakers, and Instagram loses it’s lustre about half an hour in. Continue reading KÉRASTASE // ELIXIR ULTIME IMPERIAL


October 2nd to 4th, Pascal Grand’maison, Diorshow Make Up Artist Canada, will be at The Bay on Queen Street teaching tips and tricks from behind the scenes, and sharing his knowledge on Dior products as well as the Fall 2014 line. Continue reading NEWS // MEET PASCAL GRAND’MAISON, DIOR MAKEUP ARTIST



As you already know, I suffer from eczema on my eyelids during the winter. The cold winter air brings on small patches of dry, flaky, red skin around my eyes which is annoying to say the least.

However, a few weekends ago, my eyelids freaked out and I woke up three days in a row with extremely swollen, red and dry eyelids. They were painful and no matter what I tried, I just could not get them to look or feel any better.

On the Sunday, I had had enough, as I had woken up with my eyelids more swollen, red and painful than ever. After a quick visit to the doctor, I learned that I have peri-orbital eczema, which can only be healed with a Protopic ointment. As I stated before, NEVER use hydrocortisone on your eyelids for irritations of any kind–it will thin the already delicate and thin skin!

For the past few days, Elizabeth Arden’s 8-hour cream and Avene’s Thermal Spring Water have been life-savers (other than my Protopic ointment). I didn’t wear a stitch of makeup on my eyes for a few days after the outbreak, but I gently cleansed my eyelids with a cooling mist (very nice on my burning, sensitive skin) of Avene’s spray and quick pat down with a cotton pad. After applying the ointment, I would slather on the 8-hour cream for hydration and protection from the elements. I plan on applying the 8-hour cream for the rest of winter to protect my eyelids from the wind on my walk to and from work (it is also gives a pretty, glossy sheen).

The 8-hour cream is my new favourite all-in-one product; it soothes and protects your skin throughout the winter months.  You can apply it anywhere really–as a lipbalm, moisturizer on your face or hands, on your eyebrows as a defining gel, on your eyelids for a glossy, peachy look, or mixed in with eyeshadow for a wet look. Even after my eyelids have recovered, I plan on mixing this convertible product with my eyeshadow for a smudgy, lived-in, smoky look.

Avene’s spray will also be very handy for hot summer days when my face needs refreshing (or has been burnt from the sun) and on planes when my when my skin is feeling parched from the dry cabin air.


If this polar vortex has taught me anything, it’s that the best place to hide is wrapped up in bed with my laptop– candles included, obviously. Much to my cautious mother’s displeasure, I practically light them as I move from room to room. They add the perfect fake warmth to a space and these two favourites make locking myself up away from the cold not so bad.

Amanda’s always got a candle (or five) burning whenever I visit her place, and I was inspired to do the same in my own space. I actually fell in love with Feu de Bois when I had my first whiff at her apartment. It smells exactly like a campfire, to put it simply (blend of rare woods to be exact). If you’ve never owned a Dyptique, let me tell you; these candles burn so beautifully–big flame, sophisticated fragrances and chic packaging. Feu de Bois is a very wintery-scent in my opinion–kind of the smell I’d imagine you’d experience at your overpriced cottage in Muskoka on a chilly Sunday night. It’s just about the only perk that comes along with this season–not to mention that used Dyptique candle glasses make perfect makeup brush holders.

For the more frugal crowd, Bath and Body Works’ Bellini Cafe is also a lovely scent– sugared berries, apples and grapes, but not overly sweet, surprisingly. The 3-wick design is stunning and seems to make the fragrance really fill the space. This scent is really fresh–I love to light it in the bathroom while I shower. I cannot stand shopping at Bath and Body Works typically–99% of their scents are like sweet enough to give you diabetes and reek of vanilla. However, I was actually in there helping my sister buy a present, and I (the the great shopping companion I am) ventured off to just try a few of the candles–and I did so very apprehensively, trust me. Yes, many were just as I feared, almost giving me a headache, however, I was so impressed by Bellini Cafe–the scent is so subtle and mature, I was honestly shocked. It’s worth the frightening trip through the valley of 12 year old white girls and “marshmallow dream” lotion, hand sanitizer, body mousse, mini candle, hand soap, yada, yada, yada….

–Anna Raponi


Again, I’ve got a light, medium and heavy option for moisturizers. I also have one hydrating serum, Hydraluron, which I’ve already reviewed before.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Lotion
Now, this is my summer moisturizer, but I have dry skin, so it would work perfectly for oily-skinned gals out there who need some protection, but don’t want to smother their face with a thick cream.

Clarins HydraQuench Cream for Normal to Dry Skin
This is really my holy grail moisturizer, and has been for two years now. I keep coming back to it. It’s the perfect thickness, has a pretty smell, and is like spreading on a fluffy layer of moisture onto your skin. My skin soaks this stuff up, and it never ever leaves me greasy or oily. If my skin is a bit dryer, I’ll sometimes smooth on a bit of oil first. Also, it creates a great base for makeup.

Vichy ProEven Eye Cream
Creates a great base for makeup and you only need a tiny amount to hydrate your eyes and protect the delicate skin from the cold.

Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone Night
Now, this is the most buttery and thick cream I have ever use. This is meant for aging and mature,  and severely dehydrated skin. Will replenish even the driest of faces.

Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone Eye Cream
Much like the face cream, it is an intensely thick cream that will inject moisture into the delicate eye area.

If you’re looking for hydration, but really like your moisturizer/are afraid of changing it, Hydraluron could be the product for you. It’s a thin, gel-like serum that is applied under your moisturizer. It works with hyaluronic acid to hydrate the deeper layers of the skin. I’ve written about it’s wonders before on VP.

Associated posts: 

Facial Oils



I LOVE FACIAL OILS because they all have different weights and ingredients making them perfect for any skin type. They can add an extra-hydrating oomph to all faces, making them a great product for surviving winter without a dry, dehydrated or chapped face. At night, I love to use them on their own, or under a moisturizer, and during the day, I sometimes will blend a drop or two into my moisturizer before application if my skin is feeling parched.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, don’t be scared! Oils are for you too. You just need to make sure you pick the right one. I have dry/dehydrated, acne-prone skin (a winning combo), and none of these oils aggravate my pimples.

I have three different face oils here for you–all with different weights and viscosity. I pick and choose which one to apply every night depending on how my face is feeling, or what I think it might need.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate
I’m not completely sure if this is supposed to be classified as an “oil”, but it has a lightweight, silky texture, and an oil-like feel. I think that it is meant to be used as a serum under a moisturizer, but on days when my skin doesn’t seem parched, and I just need light hydration, this is perfect. It has a pretty smell as well and doesn’t feel oily on the face.

Hydrating ingredients: squalane, lavender oil and evening primrose oil

Aurelia Cell Repair Night Oil
This oil can be used every night on it’s own, under moisturizer, or for oilier skins, every 2 or 3 nights. Like all of Aurelia’s products, it is beautifully scented with neroli, lavender, mandarin and more. Perfect for pumping up a moisturizer, whether during the day or night. Wake up to brighter, hydrated skin.

Hydrating ingredients: kalahari oil, mongongo oil, kigelia, baobab and hibiscus

Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil
I bought this oil when it felt like no matter what I did, I could not get my forehead to not look crepe-y, tight, dry and dehydrated. This oil is so incredibly hydrating, you only need a drop or two to quench your thirsty skin. I definitely would only use this at night. Despite being extremely hydrating, it did not break me out. If you are concerned about it being too heavy on your oily, acnaic skin, I recommend the Blue Lotus facial treatment oil instead, it is made for oilier skin.

Hydrating ingredients: hazelnut oil, rosewood oil, patchouli oil, blue orchid oil


I DUNNO BOUT YOU, but my skin freaked right out as soon as it got cold in November. The super dry heating got turned on in full force at my office, the air in my apartment lost it’s moisture and the whatever life/normalness was remaining in my skin was essentially sucked out of my face by the cold winds on my commute (I walk 20 mins to and from the office).

So! With the change in seasons, comes a change in your skincare. Gels are traded in for creams, lotions for oils, etc. etc. Don’t worry though, I’ve got all bases covered–from milks all the way to balm.

You’re not going to want to make any drastic changes, but if you’ve noticed that your face is dryer than usual, you might want to switch to something a bit more hydrating and less stripping, either full-time for the winter, or part-time. (Also, if you are using foaming cleansers, I beg you to give those up full-time. They are bad news bears for your face).

So! I’ve got four cleansers here for you. If you don’t already use one, it’s a good idea to incorporate the use of a washcloth with milks, creams and balms to properly remove the product from the skin.

Lancôme Galatée Confort
This is a really nice, thick milk/cream hybrid that effectively removes makeup. However! You need to use this with a washcloth to properly remove it. I also wouldn’t recommend it for acne-prone skin of any kind (it does contain mineral oil). Overall, it has a lovely smell, works, and is great for a morning or second cleanse.

Clinique Comforting Cream Cleanser & Aurelia Miracle Cream Cleanser
I’ve included two creams here for you–they are different enough to warrant this, I promise you. They come in at quite different price points, and one is fragranced (Aurelia)–deliciously I might add, and the other is unfragranced (Clinique). They are both great at cleansing the skin, and once again, I would recommend a wash cloth for proper removal. The Clinique is better at removing eye make up for sure, but I would still both use them as morning or second cleanses.

If you’re worried about ingredients, Aurelia is definitely more natural and uses essential oils to create a really beautiful cleanser (as you know, I am obsessed with all their products). However, if you’re on a budget, the Clinique works perfectly well.

Clinique Take the Day Off
As you know, I am a huge fan of balm cleansers, and really any good one with good ingredients will do. I haven’t yet reviewed TTDO, so this is why I’m including it here (here are some other balms I love). TTDO is another gold-star product from Clinique–no mineral oil here so it’s suitable for all skin types, and it removes makeup in a flash, really, anything and everything. Plus, it’s the most affordable balm that I’ve been able to find that won’t irritate acne-prone skin and doesn’t contain parabens. Win!


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.