My “Incredible” New Favourite Thing!

So it’s been a few months now since Noxzema saved my skin. And I have only been using them once a week now for that extra care and prevention. (You can read it here: https://beautybyjemz.wordpress.com/2012/05/10/how-noxzema-saved-my-cheeks/) Since my skin is all … Continue reading

Summer’s Here!… And So Is Your Shiny Skin?

A reader requested some suggestions on a great primer for oily skin, and since this is the season for oiliness, I thought to repost it here & add a few updated product suggestions.

So…Personally and dermatologically speaking, I don’t recommend that anyone use any primer, ever, on a daily basis. That being said, primers are great for a special night out or occasion or even if you have a long day of meetings and need to impress or have no time to worry about touching up your makeup.

I wouldn’t recommend a primer daily because it isn’t particularly good for your skin… It’s purpose is to impose a barrier between your skin’s oils and your makeup or to stop your skin from being oily altogether which isn’t good for the skin. If your skin produces too much oil there are always several reasons and sometimes it’s best to consult your doctor or dermatologist. It could be over-washing, stress, etc. but before finding ways to conceal oiliness, I would recommend finding ways to treat and balance the skin first.

Now down to business. The number one recommended primer for oily skin is the Laura Mercier oil free primer. You can easily pick it up at Sephora or order it online. It’s completely water based so it works well in not adding any oil as well as providing a smooth makeup application for oily skin types. If you’re using mineral makeup or powder with this primer instead of a liquid foundation, you’ve gotta give it a few minutes to dry… or it can end up altering the colour of your makeup as you apply it. If you’re very invested in making sure you’re totally oil-free then I would pair this with the Laura Mercier oil free foundation too. CoverFX also makes a great oil control powder to blot with and to powder on top of your oil-free foundation to really set your skin with a matte look.

A favourite system of mine for those with normal skin and T-zone oiliness is the Smashbox Photo Finish primer paired with the Smashbox mattifier in the T-zone since I find none of my clients want that ‘all over matte’ look which is not very natural looking.

*New fave* The Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pure Oil-Free Skin Smoothing Face Primer For Sensitive Skin. It’s quite a mouthful but it really works wonders!

To make your makeup last longer try a setting spray. The Model in a Bottle spray works well; I’ve used it on clients but find it’s not easy to find and a little pricier than other alternatives. Some people swear by the Urban Decay “All Nighter” setting spray. Personally I favour the Ben Nye “Final Seal” for my clients as I find no one has ever broken out with any skin problems after I use this on them and the makeup stays the same after I apply it; I’ve even had clients tell me their makeup looked the same in the morning after forgetting to wash their face at night! The MAC “FIX” setting spray has a lot of reviews that it works great (although not cheap) but for sensitive skin users to beware that it often causes break outs and leaves the skin slightly shiny (which I think defeats the purpose) and the skin needs to be re-powdered after use.

P.s. There is an urban myth that using ‘milk of magnesium’ on the face can stop all oiliness in its tracks for hours on end and is rumoured to be used behind many a runway show. However, I’ve never tried it, I also don’t recommend you do either, but I’ve never heard of a makeup myth that didn’t have some truth to it šŸ˜‰

How Noxzema Saved My Cheeks…

A few months ago, I had an allergic reaction to something. No idea what it was. And I broke out in all kinds of hives and rashes on my face, mostly my cheeks. I took pills and used some medicated steroid cream and it eventually went away in about 2 weeks.

After that, I noticed my skin became really sensitive and if I even just *touched* my face, I would end up breaking out and pimples would come popping out all over my cheeks. So I was in Shoppers Drug Mart (I know… again… Do not judge me please) and I saw these Noxzema Triple Clean Anti-Blemish pads in their classic cobalt blue Noxzema packaging. They were on sale for $3.49 and, in my classic style, I noticed a $1.00 off coupon just down the aisle. So I figured to try them. Nothing else was really working… my regular Cetaphil & Spectro cleansers didn’t seem to be able to handle the break outs alone and my tea tree oil stick was making my face look patchy and dry, nearly sunburnt. So with only $2.49 to lose, I grabbed a pack.

The instructions say to start with using 1 per day, then 2 per day with a max of 3 per day on the face. Well screw that! I was desperate. I started with 3 per day for the first 3 days and then 2 per day for about 3 more days. Before the 5th day, my break out was completely gone. Completely.

It’s true that I thought I might pass out from the menthol and camphor fumes, and sometimes I do plug my nose while swiping my face, but they say ‘what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ and here I am, with my face feeling stronger!

Moment of truth: these are dirt cheap, a jar lasts about 2 months, your breakout could clear up in a week’s time (or less!) and you have no embarrassing acne routine for people to see and poke fun at you about (i.e. the ‘toothpaste’ trick = no boyfriend wants to see that, or the ‘tea tree oil stick’ that dries out your skin in weird patches and makes you look like you got sunburned, or a bathroom cabinet full of acne products, when you could use just 1 or 2 and get the job done). P.s. these also work on your back if you have upper back acne. I recommended them to a male friend and he told me that within a week things were looking MUCH clearer!

My current routine: exfoliate, rinse, wash, rinse, use the Noxzema Anti-blemish pads once a day (on cheeks only, where my breakouts happen) and moisturize with my Clinique Dramatically Different. My current skin: so clear that I rarely wear foundation…. maybe once a week for a night out.

I love these things! And they are now one of my bathroom cabinet staples. Beware, the fumes are STRONG. Like, super strong. But these are completely worth it.

p.s. I have no brand sponsors (pffft- I wish)… So everything I buy costs me out of my own pocket and so, I am always, totally & completely honest about every product I review.

Have an acne remedy? skin cure? share it with me!

My NEW Favourite Thing!

I have so many favourite things!

One thing of which I recently discovered….

I am currently in love with the Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. In love.
It happened when, one day, I was in Sephora whoring up the skincare aisles and drooling over new product goodies, when I saw the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer on the shelves beside some Dr. Perricone moisturizer (which was 4x the price of the Clinique, by the way) and I remembered I have been meaning to try this cult-fave I have heard alot, and yet not enough, about.

So I had one of the girls make me a sample… Yes, of course I got a sample! I rarely buy a full size anything from anywhere, especially if it’s going on my face. You can never tell how something reacts to your skin when you’re trying it on in a store with dim lights and possibly other built up dirt or bacteria on your skin from the whole day prior. So, I take my half dozen sample pots home (yes, half a dozen. They were all different products, I promise). And low and behold, I end up at the MAC warehouse sale in Toronto 2 days later, before I had a chance to try the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer. Boo.

I grab 1. Only 1. I figured I may as well, seeing as it was $4 for the 1.7oz bottle which retails in the store currently for $16.

Well, I suck. I should have grabbed more. Way more. Like… all of them, kind of more.

I tried the Clinique D.D. Moisturizer when I got home (from my sample pot, so I could give away the full size to someone else if I didn’t like it). And I fell in love. It was this amazing thing that felt like egg yolks and whipped cream mixed together on my finger tips. I smoothed it over my face and it felt like I put on a moisturizing water-based gel product that literally disappeared on contact (I DID NOT try the gel version, I tried the normal version, just to clarify!).

6 days later, my Sephora sample is done and I have opened my MAC sale bottle of the Clinique stuff. I committed. Because I’m in love.

I have skin that is combination… I have dryness around the mouth and chin, oiliness in the T-zone and normal skin on the cheeks and neck. This moisturizer managed to effectively moisturizer ALL areas of my skin. I feel like it’s a wicked cure… something sinful maybe? Because I feel like skincare is never supposed to feel this good… and be so inexpensive! Holy mother… the 4.2oz bottle is $31 in Sephora stores in Canada… That would last me 6 months. It’s drugstore price!!!! Is anyone else’s heart jumping out of their chest like mine is right now???

So I fell in love. It is dramatically different, just like the name: in texture, quality, and price. Being in love like this feels like pure devine happiness. Everyone should try it. Be a sample whore… get some and try it for free. Experience a love like this.

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.” Dr. Seuss

BB Cream Phenomenon… Are They Right For You?

So I’ve been following the hype with regard to the new BB creams & I’ve tried out a few of them so far and quite frankly, there is only 1 product I would recommend. First I’ll explain what they’re all about and why they have caught like fire in the beauty industry at the moment.

BB Creams, also known as “Blemish Balm” or “Beauty Balm” more predominantly in North America, were an invention of the 1970s by a German dermatologist to aid in the recovery of skin after skin peels and facial laser treatments. They began gaining popularity in Asia, particularly with Korean actresses who confessed BBs as their beauty secret and they then became the ‘must have’ beauty accessory everyone was clamoring after. Now in Asia, the qualities of BBs are different then the way they are generally developed for the North American market. The purpose is that BBs are a combination product that help to hydrate/protect (sunscreen)/ anti-age/perfect discolourations/add luminosity or a radiant glow/prime skin/control oil/and more…. but in Asia they are also used to whiten the skin and often contain skin whitening/bleaching and lightening ingredients. In North American formulations, not so much.

There are a few brands that have already launched in Canada and a few more still coming, and so far, I have tried the most popular brands, all of which have a few downfalls for me, particularly as a woman of colour. Please keep this “woman of colour” tidbit in mind when reading my reviews.

On the Canucks BB Cream: Marcelle brand…
With the Marcelle brand, there are 2 shades: light to medium and medium to dark. Both shades had yellow undertones with a slight grey cast. I applied the medium to dark (in which case, I am a medium with slight peach and red undertones) it was much too light and gave what makeup artists dreadingly call “whiteface”. The coverage was moderate, which made it more beneficial as an all in one product, but it did not provide coverage that could replace your traditional foundation. I also felt it was not highly moisturizing and would recommend it for normal skin only and would suggest using a regular moisturizer prior to this if you have dry skin or using an oil free powder on top of this if you have oily skin. This one also does not contain sunscreen (yet, but they say they’re working on a version with SPF) but it does contain Titanium dioxide and Mica, which for me, are both no-nos to any pros who want to use this as a base on a photoshoot due to possible bounce-back/whiteface. Costs about $23 in Shoppers Drug Mart stores or order it online. If you are quite fair and not using it in any kind of photography or film, then this could be an option for replacing your tinted moisturizer or light coverage foundation.

On the Big Drugstore Contender: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream…

There are 2 shades here also, light to medium and medium to dark. I swatched both shades and the light/medium had peachy undertones while the medium/dark looked like… no better way to put it… mud. I wasn’t impressed with the swatches. Needless to say, I tried out my shade (medium/dark) and I looked a bit grey. Not cool. This also was very thick in consistency meanwhile, very sheer with coverage and pigment quality is very low. This works like a tinted moisturizer but I must say, it is not made for oily skin at all. It really acted like a mask on my face and I looked oilier than usual in less than 2 hours, which is quite a feat for me seeing that I have combination skin with only slight oiliness to the T-zone only. I must also add, that although it acts like a tinted moisturizer, it didn’t moisturize my dry areas very well (like my chin or around the mouth) nor did it provide me with the equivalent coverage of other tinted moisturizers on the market. It’s under $20 at drugstores and for that price, I think you’re better off simply adding a few drops of your favourite foundation to your daily high-SPF moisturizer and calling it a day. And again, SPF 15 makes this a no-go for me on any pro set or in studio.

On the Professional Grade BB Cream: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream…

Smashbox is the only company who has remembered that women come in all different colours of the rainbow and for this, I applaud them. Their line of BBs comes in 5 different shades: fair, light, light/medium, medium, and dark. When I went to Sephora to give these a go, they were all gone and I had to swatch them in store. The sales girl was also kind enough to give me a sample pot of the 3 darkest shades so I could try each one at home and come back to purchase seeing as they had no product to purchase that day anyhow. The result… the medium shade was perfect for my skin tone. It didn’t give me any weird undertones and was a very smooth product to apply. The coverage was about medium, so a bit more coverage than what a tinted moisturizer would do and with a light application of my Smashbox Halo powder (also in medium) I felt I had sufficient day time coverage without a heavily made-up look. This product actually acted quite well as a base for my regular foundation (Nars sheer glow is my regular guy) and gave me beyond perfect coverage when layering my foundation on top. It also didn’t add any extra oil to my skin but would not be suitable for a person with dry skin unless they were to use their regular (heavy) moisturizer underneath it. And kudos to Smashbox, their formulation contains an SPF of 35 while containing Titanium dioxide of only 1%. This is the only product I can recommend to women of colour and to pro makeup artists wanting to use a BB cream in a pro environment as a base or for light coverage. I *finally* didn’t get a grey tone or any whiteface reaction. AND I would also like to say that I really appreciate that my concealor, BB cream and powder from Smashbox all fell consistently in the “medium” category because for a regular (non-pro makeup artist) consumer, this would make for major shopping ease and much less confusion with colour matching. However…. I can’t really recommend this product due to, not performance, but price. I really enjoyed the product, however it’s much too expensive at $50 a pop here in Canada. Now if you’re someone who needs full coverage, an additional moisturizer (for dry skin) and a different specialty primer (to cover redness, or to mattify oiliness, etc) then this product is only going to add to your morning routine while putting a $50 dent in your makeup budget every month or 2. Not worth the fuss or muss. BUT, if you have great skin, don’t need much coverage, and do not have dry skin, I highly recommend it for you as a replacement product for your primer, foundation and sunscreen. If it truly replaces a few of your bathroom cabinet items, then by all means this is your guy and would be well worth it, even at $50.

Have you tried any BB Creams? What did you think? Let me know!

DIY Face Mask for all skin types!

Spending your Family Day or President’s Day @ home? You may as well do a DIY facial to rejuvenate your skin while playing that game of Scrabble…

Here’s what you need:

~ half a cup of plain yogurt (preferably with the active bacteria)
~ 3 tablespoons of honey
~ ground oats (just use dry oats & grind them up yourself!)

Mix all 3, scrub and slather on a clean face & neck, wait 15-20 minutes…. and presto! wash off with warm water first, then cold water & pat your face dry. This facial can be used on ALL skin types (oily, dry, combo, acne prone, aging…) and wakes skin up while exfoliating away all the little nasties that love hanging around.

The Science:
Yogurt is chock full of vitamins that are good for your skin like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B and zinc (which is particularly good for blemishes or acne). Honey is a natural antiseptic and is great for moisturizing & killing bacteria in the skin. Oatmeal is a great natural and cheap exfoliant that becomes softened once added to this mix so it’s never to harsh to use on the face.

Try it out & tell me what you think!

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Deal alert! New Women’s Schick Razor

I love a good deal. I swear, my pulse quickens when I see a great deal and know I have a coupon lying around somewhere that will make that deal a major cheapie! Today, I found a MAJOR CHEAPIE!

At Rexall they have the new Schick Hydro Silk razor for women on sale for $9.99. There’s also a manufacturer’s coupon for it online for $4.00 off (image attached) and in store, there was a pad of coupons on the display for $2.00 off! And they let me coupon stack! I was over the moon. $3.99 is a price you can’t beat, so I thought I’d share. I love drugstore deals nearly as much as makeup deals! Happy hunting!

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L’OCCITANE FREE Shea Hand Cream!

I LOVE beauty freebies! And who doesn’t want a FREE hand cream? Go to the L’OCCITANE en Provence – Canada Facebook page at the link below and complete the form! They’ll email you a voucher to pick up your free award-winning 30ml Shea Hand Cream ($12 value). Hurry! Offer ends February 20th!

https://www.facebook.com/loccitaneenprovence.canada?sk=app_284652874920067

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Thank you L’Occitane Canada!