Dior Addict Eau De Parfum

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I had my eye on Addict by Dior for a couple of years before I finally purchased it and once I did I wondered why I had put it off. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why I love this fragrance so much but I’ll try. First off, it’s definitely not the ads for it, which are, in a word, tacky. Seriously Dior, this is what you came up with!? I do like the dark blue bottle but that’s incidental. What really grabs me is the juice itself.

To me, Addict is simultaneously fresh and warm. Classified as an floral oriental, Addict has many of the traditional notes that one would expect from a fragrance in this category such as vanilla, sandlewood, and tonka bean and it is these notes, among others, that give it its warm enveloping facets. On the other hand, there are woody and dry chypre accords that make Addict complex, sexy delishesness.

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If I spray Addict on my clothes I can smell it for days. I wear it when I’m in the mood for a warmer fragrance but not necessarily a decidedly heavy one such as Guerlain’s Shalimar. The dry chypre notes give Addict a masculine edge making it especially lovely to wear in autumn and winter.

Notes: Silk Tree Flower, Mandarin Leaf, Orange Blossom, Queen of the Night Flower, Bulgarian Rose, Bourbon Vanilla Absolute, Mysore Sandalwood, Tonka Bean.

Narciso Rodriguez Eau De Parfum and Eau De Toilette.

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Launched in 2003, Narciso Rodriguez For Her was created by Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian. For Her is a sort of “modern classic” in that it has paved the way for an entire generation of fragrances on the market today. It’s reminiscent of a classic chypre in that it is a blend of fruity, floral and woody accords but the added note of heady musk makes it a unique scent that has secured its place in the industry.

I’ll admit, it was not love at first sniff with Narciso Rodriguez For Her perfume, or the fellow toilette . All I got was a sharp hit of musk that seemed harsh and one dimensional. How disappointing! Fast forward a few years to my latest perfume frenzy. I always check in with perfumes that haven’t agreed with me in the past in the hopes that I’ll suddenly “get” what I wasn’t grasping about the fragrance before. However, more often than not a once rejected perfume remains just that. It was during one of my perusals through the perfume section at The Bay that I sauntered over to the Narciso Rodriguez counter. I noticed the familiar sleek black bottle and, half grimacing, picked it up and spritzed it on my arm. At first, my reaction to the scent was that it was certainly better than I remembered but still I put the bottle down and walked away; mainly to avoid being accosted the dreaded salesperson.

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Later on that day I kept catching whiffs of something lovely. The culprit? Me! Well, Narciso’s For Her actually. It was that blend of clean and sexy. Expensive soap and woods, or musk to be exact. I had to get it! I first purchased the Eau De Toilette which is the one in the black bottle that comes in a light pink box. One of the most interesting things about the For Her parfum and toilette is that they are quite different from one another. While the signature musk accord is apparent in both versions, the toilette is comparatively sharper while the parfum is warmer with softer notes of honey, rose, peach, and amber. Of the two, the toilette defiantly had the stronger sillage (the projection of a fragrance).

From The NR site:

Toilette: A rare musk enhanced by a pure synthesis of delicate floral osmanthus notes, soft amber and hints of patchouli. Notes: Honey Flower, Solar Musk, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Amberlyn, Vanilla, Tactile Musk, Tactile Woods, Vetiver.

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Parfum: Musk remains at the heart of for her eau de parfum, enhanced by a rare weave of pink floral with hints of rose, peach pulp and soft amber. Notes: pink chypre, pink floral, voluptuous woods, soft amber, sheer chypre, flower honey, tactile woods, amber light.

Eventually, I added the Eau De Parfum to my collection and find it just as lovely if not more subdued. I wear the parfum when I still want the delicious muskiness of For Her without the sharpness of the toilette. I am typically not a fan of rose scents but I cannot resist the parfum’s blend of musk, rose, woods, amber and honey.

While I would reserve the parfum for winter use, the toilette could be worn on a summer night out, applied with a light hand.

Province Apothecary Regenerating+Stimulating Exfoliator

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I’m a huge fan of exfoliants! Nothing soothes out and brightens up the complexion like sloughing off all the gunk piled on the skin’s surface. I love chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid but when I still want some exfoliation that’s on the gentle side I bust out a powder exfoliant.

The first powder exfoliant I ever tried was Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant. Once mixed with water to it works to gently exfoliate. It’s been years since I used Daily Microfoliant and I started getting the urge to purchase it. What stopped me? I came across a completely natural (and locally owned) version by brand Province Apothercary.

I purchased mine at Whole Foods. Conveniently, Province Apothecary offers a smaller 30mL alternative to their 120mL size which I opted for in case I wasn’t crazy about the product. So, here’s my verdict; it’s perfect for exactly what I need it for: light, gentle exfoliation. This stuff smells EXACTLY like a bunch of crushed herbs and plants because, well, it is. With that in mind, this product may cause itchiness in those who are prone to allergies triggered by plants.

http://provinceapothecary.com/collections/face-body/products/regenerating-stimulating-exfoliator

 

http://provinceapothecary.com/

 

Rejuvenate Inside and Out at Pearl Rejuvenation

Having a good skin care routine is such an important part of maintaining healthy and youthful skin but, unfortunately, even the most cutting-edge skin care topicals out there won’t combat gravity and loss of volume. That’s where things like fillers and, of course, Botox come in.

Alas, my undying love for skin care products and my daily devotion to taking care of my skin (ya know cleanse, moisturize and wear sunscreen religiously) are still no match for almighty gravity thus, signs of aging are beginning to appear. I mean between stress, the environment, and life in general do we ever really stand a chance against aging? Of course not! There is no fountain of youth but there are some amazing steps one can take to age gracefully.

I recently visited PearlMd Rejuvenation, a clinic devoted to helping women rejuvenate from the inside out. Cosmetic services include old faithfuls like Botox and fillers to Selphyl  (the vampire facial) and many, many more treatments. The clinic also offers customized programs “designed to restore more youthful body chemistry, hormone balance, optimize lifestyle and prevent age-related diseases” which assist with concerns such as hormone health, lifestyle planning, sexual health, brain health and more.

While I was there I had the opportunity to try the Polish Hydrating Peel, an amazing peel that moisturizes while it exfoliates. This peel is perfect for those who are weary of the infamous blistering red look after a peel gone wrong (which rarely happens.) It’s the kind of treatment recommended to attain that I-woke-up-this-way glow. Because there may be some light peeling in the first 24-48 hours it’s best to have it done a couple days before an event. My skin looked and felt smooth and left me looking refreshed.

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Me Getting the Polish Hydrating Peel done

I sat down with Dr. Jennifer Pearlman to talk about the peel but the discussion soon centered around my own face and what types of treatments would work best for me. I’ll admit I was shy at first, most people aren’t in the habit of having someone assess their face for places that can use improvement. However, she was very reassuring and logical in her approach which immediately put me at ease. Curious about what she said? Well she noted that my left brow was slightly more drooped than my right-something I was already well too aware of because of my morning battle with my eyeliner. Also, I have a super expressive mouth with has created a sort of dimpling in the chin area. She suggested a bit of botox in those couple areas. Did I do it? No. I haven’t had Botox, or anything done, and while I’m definitely not ruling it out I just wasn’t mentally prepared to have my first treatment done that day.

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The Actives that Do the Exfoliating and Moisturizing

Pearl MD Rejuvenation Clinic is definitely worth visiting if you’re considering or curious about advanced cosmetic treatments. If injectables and other advanced treatments really aren’t your thing Dr. Pearlman offers an impressive collection of topical skin care. You can check them out here:

http://www.pearlrejuvenation.com/

Blitz Facial Bar

wpid-img_20151023_164523.jpgNail salons are the Starbucks of the beauty world-there’s one at every corner. And it’s no wonder; there’s nothing quite like taking some much needed time out of your busy schedule to beautify and be pampered. Studies even show that in times of recession the beauty industry doesn’t take much of a beating; probably because these little self-care rituals are not merely about looking pretty but also about keeping one’s morale up.wpid-img_20151030_001509.jpg

Women get their hair and nails done all the time, not to mention hair removal. But what about our skin? Does it  not deserve to be pampered regularly, too?

Enter Blitz Facial Bar;   wpid-img_20151030_000724.jpg                    

 

 

The Concept

Quality and time-effective skin care treatments so achieving or maintaining skin health doesn’t have to become a time-consuming and money-eating production. Sure, one can treat oneself to a super expensive, hour and a half long facial with tons  but how maintainable is it. Chances are, not very for most people out there. The function of Blitz Facial Bar is to make it feasible to make quality skin care treatments just as attainable as dropping into a hair or nail salon.

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The Blitz and Glow: This is the perfect facial for those who want a quick glow before an event or night out. Simple, relaxing and perfect for days when you want a pick-me-up without sacrificing half of your time.

The Extractor: meant to, well, extract all the stuff accumulated in the skin. Cleansing, steaming, extractions and a mask will make your skin feel like it can breathe again.

The Micro: Cleansing and microdermabrasion-for when you just want to take it all off, and if you’re so inclined you can add a booster to customize.

wpid-img_20151029_230529.jpgThe Works: The Works facial is a blend of the three aforementioned facials spread out over one, very relaxing hour. Cleansing, microdermabrasion, steam, extractions, lymphatic massage and a masque make The Works the ultimate facial experience and will leave your skin very happy.

The cherry on top? All facials also include a hand and arm massage!

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Blitz Facial Bar offers “booster shots” (no needles involved). These boosters allow you to customize your facial to make sure your skin gets exactly what it needs.

Boosters include;

Skin Renewal: A penetrating mask and rescue serum to calm rosacea and sensitive skin

On The Bright Side: A Vitamin C mask and radiance serum designed o brighten skin and lighten sun damage and dark spots

wpid-img_20151030_001839.jpgPeel Me Away: Peel away the years with an intense enzyme peel or glycolic lactic mask

Plump It Up: Get the plump without filler with a deep moisturizing mask and plumping serum

Cold Plunge: This cold jade stone massage instantly calm redness, closes pores and is a great add-on for ‘The micro’ or ‘the works’.

Bye Bye Puffy Eye:  Firms, de-puffs and hydrates eye area

Spot Treatment: Soothes, protects and heals break-outs and irritated skin

Just For Him-Beard Oil: Keeps skin, stubble and beard hyfrated and healthy

*Plump It Up may be added to ‘the works’ facial only.

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Products used in professional treatments and sold as retail are Blitz’ own in-house line (except for the SPF which is from Elta MD.)

Blitz Facial Bar products are eco-friendly, they contain pure essential oils with ingredients derived from natural sources and are free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and artificial colours.

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The Estheticians/Skin Care Therapists

The estheticians at Blitz Facial Bar are not only good at what they do but passionate and knowledgeable. This means that beyond formal training, they actively engage in, and are interested in skin care and staying up-to-date on the world of skin health.

Pure and Simple Refining Cleansing Gel and Beautiful Skin Face Cream

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I have used Pure and Simple products in the past and liked them but they somehow got lost among the plethora of skin care potions. Recently I purchased two of their products and love them! I am so glad that I found my way back!

The Cleanser

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Minimalist Refining Cleansing Gel checks everything on my list

  • The Smell: a natural concoction of skin-loving oils and herbs make this cleanser smell divine. I look forward to this part of my routine because of the smell
  • It Cleanses (go figure). Some cleansers do a better job at removing makeup and gunk than others, this one is fantastic! My skin is left feeling super clean but not stripped and uncomfortable.
  • It does what it says. This cleanser is marketed as “Refining” and it does just that. The overall all texture and appearance of my skin has improved thanks to this stuff. My skin glows after I use it and is perfectly prepped for other skin care goodies.

The Moisturizer

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I bought their Beautiful Skin Face Cream. Of the many products I’ve tried over the years there are very few that I would repurchase. I will definitely buy this stuff again. It;

  • Has no artificial fragrance; I recognize the subtle smell of avocado oil which is the second ingredient in the formula.
  • It adequately moisturizes without making me feel greasy and weighed down
  • Actually improved the appearance and texture of my skin!
  • Can add a drop or two of your fave oil to add even more moisture without sacrificing the integrity of the formula so your skin can still reap its benefits.

My next post will feature Toronto’s first express facial joint, Blitz Facial Bar. Created by the same team who brought Toronto the amazing Body Blitz over a decade ago, Blitz Facial Bar is sure to be a city favorite!

My Favorite Sunscreens of Summer 2015

When it comes to sun protection I’m team zinc oxide all the way. What makes this great ingredient even better at protecting your skin is when it’s part of a great formula that includes antioxidants and moisturizers. A while ago I finally got myself the Argan Oil Hydration SPF 30 by 100% Pure and The Big Carrot. For me, this sunscreen strikes a great balance between excellent sun protection and extra skin care. For a sunscreen that contains such a high percentage of zinc oxide (20%) it’s fairly moisturizing without being too greasy or waxy like a lot of zinc-based sunscreens.

PROS:

  • Fragrance-free
  • high percentage of zinc oxide
  • Includes a ton of antioxidants
  • Moisturizing ingredients that help counteract the dryness that zinc oxide often causes

CONS

A bit on the pricey side-$30

  • Leaves a white-cast                                                     Ingredients

Aloe Barbadensis (Organic Aloe Juice) Leaf Extract*, Argania Spinosa (Organic Argan) Kernel Oil*, Rosa Canina Seed Extract (Rosehip Oil), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Extracts of Euphorbia Cerifera Cera (Candelilla) Wax, Camellia Sinensis (Organic Green Tea) Leaf*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf, Origanum Vulgar (Oregano), Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal), Lonicera Caprifolium Flower and Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower and Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark (Cinnamon)
Active Ingredients: 20% Zinc Oxide
* Certified Organic

 L3737657Another sunscreen I use is Vichy’s Capitol Soleil  50 Mexoryl XL…for kids. As far as sun protection is concerned the only difference between adult and children’s sunscreens is that children’s sunscreens are formulated without ingredients that could potentially irritate their skin. Adult sunscreens often have an assortment of ingredients that offer anti-aging or moisturizing benefits. Because I have fairly reactive skin I like to keep my sunscreen simple, plus I already use other skin care products so an all-in-one sunscreen wouldn’t be much use.

This particular sunscreen has added minerals to protect against irritation but also moisturizes the skin. It also contains both Mexoryl XS and XL which that together with other actives provides excellent protection from the rays. I talk more about Mexoryl here

PROS:

  • Contains both Mexoryl SX and XL
  • contains minerals to help counteract irritation

CONS:

  • Contains other chemical sunscreen ingredients (for product efficacy)

Drug Store Moisturizers: Worth Taking A Closer Look

wpid-img_20150710_140355.jpgThe older I get, the more I appreciate how important basic moisture is for healthy skin, which is great news because there are some great moisturizers out there with key ingredients that do not cost a fortune. For quite a while I have been using CeraVe’s PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. I initially bought this after reading a ton a great reviews about it (even the tough Paula Begoun gives it her highest rating!) I soon fell in love with this stuff1 It doesn’t perform miracles but provides great moisture to facial skin without making it feel like you’ve coated your face with a layer of lard. Plus, it’s packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, two skin-loving ingredients.

I had good luck with the PM one so eventually picked up the CeraVe AM wpid-img_20150710_134357.jpgMoisturizing Lotion SPF 30 version which still contains a generous dose of hyaluronic acid and ceramides but with added sun protection. For days when you are not outside much, say going to and from work, as a sunscreen this moisturizer will provide adequate protection. For hot days, and times of extended sun exposure you’ll want to apply a separate sunscreen. Still, it’s a great option if you don’t want to apply multiple products.

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Another moisturizer I’ve been using these days is Impruv Derma Membrane Structure Cream. I had never noticed this stuff on the shelves until seeking it out  after my cousin Catherine told me her dermatologist recommended it as a great, no frills moisture. Impruv is described as an “advanced moisturizing formulation for dry, sensitive skin,” is fragrance-free, and won’t clog pores. This moisturizer is packed with skin- soothing emollients and cell-communicating and skin-identical ingredients such as hydrogenated lecithin and squalane.

I find that both the CeraVe PM and Impruv moisturizers adequately hydrate my skin without causing any breakouts. Impruv’s formula is a tad heavier so some may prefer to wear it at night although day-wear is definitely doable. The CeraVe AM moisturizer feels a tad thicker because of the added sunscreen actives.