Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Self Tanning - "How To" and Product Recommendations

Sunless Tanning Tips & Product Recommendations

It’s encouraging to know that all the beauty companies are accommodating our need to match the skin tone of a Thanksgiving Turkey, cause that turkey does look sexy-hot on a platter. We hope to garnish ourselves with floral skirts, and citrus lips serving ourselves up on the patio’s of Toronto, only to see that we aren’t the only turkeys on the town. True, that little bit of fake tan does more for a pale girls self-esteem than false eyelashes, extensions and a manicure ever will (drinks on the house not included). Look at me world! you muse to yourself after perfecting the fake-tan, I just got back from St. Barts and perhaps tomorrow I’ll head on over to the French Rivera after scrutinizing over my potential streak areas one more time…

So are you itching to get your fake-tan on?

Itch away my dutiful denizens of the drugstore – I’ll help you out with a quick questionnaire to help determine if you are destined to be a DJ Tanner:

©   Do you up-keep and maintain your mani and pedi?

Do you already maintain your hair-color?

Do you maintain and upkeep a shaving or waxing & plucking routine?

Do you enjoy daily upkeep and maintenance of multiple beauty routines alongside shopping, cooking, cleaning, prepping, sweating, running, driving, texting, working and breathing?

If you answered yes to all or a few – pack your bags (another thing to do…) you’re on your way to Turks & Caicos But first let’s pull up that pant-leg and examine the tone we’re working towards.

Please don’t decide you want to be beach-bunny brown the day of the first summer season outdoor fancy-dress event. Expecting a perfect fake-bake tan the very same day you want to party it up is going to get you pretty desperate and that road only leads to Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs in “Tan Glow”. So slow down sister and put down the spray.

Planning 1 week ahead of the Self-Tanner purchase:

Got my back? Text, Facebook, or bribe someone to be there to do your back (aren’t you glad you have a drawer full of 2 buck Tim Cards and perfume samples?) Here’s where it’s really good to plan a week ahead, as there’s something fun about the hung-over friend enduring you hiss, “evenly now…watch for streaks!”

Exfoliating – 4 days prior to browning your buns, every time you use that perfect scrub on that mitt or loofah think about targeting your rougher areas, knees, elbows, ankles, heels…but don’t over-scrub, make like Prince William and be thorough and gentle for the first few days.

Moisturize – 3 days prior to caramelizing your cute self.  Day and night cover entire body area with one of your favorite kinds.

Shaving – do it 2 days prior to slathering yourself in your fake-tan.

Vaseline – buy some. This will be used around your hairline and on eyebrows to prevent unwanted coloring if you want to do your face.

Is your bathroom steamy? Run out of there! Apply tanner in any room that doesn’t feel like a sauna. Make sure your skin is totally dry. Some say to put on moisturizer pre-self tanner but it depends on the oils interfering in the moisturizer with the product. Be your own judge on this one.

Hands – Have a sudsy nail brush ready and frequently wash during the process. Baby wipes are “handy” too.

Application – Instead of focusing on rubbing it all the way in, focus more on doing a nice even application. Some say you should mix self-tanner with moisturizer on those patchy areas like knees, elbows, heels, ankles – again you decide what you’d like to do.

Streaks – in 2-3 hours you should be able to start seeing the tan. If there’s streaks in any area try using lemon juice.

Re-Tan - After 3-4 days or showers (whichever comes first depending on where you work, who you know, and how much you liked the person who did your back) is when your fake-tan needs your love.

Upkeep – moisturize daily, and clearly after 3 weeks of doing this entire self-tanning process almost 7 times you will be rooting around in your orange-stained pile of laundry for your jeans where you remembered writing down a website for cheap flights to Maui on the cocktail napkin from yet another blacked out binge-drinking night.

Exfoliation for the Nation

Some of the sugar scrubs are chock full o’ oils which can leave small, but affective enough amount of residue on your body which can interfere with the performance potential of your sunless-tanner. You may want to choose a more natural scrub offering a clean sweep on the body eliminating oily residues. I have learned that apricot kernel and other jagged, natural scrubs are too abrasive on the body, but I’ll leave that up for you and your puffy loofah to decide what types of scrubs suit you.

Indulgence Scrubs:

Vichy:  This is not just for dry skin, it’s for someone who needs two sizes of exfoliating beads and wants serious exfoliation prior to fake-tanning. The smell is mild and it’s incredibly addictive and moisturizing.

Vichy Lipidose Nutritive Exfoliant Body Scrub

H2O: If you go to the Eaton Center’s location talk to Gilda – she’s been there for 18 years and won’t lie to you about products. Here’s the one that she claims is perfect for prepping skin for self- tanning time as it has Aloe Vera, Pro-vitamin B, Apricot Seed Powder and their patented hydrating marine blend.  This is the one to use over the Spa Sea Salt Skin Smoother in the tub, because that has Sweet Almond Oil which interferes with the self-tanning process.

Spa Sea Salt Foaming Body Polish

Clinique: I asked those selected from different department counters the popular and effective scrub pre-self tanning and this one came up many times giving me confidence that it is a good choice.  

Sparkling Skin Body Exfoliating Cream

Budget Scrubs:

Aveeno: Here’s a brand that is affordable and delicious smelling without that phony fruit sickly sweet overtone found in some of the cheapy-cheap brands. It lives up to the Aveeno name as the natural smoothing aspects of both walnut shell and rice beads have your skin baby soft ready for self-tanning magic.

Aveeno Smoothing Body Wash with Rice and Pomegranate

Kibio:  For those who do appreciate organic products this one will be a gift for you. It’s not only affordable but contains Shea Butter, Cranberry Seeds and Lemongrass (revitalizing!) for a trifecta to exfoliate and eliminate dead skin cells.

Exfoliating Body Scrub


Get a deep, darker color:

Clarins: Old-timers and Newbies both know this product as a stable, sensible self-tanning choice. Here are two options to choose from that have a great rep.

Delicious Self-Tanning Cream

Self Tanning Instant Gel

Neostrata: A Canadian brand for those patriotic enough to hug Bonhomme but don’t want to look like him. With their reasonable price-point and industry respect, here’s one that cosmetic managers swear by. Good for a uniform application that is appropriate for all skin types. Contains the highest available DHA of 6.5%  - tan will deepen after a few hours post-application.

Natural Insta-Tan Self Tanner

L’Oreal: There’s a few products that women scramble to buy in the seasonal section. This is the top one. If the drugstore carries it, the time will begin around mid-April and it’s pulled off the shelf as soon as the back to school notebooks go up in August. Stock up on this sweetly priced winner – you won’t regret it.  

Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Line

LORACHere is a newbie on the block getting great buzz because of positive points like it’s transfer-resistant, gradual, long-lasting and very moisturizing with a vanilla scent.


One to mention that is Organic and for the more pale-skin toned:

Josie Maran: 70% Organic, 100% natural, Fragrance-Free and highly recommended. Dry and de-hydrated skinned gals -  If you’re a trend spotter you’ll know that Argan Oil is the magic ingredient behind the “Moroccan Oil” products due to its incredibly moisturizing properties and ability to keep skin soft. You can use this safely on your face as it’s free of Parabens, synthetic dyes, and petrochemicals.

Argan Self Tanning Cream

Specifically for Sensitive Pale Skin

La Roche Posay: Sensitive gals take note – this you can handle. It’s easy to use and dries quickly.

Autohelios Gel-Creme

Pur Mineral: Here’s a fabulous line which is offering a product that has ingredients to hydrate your skin such as Grape Seed Extract, Aloe, and Hyaluronic Acid. It won’t streak, clog pores, and dries quickly with a nice citrus scent.

Get a Little Luxurious Self-Tanning Lotion

First Choice for the Face:

Clinique:  For a natural tan that develops in 1-2 hours. As with your body, the rules apply to your face. There are gentle scrubs out there for exfoliation – just make sure you are using a scrub you are already familiar with. I don’t discourage you from mixing it with your moisturizer – you decide what works best for you.

Self Sun Face tinted lotion

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Sunscreens for Body and Face

Sunscreens for Body & Face

I’ll never forget the face of a fair-skinned woman in her late 30’s who came back from her tropical vacation the color of a Swiss Chalet quarter chicken, and how it shocked me to see after years of working in the beauty industry someone who actually went away and sun-tanned their face and body. This experience was as rare as seeing a Unicorn at 4pm, as most of my years were spent dutifully preaching sun-skincare advice in a gentle tone placing sparkly and matt bronzers in front of young girls seeking a Miami Beach sun-kissed glow. How could I feign sun ignorance surrounded by makeup artists and skincare experts who knew pale was the new tan before Madonna? 

There’s no better lesson for sun protection then working in the cosmetics department summer after summer season (all 3 months of it...sigh...)  and having women in their forties and fifties show me sun-spots, wrinkles and moles that they knew may be potential for malignant melanoma, now stocking up on the SPF 60 lotions they wished they knew to purchase 20 years ago.

That being said, if you want to know the present-day pricing of removing sun/age spots on your face here is is:
 3  Laser Genesis or Photorejuvenation sessions at a popular Toronto laser clinic will set you back $624 (before HST) and 6 sessions (which may or may not remove all the sun damage) is $1,248.  I believe the “big guns” are the 2D sessions (wrinkle removal also) and three will cost you $1072.

I am mostly concerned with helping you keeping an image of your future self’s skin in mind. Hold this picture in your memory when you can’t make the time (15 – 30 min) before going out into the sun to apply sunscreen on your face and body. Hold your future hand carefully...

“Up to 90% of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun” skincancer.org

Again it’s the UVA rays that penetrate deep into our skin causing the long-term damage of wrinkles, age-spots, and sagging skin.

80% of skin cancer is detected in the areas of our bodies that are regularly exposed to the sun (face, neck, forearms, back of hands).

I hope you never have to say these three types of skin cancer out loud:

Basil Cell Skin Cancer:

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the prime cause of this skin cancer. Frequent severe sunburns and intense sun exposure in childhood increase the risk of basal cell skin cancer in adulthood.

Squamous Cell Skin Cancer:

Frequent sun exposure is the leading cause of this disease. However, people whose immune systems are suppressed through taking anti-rejection drugs face a higher risk for this disease.
Malignant Melanoma:

Excessive sun exposure plays a leading role in the development of this type of skin cancer. Severe, blistering sunburns especially in childhood are thought to play an initiating role. However, recent research shows that sunburns at any time during life can also increase the risk.

Here are products you can grab from any drugstore that offer the important UVA filters (Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Avobenzone, and Mexoryl). If the product you have doesn’t list one as an ingredient then toss it – why use something that isn’t going to protect you from UVA rays?

Ultraviolet B rays (UVB) are the second most damaging to our skin. They are the main cause of sunburns as they are nearly 1000 times stronger than UVA rays. This is easy to remember: UVB – B for Burn.

Expiration Date:
Also…anything with a sunscreen it has an expiration date (not unlike some sandal trends) so check your half-empty foundation bottles alongside face moisturizers and sun-screens for the face to see if you need to replace them.

Your personal criteria and requirements for a sunscreen may be different then mine but this is a good checklist to start with:

ü  Light Silky Finish
ü  Tested on Sensitive Skin (derm-tested, non-comodegenic) if that is a concern for you.
ü  Photostable/Long-Lasting Protection
ü  Fragrance-Free
ü  Paba-Free
ü  Water/Sweat Resistant (as realistically everyone should re-apply sunscreen after splashing around in water)

La Roche Posay: You can feel definitely secure using this line as they are still the number one dermatological line in Canada. Their sunscreen products protect you from UVA/UVB using the triple threat of Avobenzone, Titanium Dioxide and Mexoryl.

Anthelios SPF 30 - 60 

Ombrelle: Another L’Oreal brand that is also recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association as it also uses Titanium Dioxide, Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and Mexoryl SX to protect from UVA rays. It is at a cheaper price point then La Roche Posay, and comes in a variety to suit your sunny day needs. Most of them are fragrance-free, paba-free, non-greasy and water-resistant but again – you decide which one makes you happier.

Aveeno:  blocks the UV rays with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and is fragrance-free and non-comedogendic for sensitive skin types. They truly are waterproof and non-greasy and use Avobenzone.

SPF 30 – 60 (Sprays, Lotions, and more)

LifeBrand Sunthera 3: The price is low, and it’s a recognized sunscreen using Avobenzone and Titanium Dioxide.
SPF 15 – 60

Here’s a list of recognized sunscreens from the Canadian Dermatology Association:

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Foundations with SPF

Foundations With SPF


Clarins: I am going to say that the texture and quality of their foundations are insanely gorgeous, and I would list all of them but I don’t want to play favorites. I will say that they have titanium dioxide and are very comfortable to wear even in hotter temperatures. All are derm tested and non-comodegenic.

Truly Matt Foundation SPF 15 (combo/oily skin)

Everlasting Foundation SPF 15 (15 hr hold, all skin types except oily, med-full coverage)

Dior: They have a few different types of liquid and powder foundations, but I wanted to favor those oily-skin, sensitive gals seeking a long-lasting choice for the sunnier days.

Very Oily, Oily, Combo with Oily T-zone: Here’s your perfect summer foundation that dries quickly (note when blending) and is very matt with minimal touch-ups. It’s waterproof to boot so take note when you are removing it at the end of the day.

DiorSkin Forever Extreme Wear Flawless Makeup SPF 25

Clinique: Using Titanium dioxide here is an affordable and popular foundation choice. It has med/buildable coverage that has a dewy finish, but that shouldn’t deter those with slightly oily skin as you won’t break out.
It comes in over 20 shades and is fragrance-free.

Even Better Makeup SPF 15 (all skin types)

Cream Compacts

Avene: Here’s a cream foundation that has titanium dioxide (100% mineral, chemical filter-free sunscreen) and vitamin E perfect for those who are super-sensitive. It’s similar to the Revlon cream foundation compacts and can be spread thinly over a primer. Not recommended for those with very oily skin. 

High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 (Beige or Honey)

Clinique: Here’s another cream to powder foundation choice that gives fast, quick cover-up or full-coverage using titanium dioxide. It has a matt finish and comes in 11 shades.

City Base Compact Foundation SPF 15 (Normal to Combo)