Category Archives: Events

Skincare Saturday: First Aid Beauty

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First Aid Beauty is one of those brands that I kept meaning to try but just never got around to it. Imagine my delight when I was invited to an event at Sephora’s Toronto Eaton Centre location where the actual creator of the brand, Lilli Gordon, was going to be present! An introduction to First Aid Beauty by the creator herself? Heck yeah, I’m in!

Lilli Gordon - creator of First Aid Beauty
Lilli Gordon – creator of First Aid Beauty

The blogger event was for whoever was able to make it during the weekday at midday. I’m lucky that I work in Toronto’s downtown core, so I have easy access to the Eaton Centre at all times! About ten of us got to meet and greet with Lilli Gordon (and fawn over the cute dougnuts) in Sephora’s back room.

First Aid Beauty doughnuts
First Aid Beauty doughnuts
First Aid Beauty blogger bags
First Aid Beauty blogger bags

As per their web site: In 2009, Lilli Gordon launched First Aid Beauty (AKA FAB). Lilli, a beauty industry veteran, found herself surrounded by products that worked but felt like medicine, felt great but were not effective, or smelled wonderful but made her sensitive skin red and irritated. Lilli created First Aid Beauty to provide highly effective yet luxurious products that treat everyday beauty and skincare challenges.

First Aid Beauty products are free of harsh chemicals and known allergens, including parabens, phthalates, alcohol, fragrances and artificial dyes.

We were gifted their top three best sellers which was not only generous, but also really exciting. What better way to try out a brand than by using their number one sellers?

First Aid Beauty - Ultra Repair Cream
First Aid Beauty – Ultra Repair Cream

Let’s start with the one I haven’t used yet (I’ve got a backlog of moisturizers to get through). This dense Ultra Repair Cream has no scent and provides intense hydration for dry parched skin. As with all First Aid Beauty products, this is safe for sensitive skin. While I’ve not had the opportunity to try it out yet, I will absolutely be putting this tub to work in the winter months when my skin starts to dry out.

First Aid Beauty - Face Cleanser
First Aid Beauty – Face Cleanser

The Face Cleanser is what it says it is – a facial cleanser.  It feels very, very gentle when I use it and it doesn’t dry out my skin. I’ve been using it religiously for about two weeks or so now and I’ve not noticed a difference in my face (that’s a good thing – I don’t have bad skin) which is always a plus. It is unscented, however I will say it has one of those weird “unscented” scents. It’s a bit on the sour side which is unappealing to me, but I think I’m just a bit sensitive to stuff like that. It’s not a foul “gone off” smell, just an unscented scent, if you know what I mean.

First Aid Beauty - Radiance Pads
First Aid Beauty – Radiance Pads

The Facial Radiance Pads are the ones I’ve been using the most. They’re intended to exfoliate, tone and brighten your skin. I use them primarily after I’ve removed my makeup with oil and need to still clean up my face. These pads work wonders to remove any remaining bits of makeup and leave my skin feeling fresh. There’s even a scrubby side on one side of the pad which helps really dig into my pores to remove every last inch of makeup (I was actually surprised just how much more makeup came off my face when I started using these – I thought the oil I was using had obliterated everything!). I also don’t feel the need to use a moisturizer after using these, which probably has something to do with the fact that they don’t contain any alcohol.

So that’s my first look at First Aid Beauty products! Have you tried any of their products? Is there anything in particular you really love that you’d like to recommend to me?

This post features press samples provided for consideration.

Event: Get healthy inside & out with Dermalogica

Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero
Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero

Last week I attended the “Get healthy inside & out with Dermalogica” event at the Gladstone Hotel, and brought along my dear friend Ali (from Ali Does It Herself) who was visiting from Ottawa. As this was a skincare and healthy eating/drinking event, I thought it would suit both our interests.

Alison looks like she’s about to be in heaven.
Alison looks like she’s about to be in heaven.

As with the theme of the evening, the spread set out before us when we got there was a healthy pile of fruits and vegetables that we immediately dove into. Hey, it was dinner time!

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair Presentation
Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair Presentation

As we sat down to chomp on our food, Charmaine Cooper, Education Manager for Dermalogica Canada, stepped up to the front of the room and gave us a run down on why were here today – to talk about Dermalogica‘s brand new Overnight Retinol Repair cream. We ran through the basics of skincare and I learned a few things I didn’t know before:

  • 80% of how we age is from photoexposure (that is TERRIFYING by the way – make sure you wear sunscreen!)
  • Your age is roughly equivalent (in days) to how long it takes to notice a difference in your skin after starting a new skincare regimen. For example, I’m 32 years old – if I were to start a new skincare routine tonight, I should expect to see results in 32 days’ time.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero
Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero

The key ingredient in the Overnight Retinol Repair cream is the 0.5% microencapsulated retinol, which I believe is that highest content currently available in a retinol cream. Retinol has “demonstrated to reverse both the signs of intrinsic aging, as well as extrinsic or environmental photo-aging.” It also accelerates cell renewal, stimulates collagen production, improves epidermal thickness and increases elastin biosynthesis. (Umm yes please, I want all of those things on my face and body.)

The point of this being an overnight cream is to work on your skin while you’re sleeping and when your body is at rest. The science behind this is that your body won’t be fighting against the product (or anything for that matter) while you’re sleeping and the retinol can sink in do its job better while your skin works to regenerate and renew itself.

Ali and I playing around with the retinol and buffer creams. Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero
Ali and I playing around with the retinol and buffer creams. Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero

The Overnight Retinol Repair comes with a buffer cream to allow your skin to adapt to the solution. At first you start out with more buffer cream and less retinol, and as your skin adjusts, you start decreasing  buffer cream and adding in more retinol.

An introduction to Greenhouse Juice Co. and mixing our own concoctions.
An introduction to Greenhouse Juice Co. and mixing our own concoctions.

After we finished up the skincare with Dermalogica, we were introduced to Greenhouse Juice Co., a Toronto-based organic cold-pressed juice company that first opened its doors at 5 Macpherson Avenue in January 2014.

I’m not a juicer, or even much of a juice drinker since it’s generally a waste of calories to drink manufactured juice since it has wayyy too much added sugar. However, Greenhouse Juice Co. explained that there aren’t any additives, this was literally taking that fruit or vegetable and turning it into liquid.

Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero
Photo Credit: Mauricio Calero

After a brief intro to the company, we sampled several of their different offerings. I was intrigued – while there was a sweetness in some drinks, it was all dependent on what fruit had been added in. Overall, most of the juices were just flat out refreshing. There was no added sugar and it just tasted… healthy! Depending on the combination of fruits and/or vegetables, there were some absolutely incredible ones (that I can’t remember the names of now – argh!). I was also introduced to liquid cayenne – something I didn’t even know existed! We mixed a few of our own drinks, although we made the mistake of adding wayyy too much cayenne pepper to one that made both Ali and I feel like our mouths were on fire. In the end, I created a fairly acidic and sour combination of carrots, lemon, pineapple and apple – I loved it though. Anything that makes my mouth pucker is a good thing!

Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair
Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair

All in all, it was a interesting and informative evening, and the tie in between the skincare and the juicing was a clever way to incorporate healthy living with a good skincare routine. I’m eager to try out the Overnight Retinol Repair and see how it works for me. I’ve yet to see any real difference with any previous skincare treatments from any brand, but maybe this will be the first! Dermalogica‘s Overnight Retinol Repair retails for $110 CAD and is sold at authorized Dermalogica spa, salons and skin centers across Canada, and at Dermalogica.ca.

Event: NeoStrata + Lole (Fashion Week)

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Two weeks ago, I opted to attend a NeoStrata skincare event at the Ritz-Carlton (oooo fancy) that showcased the launch of their new SecureWhite line.

NeoStrata press set up
NeoStrata press set up

We were served drinks and appetizers while they ran us through their new line up which introduced SecureWhite, a line releasing in May 2015 that focuses on brightening up your skin’s complexion. One of their comments really struck me the most – (paraphrased) they said they want women to be the best version of themselves which means working from the skin up. It’s not as much fun to wear makeup if you’re trying to hide some of your features such as your skin, so they want to help people enjoy who they already are, just a better version of said self.

Oh hai
Oh hai

SecureWhite was designed to fill a demand from customers “for a uniform and flawlessly radiant complexion”. The fast acting products claim to produce results in two weeks (particularly that dark sports will be visibly reduced by 52%, skin tone is evened out and overall skin brightness is increased by up to 42%).

NeoStrata’s presenters
NeoStrata’s presenters

NeoStrata points out that this line is non-comedogenic, non-irritating, and paraben free. It’s a gentle line, so it’s also suitable for all skin types – more importantly, it was actually tested out on sensitive skin (so you’ve got a little more reassurance if you’ve got touchy skin).

A selection of products from NeoStrata’s SecureWhite line up
A selection of products from NeoStrata’s SecureWhite line up

Obviously, results will depend on the severity and receptiveness that your  skin has towards the products. Since I personally don’t feel that I have especially dull skin and definitely no dark spots, I passed the products on to my 63-year old mother who was more than delighted to try out the products. Despite my lack of knowledge in regards to the brand, she knew of them and was extremely pleased to be trying out products by such a highly revered brand.

Roy Thomson Hall during fashion week
Roy Thomson Hall during fashion week

As a bit of a surprise to the attendees of the NeoStrata press event, we were also invited to the Lole fashion show during Toronto’s Fashion Week. Apparently NeoStrata has teamed up with Lole as a collaborative partner for their 2015 Lole White Tour and will support them throughout their events for the year.

Attending the Lole fashion show
Attending the Lole fashion show

Having never been to fashion week before, I really didn’t know what to expect. In the end, I learned I’m really not the kind of person this is geared towards. Despite being an athletic person (Lole is yoga wear similar to Lululemon), I am not suited towards being around fashion show people. They’re all seriously well dressed (so very much not me) and all look like they could use a burger or two. Possibly five.

Lole fashion show
Lole fashion show

We were all crammed into a very hot room where we sat on benches and pretended we were fabulous. Really, we were just sweaty. It was not an experience I’d like to “enjoy” again. That being said, I was impressed enough with Lole‘s sportswear and have ordered a tank from their site to see how it’ll work out for my weightlifting or running.

How about you? Have you used NeoStrata’s products before? How about Lole? Any experience with their activewear?

Review: Miracle 10 Chemical Peel + Bloggers Word of Mouth Event

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In November I was invited to attend a blogger event at Miracle 10 in Yorkville, Toronto. I was surprised as I’m really a blogging nobody. My site is barely a year old and I can’t imagine my traffic is that high enough to warrant any kind of attention… But I was thrilled and confirmed that I’d love to attend.

Now, I’m not much of a skincare person. Oh sure, I remove my makeup, wash my face and moisturize. Every now and again I’ll use a Biore pore strip or a facial mask. But fundamentally? Skin doesn’t interest me that much. Without trying to sound too narcissistic, I think it’s because I’ve been blessed with fairly healthy skin. I very rarely get breakouts – frankly I can’t even remember the last time I even had one. Additionally, the tone and texture of my face has never bothered me as it’s predominantly smooth. Oh sure I’ve got some darkish undereye circles, but we all have those. I’ve got some redness, but whatever, so do we all. I’ve got some burgeoning wrinkles, but those also don’t perturb me. What I’m trying to say is I’ve never really cared about my skin, or had to take care of it, because it’s never needed any kind of attention outside of the ordinary.

HOWEVER, despite my apathy towards my skin and skincare, I was interested in connecting with other bloggers and perhaps learning something new. Plus there was the ever appealing offer for a rather large swag bag and the incentive of a free chemical peel.

So I went. I was nervous, and I knew no one, but I went. Thankfully, I ran into the lovely Jenn of Scarlet Beauty and we got to talking. She was so easy to speak to and it really eased up my anxiety over knowing NO ONE. I don’t suffer from social anxiety, but dear god do I hate walking into a room knowing no one where I’m expected to network my way to success. I haven’t the faintest ideas what the fuck I’m doing!

I’ve got wine in my hands, all is good.
I’ve got wine in my hands, all is good.

The event was short, but sweet. I met a few Toronto-area bloggers I already knew of, but had never met in person before (man, that was strenuous; trying to remember who owned what blog), listened to a session on fashion trends (really, REALLY not up my alley), but learned a few cute things about how to stay interesting as a blogger.

Miracle 10 Session
Miracle 10 Session

After the session, I met with one of Miracle 10’s skincare experts to held decipher what kind of skincare program I needed to be on. The rep was clearly slightly disturbed that I only washed my face once a day… Ooops. In the end, they determined my “type” and gave me a hand picked swag bag full of products geared towards Normal/Maturing skin (mmmm maturing, just what I wanted to hear).

Myself and two Jenns
Myself and two Jenns

On my way out the door, I was handed my expensive bag of goodies and instructed to book my free chemical peel.

The holidays came and went, and finally it was time for my peel. So at the beginning of January, in middle of a dumping of snow, I headed back to Miracle 10 on Scollard Street.

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Before I left, I snagged some shots of my clean face so you could see what my skin looked like prior to appointment.

Zero makeup
Zero makeup

So as you can see… freckles and moles, no breakouts, slight redness (if I’m REALLY looking) around the chin and some undereye circles.

Left side
Left side
Right side
Right side

The procedure was essentially flawless. They took me into a backroom and had me lay down on doctor’s table. The technician explained the procedure and asked me a few questions about my skin. As this was my first time having a peel done, she decided to use the mildest acid they have; lactic.

After prepping the skin, she then shaved my entire face. It’s called dermaplanning; they use a small razor to remove all the fine hairs and any excess dead skin off your face. My technician indicated to me that I had quite dry skin (no surprise there, it’s the dead of winter and I feel dry as a bone!) since she was sloughing off a lot of dry, dead cells. It’s worth noting that the razor felt like nothing. It’s barely even a tickle! She was slow and methodical about it and I never felt like I was in danger of having my face sliced open.

Inside Miracle 10
Inside Miracle 10

The lactic acid was then applied to my skin for two minutes. This *did* tingle and sting slightly, but it wasn’t painful and it’s certainly something anyone can withstand for two straight minutes. The acid was then removed gently and she asked me if there was anywhere that was still stinging. My nose was, so she gently rubbed around my nose to remove any excess.

After that, it’s basically nap time. A cooling mask was applied to my face and it was lights out for 10 minutes. Except… she left me in there way longer than 10 minutes. It was closer to 25, verging on 30. I was a little surprised, half wondering if I’d been forgotten about. But, like a true Canadian, when she came back, I didn’t say a word. 😉

The mask was washed off and a thick moisturizer was applied to my face and eye area. I was then free to go on my merry way.

One thing that struck me immediately is how naked my skin felt. Without my little baby hairs on my face, I felt like my skin was truly sensitive to exposure. What a weirdass feeling that was let me tell you!

How did it turn out? Let’s take a look.

After chemical peel
After chemical peel

There’s really no redness on my face (out of the ordinary that is). My nose is definitely pinker, but that’s because I walked home in the blistering cold. I was surprised with how much my skin did not react to the acid – I was half expecting full on Samantha Jones laser treatment hideousness.

Left side
Left side
Right side
Right side

But instead my skin looks… relatively the same. It’s perhaps slightly brighter, I mean, they did essentially take an entire layer of skin off my face between the acid and the shaving. And I noticed my moles were definitely darker (makes sense right? There’s less skin on top of the pigmentation) but that’s neither here nor there for me.

My skin remained tacky to the touch for several hours after the treatment. She had applied some intense moisture therapy cream and I never really felt like it sank in completely. More like… I still had some kind of protective barrier on my face.

At $125 a pop, this isn’t a cheap treatment. Having used the softest acid they had, I don’t feel like there’s much difference to my skin. I do wonder if  any noticeable difference would’ve been more apparent if a stronger acid had been used, or more frequent sessions. However, I’m such a rookie at these things that I didn’t really want to dive in head first with something really abrasive on my face.

I am super thankful to Miracle 10 for giving me the opportunity to check out their location, test out their products and meet tons of new people. It’s an experience that I’m very lucky to have had.

It’s almost a week later now and my skin hasn’t reacted poorly at all. It never turned red or peeled, but I never noticed a striking difference in it either.

So how about you? Have you had chemicals peels done? What kind of acid did you opt for? What was your experience?