Monday, 12 March 2012

Memories of Launching Burberry Beauty Makeup At Holt Renfrew in 2010

Makeup application without the word “make-over” is why I enjoy freelancing in Holt Renfrew, as it has created exclusivity for those who consistently seek out higher-end, prestige items laden with more designer features then those hastily plucked off a drugstore peg-wall.  Women of all ages who intently arrive at the glass door threshold welcome the effort behind the brand, loyal to Holts because holding a fuchsia shopping bag provides an important distinction: it says there’s shopping, and then there’s Holts shopping. Please don’t confuse the two.

It was unbelievably exciting for both the employees and customers to experience something new in the cosmetic and skincare department as Burberry Makeup is exclusive to Holts in Canada. Two years later it is still exciting, as someone will peek around the corner and say, “I didn’t know Burberry had makeup!”

In January of 2010, the first ad was launched with flattering close-ups on the faces of three unknown pillow-lipped young models freshly sprouting out of their iconic Burberry trench coats. Their hypnotic bedroom eyes gazed into that deep place inside you that appreciates contoured cheeks and lashes that darken in all the right places. The product was displayed with the same pristine lighting as you would see in a vodka ad.

During a brands first launch it is not unlike a new restaurant making an impression in the city. Toronto isn’t that big – a few women tell a few other women and they all get familiarized with the buzz. Some newer products do surpass the internet, as we’re still a collective in a village to some extent. I’d aspired, during my time at the counter, and off the clock to describe one facet of packaging or an aspect of product like someone delves into the latest restaurants d├ęcor and dessert. Whether I was working on a TV program doing makeup for the host and guests, or freelancing for a wedding party, (or sometimes in a nightclub bathroom) I would drop a few choice bon-mots about the Burberry makeup menu, and eventually women were reserving a chair.

Why was my makeup artist obligation to Burberry important to me? Alongside my obsession with devouring every monthly beauty and fashion magazine before “said month” even begins, and always flipping to the new and now editorial section I would begin to experience a feeling not unlike a parent seeing their child’s photo in the camp or school newsletter when I saw Burberry’s square, magnetic lipstick snapped.

I was smack in the middle of a “happening” working with the brand. Here’s my chance to be one of the first makeup artists to play with the texture and color of these fantastic pieces on women of all ages, I thought, and here’s their chance to re-discover themselves.

I remember that Burberry didn’t impose any philosophy upon me, but rather allowed the artist inside to co-create the collection’s image, as ones words are often remembered and associated with the product when the client is using it, and re-visiting the counter. I take time sharing a velvety vocabulary with my client upon presentation of the mirrored magnetic compacts of many powdered hues and tones: “soft, washes, luxurious, creamy, ready-to-wear, subtle, sexy, and natural” Like ornaments hung in the right places, I hope my words create appealing visual imagery. She nods back at her mirrored reflection listening to the language of the lipstick.

It’s the teenagers wearing the Burberry headbands and holding their iconic nova-checked wallets, spritzing “The Beat” on their friend that I hope to entice. People often forget about the importance in teenage loyalty. My job is also to make this their brand. They are the future of every emerging companies launches and want to know that it’s all available to them as well.

I am reminded of the time I was a teenager and went to the Chanel counter in Holts. Every time I opened my Chanel matchbook-sized eye-shadow (Tam-Tam #11) I invoked the visit with the salesgirl. I remember her wise tip to use my index finger to smudge the soft grey into my brow bone and how she said it was a classic match for my big blue eyes. I believe that her work as an ambassador for the brand lies in both the language and lesson, either that or I loved being told my eyes were both big and blue as both were important descriptors to make me feel pretty.

Women are waiting to know what they’re missing, waiting to be acknowledged, noticed, appreciated, loved, reminded of their favorite features. Our jobs as makeup artists and salespeople is also to raise a woman’s self-esteem and spirit. One can manage this in a most authentic way, as being around the energy and intention beautiful makeup makes this that much easier.

One can’t love something, can’t care about something to such an extent unless they believe in it.

When it comes to choosing the brands of makeup to use, I am fussy. Even more then fussy, I am particular about it living up to its name that is why I am confident to offer 10 reasons why Burberry makeup lives up to the quality of the name:

1.     The blush will smoothly grace your check with one sweep, and last the entire day.
2.     The bronzer is matt, highlights in all the right ways, and is never orange or streaky.
3.     The powder doesn’t sit in little lines and wrinkles, but it will cover minor imperfections in a few strokes, and is weightless.
4.     The sheer foundation has an SPF of 20, and doesn’t mask your skin, instead offering you the more vibrant, glowing, even-toned skin you’ve dreamed about.
5.     The lipstick comes in the groupings that an artist categorizes as the “essentials” that means, there isn’t a bad color in the bunch and on average there are 4-7 possible lipsticks for each woman’s collection that are both hydrating and long-lasting.
6.     The smokey-eye will be utilized for more years to come both for evening looks and day looks. The line offers a matching eye-shadow for each pencil and they are optimal for that desired effect.
7.     The eye-shadow colors are a mist, almost see-through and are buildable with a sheer, natural result on the eye unlike any other brand available.
8.     The mascara is not only clump and smudge-free, but a treatment to help strengthen lashes.
9.     The packaging is divine. Burberry nova- check adorns lipstick to eye-shadow, reminding you that you have purchased a prestige brand.
10.  Your makeup guarantees your “look” we always help you build with your makeup collection pieces and assist you in showing application techniques to make each application a confident one.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Taking Care of Your Skin at Night

My first Night-Time Anti-Aging Cream

When is it time to sleep with an Anti-Aging Cream?
I’ve told women in their twenties that there are magical creams out there which can heal, brighten and hydrate while they are sleeping. They’ve come back and re-purchased  the creams that gave them the results they wanted and often I’d get asked  what I used at night.  Being in my early thirties and quite oily I responded with, “I swipe on toner, eye-cream, pray and then pass out.” Only because I truly believed I didn’t need extra-hydration or anti-aging help. Sure there were wrinkles around my eyes and forehead from years of an extra-curricular night life, but what I mostly was concerned with is the heavy lotion or cream causing my sensitive skin to react and break-out.
One bottle - $100 with tax – One chance to see what the results would be.

Sure I educated myself on the ingredients – I wanted the magic to diminish my ever-burgeoning wrinkles and expression lines (which may be synonymous). I use mineral powder and SPF in the day, but I still wanted skin that was more even-toned (less concealing work for me). What I mostly wanted was to have a real test to examine the efficacy of ingredients (peptides) that I research non-stop.

Jouviance EcoRejuvenation Anti-Aging Cream was my choice. It’s a Canadian company, great ingredients and very ethical.  It came in both jar and a slender white pump for normal to oily skin.  I opted for the pump as I’m oily, and proud to say it.
After only a few nights my skin became smoother and less “sun-damaged and weather-worn.”  There were noticeable differences in only a week of sleeping with the cream, and I found myself creeping into bed earlier at night just as an excuse to slather on a nice dose from the beautifully packaged white pump on my face and neck.
Really good for those who always ask me, “how long before I start to see results?”
I sleep, the cream soaks into my skin and when I wake up my skin doesn’t look tired or feel rough. I still eat the same and get 7 hours of nightmare-free R.E.M,, but there’s no changing how I feel. A woman gets to a point where she requires some really repairing ingredients. 

What it is comprised of:

Omega 3 & 6 – (found in my other frequently recommended cream Biotherm’s Aquasource Biosensitive as it has:  vegetal omegas 3 and 6 extracted from apricot kernels, blackcurrant, rice bran, echium and sesame seeds.)^F1_VIS_MOISTURE^F2_VIS_MOISTURE_Cream&

Capital “P” Peptides!
I can now say that I’m at the right age to begin using a peptide (mid-30’s) and I’m happy that I found a product that is affordable that has one as recognized as Matrixyl (part of the Pentapeptide 3 family)
Matrixyl: This patented penta-peptide was the first of its kind proven through clinical research to significantly reduce the appearance (length, depth and width) of wrinkles by boosting collagen and hyaluronic acid production, thereby increasing firmness and elasticity for younger-looking skin.
and the other sister to the  Oligopeptide family Dermaxyl:
Dermaxyl: Dermaxyl contains a patented anti-wrinkle ingredient called Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, that stimulates communication between cells, in turn helping “repair cells” to more easily focus on specific areas of the skin that are damaged. Research has shown that Palmitoyl Oligopeptide can increase collagen and elastin, thereby stimulating healthier-looking skin through its ability to decrease the depth and volume of wrinkles.

Key transformative (magical) ingredients which make for a fantastic night cream and lotion possibilities:

For Dry Skin:
Shea butter: helps cell regeneration, hydration
Cacao Seed Butter:
skin conditioning, good for dry/flakey & dehydrated skin
(Sweet) Almond Oil
: moisturizing, balancing
Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow Root extract): increases moisture
Oleic Acid:
Softens skin, moisturize
Wheat Germ Glycerides:
Softening, provides skin with linolenic fatty acids
For Age/Sun spots:
Vitamin E : reduces UV damage
Soybean:  reduces UV damage
Grapeseed oil : reduces UV damage
Licorice Root Extract : temporary blocks tyrosinase & enzyme responsible for the skins pigmentation process.
Goji Berry : evens out skin tone
Ellagic Acid/Pomegranate : helps reduce UV damage and hyper-pigmentation
Olive Leaf Extract : repairs skin damage caused by UV radiation
For Red, Rashy, Inflamed and Irritated Skin:

helps damaged skin
soothes damaged skin, regenerates skin cells, anti-inflammatory
Rosehip Seed Oil:
damaged & distressed skin
reduces inflammation
Borage Seed Oil: anti-inflammatory
Moriga Pterygosperma Seed Extract:
anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
Artemisia Capillaris Flower Extract (Mugwort):
calming, decreases redness, repairing
: anti-irritant, soothing
Yucca Extract:

 For Skin that has seen better days:
Avocado Oil: increases collagen, moisturizes
Peptides: reduces appearance (length, depth & width) of wrinkles by boosting collagen & hyaluronic acid production.
Soybean Oil: stimulates collagen production
Pomegranate: stimulates collagen production
Ginko Biloba: stimulates collagen production
Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate): stimulates collagen production, accelerates cell renewal, reduces UV-induced wrinkle formation.
Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid): trigger collagen production, enhances skin repair

Monday, 9 May 2011

Keeping your lips Foxy not Flakey

Exfoliating, Protecting, Moisturizing…all the things a girl can do to kick up her kisser

If you own beautiful creamy satin-finish lipstick and a matching liner that brings your lips to an entirely new level of glamour elevating your mood no matter what your hair thinks it’s going to do to your day – you need to know about lip love.  The love starts with the nightly maintenance in achieving perfectly, soft lips with no flakey dry tight areas. It’s amazing how different our lips feel after some attention and pampering and it only takes a weekly scrub and nightly saturation of natural emollients such as cocoa seed butter, beeswax and castor seed oil (a great humectant!)

Become aware of those tricky lipsticks that somehow don’t feel right on your lips – be sensitive to the ones that make your lips feel dry after using, or tighten and pull your lips. It may be that you are allergic to an ingredient or by getting rid of them make space for one fabulous power color.

Smooth Operator Scrub for you on the cheap!

You will need:

Honey (hydrating, anti-bacterial)
Raw, Brown, or White Sugar (abrasive enough to slough off, sweet enough to keep on)
A Natural Oil from the health food store (around $6) eg: Jojoba oil, Grapeseed oil, Apricot Kernel oil, Sweet Almond oil, …..or if you don’t want to trek to Noah’s use Olive Oil.
Little mixing bowl and spoon
Extra-Soft Baby or Kid’s toothbrush

Mix ingredients in lil’ bowl and place a damp face-cloth on your kisser holding it there for 30-45 sec.
Start with a small amount on the toothbrush and then work in as much as you need on lips using soft, gentle circular motions. After you’ve lovingly scrubbed away take the damp cloth and wipe off. Follow with your favorite lip balm.

Lip balms to Love:

ROC: If I had a loonie for everytime I sold someone one of these I could buy a flatscreen.  You will end up carrying in your  purse, gym bag, backpack, and panic when it’s not around.  Not only is it smooth (must be the jojoba and shea butter) and calming (bisabolol), but you can apply lipstick and lipliner on top without it sliding off. Never feels greasy and if you sleep with it you’ll awaken with angelically soft lips every time


Blistex: Get ready for a thoroughly conditioning product which guarantees repair on every level from our windy cold weather, over-drying lip-stains and  on-the-go lifestyle that somehow has us forgetting to baby our lips proper. Using beeswax and castor seed oil it’s thick yellow consistency needs only to be applied once and you’re good to hit the pillow or highway.

MAC: It doesn’t have to be some fancy-shmancy metallic rainbow eyeshadow for someone to associate with MAC, as they’ve perfected the basics and truly you can’t get anymore basic then lip conditioners. These two work well under-lipliner or lipstick.
I give a nod to their usage of natural emollients s such as shea butter, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, wheat germ oil and vitamin E and C. There’s something wonderful about having an SPF in a tinted-lipbalm, as it saves you time from having to put a lipstick on top.

Lip Conditioner (no color)

Tinted Lip Conditioner  (SPF 15) in “Petting Pink”

     Lip Exfoliating products :

Philosophy: This little pink tube of natural lip goodness will not only relieve your chapped, flakey, dry and “in much need of exfoliation” lips, but will add moisture using natural conditioning emollient oils such as: avocado, sweet almond and sesame seed oil with my two faves shea and mango seed butter. The taste is peppermint, and the product is nicely priced.

Kiss Me Exfoliating Lip Scrub

Smashbox: The black particles are actually poppy seeds as this minty scrub uses the same natural ingredients as Philosophy’s adding Aloe and Beeswax to the mix. Try it in the store to see if you like the texture and smell as it’s becoming one of my standard staples.

Emulsion Lip Exfoliant

Monday, 2 May 2011

Sunburn on face and Body – Products to soothe and help you in after-sun care

You’re Burned – now what?

Picture it: Wasaga Beach. The first hot day of the summer and you’re distracted by bikini maintenance and planning the picnic. Coming home you’re afraid to take off your sunglasses and look at your red-hot skin. You’ve been burned before, promising yourself that never again will you be swindled, surprised and taken from behind by the gruesome ball of fire that finds any means necessary to attack your exposed flesh that somehow missed the half-assed sunscreen slathering or spraying. Something about setting up camp, going swimming, eating, volleyball, doing more splashing around makes a girl forget about re-application.


You didn't put sunscreen on at all because it was a semi-cloudy day…wasn't it? It was a crummy, cloudy day until that surreal, fantastical point when you were ridiculously gleeful at the sight of the sun – as so many say, that wondrous orb of light and energy that never hurts us, no way! for sure after what wintery hell you've endured in Canada…the snow, slush, sleet, making it's salt-stained statement on your boot. The snow is evil, the sun is a saint – you muse. Now girl, here’s the sun's statement via it's little ray henchmen UVA and UVB biting Blondie’s style:  “One way or another, I’m gonna find you I’m gonna getchoo getchoo getchoo!”

Once you get home to search for the ancient bottle of aloe Vera gel (still that classic neon-green color) you find nothing other then a tub of greasy body butter cream. Remember: If you put a dollop of a greasy cream on your freshly burned skin, it’s going to sizzle like butter on a hot skillet. As these generic products can trap the heat and should be avoided.

Sunburn damage control

It’s true that aloe Vera right from the pure source of the plant is a natural way to soothe and heal a nasty sunburn, but it’s also true that you can get access to 98% pure aloe vera gel at the health food store on your way home from the beach and pick up some Asprin too.

 JASON Naturals: Here’s a great line that you can pick up at a health food store like Whole Foods in Yorkville (they stock 2 sizes) and Your Good Health Store (in every major mall).  Most health-food stores will carry a pure aloe Vera gel that doesn’t resemble the color of the nuclear waste from The Simpsons. This is one example of the goods:

Jason Naturals 98% Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel

For those who feel sun-exposed, but didn’t get lobster-burned:

There’s also products offered in sparkly soft-smelling lotions that are great if you are outdoors on a mildly sunny day (wearing sunscreen top of head to tippy-toes of course as you are brilliantly clever and oh-so-sun-savvy!) and these products are a luxury to have around for trips and occasions where you were sunned without the hot-cross-buns.

Biotherm: Their Oligo-thermal milk and creams are rehydrating and use Shea butter alongside Vitamin E. Awesome texture and performance.

After Sun Body Milk 

Burts Bees: A very popular natural product line that has many hidden gems like this one. This product uses ingredients that help heal hot sun-exposed skin like: aloe barbadensis leaf juice, bisabolol, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, and Linden extract which soothes skin.
Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother

H20+:  Pull out this fast-absorbing, incredible feeling and smelling cream and you will be in heaven. It’s great for sensitive skin as it’s 98% natural and botanical using Sea Lavender Oil which is amazing for after-sun, Shea Butter that is habitually utilized for moisturizing properties, and jojoba.

Sea Pure Replenishing Body Cream