How to Wear Sunscreen Properly…

Did you know that wearing sunscreen is almost an art?  There are so many rules and so much information out there on how to apply them correctly that it is probably much easier to grab a bottle of your favourite protector, slather it on your skin and hope that you’re doing it right.  Does this sound like you?  If so, fear not!  I am going to distill everything I’ve learned (and I am still learning!) into as few words as possible to keep things simple and easy to remember.

What is SPF, and is the highest grade the best?

SPF = sun protection factor.  SPF 30 doesn’t mean that it’s twice as powerful as an SPF 15, it simply means that you will be able to have a longer amount of time in the sun before burning and having to reapply sunscreen.  Thus, if it takes about 10 minutes for your skin to burn without sunscreen, and you apply an SPF of 15, you will be able to stay out in the sun for 150 minutes before burning (that’s 300 minutes for SPF 30).  So you could say it provides twice the time, but not the blockage power.  The blockage power does improve a bit in the higher grades, but it is more effective and important that you apply the proper amount, and reapply it as needed.

Which SPF grade should I use then?

Most dermatologists recommend SPF 30 for everyday use and SPF 50+ for outdoor activities.  Make sure that the sunscreen is labelled broad-spectrum –this means it blocks out most UVA rays.  No matter how high the SPF in your cream is, you must apply it every two hours if you are under the sun all day, because sunscreen will get rubbed, washed or sweated off.

How long does a sunscreen protect you from burning (if applied correctly)?

Minutes it takes to burn without sunscreen x SPF number of your sunscreen = maximum sun exposure time  *Note that most people apply less than the needed amount of sunscreen, and that this will affect the time it takes for your skin to burn.

It’s an overcast day, why do I need to still apply sunscreen?

Two types of sun rays reach the earth: UVB, and UVA.  UVB causes immediate damage to the skin, aka burning/tanning.  UVA rays age your skin and up to 80% can pass through clouds, smog, and glass.  Save yourself the trouble and expense of age-reversing creams later on, and slather on that concoction that most of us think is only for the hot sunny weather.

What’s the difference between a chemical sunscreen and a physical sunscreen, and how does this fit into my beauty routine; do I put it on before or after moisturising/makeup?

Chemical sunscreens have active ingredients that need time to bind to the skin in order to activate.  So if you use chemical sunscreens with UV filters such as mexoryl, oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octocrylene, make sure you apply sunscreen before your moisturiser/makeup routine.  Otherwise, you are preventing the chemical reaction and the sunscreen from working the way they should.  Reapplication of sunscreen during the day should not be affected too much, as the moisturiser will have had time to sink in or wear off.

Physical sunscreens contain titanimum dioxide and zinc oxide.  These minerals form a shield on your skin so that the sun’s rays will be deflected from your skin.  This means that they don’t need to be applied in advance, and they don’t necessarily need to be applied before your moisturiser.  Keep in mind that your moisturiser(s)/foundation/etc. may have ingredients that will dilute your sunscreen and make it less effective.  In my opinion, it is always best to apply sunscreen first, and after applying your skincare routine, to make touch-ups with your sunscreen.

The order of application for skincare products is usually from thinnest to thickest.  I happen to use two natural sunscreens from Josie Maran and tarte that are less thick in consistency than the standard sunscreen.  Therefore, I would apply them first before any other skincare products.  The type of sunscreen you use, and its consistency in relation to your skincare routine should dictate which should be applied first.

How much sunscreen is the proper amount?

The technical answer is about two milligrams for every square centimeter of skin, and half a teaspoon for the face.  If you use a lotion, a quarter-sized dollop on every single body part should suffice.  For sticks, two passes back and forth or four layers total.  With a spray, the can should be held an inch or so away and sprayed until the skin glistens; then, rub it in.

You don’t have to apply sunscreen in the areas that are covered by clothing, right?

Short answer — yes, you do.  Hold the garment(s) in question up to the light.  If you can see through the fabric even the teeniest, tiniest bit, it’s not protecting you.  Rub that sunscreen in!

Done, done, and done.  I’m ready to deflect those rays!

Not. So. Fast.  Sunscreen is an important part of your arsenal, but you shouldn’t rely on it alone.  Wear hats, use parasols (I have done this!), and walk on the shadier side of the street.  And of course, the Mexicans were onto something with their siestas.  The midday sun’s rays are the most intense.

***

In 2012, I came across Josie Maran’s SPF 30+ argan sunscreen and fell in love. It lasted me for four wonderful years mostly because I used to be pretty bad at applying sunscreen every day.  By the time I learned how to make it a regular thing, an eighth of the bottle was left and starting to … errm, congeal and lose its texture and consistency.  I finally decided to hop onto Sephora’s website (it was never available in Canadian stores) and buy another bottle, but they no longer sold it.  Neither did Josie Maran’s website.  I panicked.  Panicking is proper procedure when you lose a beauty staple, is it not?  I finally decided to try out another product from Josie Maran, and one by tarte cosmetics.  In the picture, you will see that the Josie Maran argan sunscreen’s texture looks dodgy — see this post for its original, glorious consistency.
Natural Sunscreens 2016

After using my two new sunscreens, I can honestly say that I won’t miss my old standby too much.  Here are my thoughts:

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturiser SPF 47

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Phthalates

Consistency is incredibly liquid.  The light formula rubs in easily and is not greasy.  Has a pleasant, soft, natural smell and does not have the heavy, white look of the original Josie Maran sunscreen.  It is also a moisturiser which rather takes out the dilemma of applying moisturiser/sunscreen first.  Skin feels hydrated, and I cannot tell that I have sunscreen on.  This is a bonus in my man’s eyes, because the previous formulation on my legs meant that my seat in the car became chalky white every summer.

tarte’s tarteguard 30 sunscreen lotion SPF 30

Does not have:

– Parabens
– Phthalates

Also a moisturising lotion, its consistency is firmer, but still liquid.  Blends into skin easily, isn’t greasy, and does not leave a visual trace.  However, when I run my hand over the skin, it feels stickier than the one that has Josie Maran’s formula on.  Has a soft, sweet floral scent that may make some people feel queasy.  The bottle is very heavy, and it is hard to tell whether there is more packaging than there is sunscreen.

The competition is fierce but close between these two, and Josie Maran’s has the slight edge for me because the packaging is clearer in terms of showing how much product is left, the formula seems lighter, the SPF is higher, and the scent is less obtrusive.  In terms of price, Josie Maran also wins.  A 2 oz. bottle costs $32, whereas tarte’s 1.7 oz. bottle costs $38.

I recommend these two, especially if you are in the market for sunscreens with natural ingredients, but my top pick is absolutely Josie Maran’s.

Keep cool, covered (in sunscreen) and enjoy your sunny days!

How to Get Fit, Inside and Out…

Lately, my friend Amy and I have somewhat merged our fitness journeys, which includes doing workouts together while video chatting, and sharing our healthy choices in meal planning, as well as keeping each other motivated and (more or less!) on track.  It’s all been so inspiring, because fitness isn’t something to achieve, necessarily.  It’s something to maintain and better every day –a daily habit, and one which we’ve been working on for a few months now and still going strong!  So today, I wanted to share a few ways on how to get fit and stay fit, inside and out.

Work Out Outfit

Find and incorporate a fitness program that you like and that suits your lifestyle.  For me, a combination of Ballet Beautiful and Sleek Technique works best, although I do not do their live classes very often as I find their programs a bit expensive with the exchange rate.  Also, BB has –perhaps temporarily– taken out the option of streaming classes online.  Why do I do ballet inspired workouts?  For me, boot-camp style workouts are not motivating, and are often overwhelming.  The sense of calm and peace during a workout is very important to me, and the goal of most ballet fitness programs are to achieve long, lean lines while working out muscles that people who do not dance would not necessarily use.  I like that, and that is why these programs work for me!

Look at your beauty products.  I sincerely believe that the less you use, the better for you.  “Easy for you!” some people say.  “You don’t deal with pimples or skin problems on a regular basis,”  This is true to an extent: I do get pimples occasionally, dry skin quite often, and even more frequently, there are days when I just feel dull and blah.  I find that simply making sure that my skin is clean and fresh, and pampering my hair or styling it is enough to blow away my discontent with my appearance.  If you can, figure out whether you are using cosmetics to enhance your features, or as a crutch.  Don’t let it be the latter!!  And if you do use makeup, look into natural, organic beauty lines.  These companies have come a long way and limited palettes are no longer a mark against going organic.

A few of my favourites are Josie Maran (I love her sunscreens!), Tata Harper, Belmondo, Weleda (try their deodorants!), Burts BeesRocky Mountain Soap Company, Wild Prairie Soap Company.  You can also check how ‘green’ your favourite products are with EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database!  Another tip that I’ve learned is that even though you’ve done research on a company and trust them, you should always do a follow-up research after a few years.  New products are added, and sometimes this means new ingredients that may not be up to the level of quality you’ve come to expect from the brand.

Beauty isn’t the only area where you can go clean and live green!  Items from household cleaning liquids to hand soaps have greener cousins –look for those products, and enjoy a well-rounded eco-conscious life!

Natural Favourites

Get into the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day.  It seems mundane and obvious, but drinking water increases energy and speeds up weight loss.  Squeeze fresh lemon juice into your glass to add some flavour –plus lemon water does wonders for your skin!  Just be sure you don’t brush your teeth immediately afterwards!

Eat antioxidant-rich foods such as tomatoes, cantaloupes, berries, oranges (Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles) and plums.  This is especially fantastic for the warmer weather months, as they are so refreshing.

Change your snacking habits!  Snack on almonds, walnuts (which contain alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps condition your hair –think supermodel shiny!), raisins, and ‘dipping vegetables’.

Eat broccoli.  It’s a great source of vitamin A which helps improve cell turn-over, which means that skin renewal is much quicker, too!

Eat whole wheat.  Selenium found in whole wheat products helps improve skin cells.

Eat lean red meat and eggs for their iron-rich qualities –iron will help if you’re feeling pale or have dark circles under your eyes.

Eat lots of fish.  So yummy, and so good for you!  I recently became a part-time pescatarian, and it’s made me feel a great deal better.  I do still enjoy the occasional steak, though.  😉

Take time to sleep, relax, catch up with and be good to yourself.  Reading, taking walks, reflection, and making time for even a movie and a cup of tea will help re-center and energise you.

Miss Cathie Reviews [Beauty]: Feather & Bone Face Gems…

Alright, readers.  Time for a review — Feather & Bone’s Face Gems!  The amazing people behind this company kindly sent along a few samples for me to try, so I’m here to share my thoughts with the obligatory face shots that such products usually entail, so I do ask that you be kind.  😉

Feather and Bone Face Gems are face cleansers based on natural ingredients, and are meant to be an all-in-one skincare routine, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise, all in one tiny tablet.  Sounds impressive right?
Note to tablet:  There’s a lot resting on your shoulders, little one.

Trying out my @feather.bone face gems this morning! Love it. #natural #face #beauty #Ayurveda #skincare

A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

 

They come in these little ‘popsicle stick’ blister packages.  You pop the tablet out, mix a bit of water, and apply the paste in massaging motions to your face.  (Proper instructions will follow below!)  I’m not sure why the packaging is what it is, though.  It’s not like I would scoop the paste up with the packaging afterwards –that’s not very hygienic or gentle on the face!  I think it would be more environmentally friendly and make more sense for the one stick to simply hold, say, five tablets altogether, and you just pop what you need.  Packaging aside, I had fun mixing water with the tablet and turning it into a spreadable paste.  There was an element of mud-pie making there, definitely.  The echoes of my two-year-old self were glorying in squishing around the tablet until it turned into ‘dirt’, and I was applying the mixture onto my face with un-adult-like glee.  Who knew being natural could be so enjoyable… please tell me it’s not just me!

All gem-ified with @feather.bone! #naturalskincare #face #beauty #Ayurveda A photo posted by Cathie Maud (@cathiemaud) on

 

 My adult side resurfaced just before I applied the paste to my face.  I sniffed the paste delicately, because it needs to smell nice if it’s going on my face!  The face gem smelled slightly herbal, spicy, and earthy.  The ingredients are sandalwood (cleanser), Fuller’s earth (exfoliator), and starch (moisturiser)… simple, natural, and fresh-smelling.  It came off easily when I rinsed my face, and behold you see me in my post-face gem ‘glory’ below:

I noticed that my face seemed moisturised after rinsing — as if I had taken a few drops of argan oil and worked it into my skin –a very nice feeling.  I’m blessed in that my facial skin is smooth, but I did notice a slight improvement as well.  Overall, I felt clean and fresh afterwards.  So far, I believe it does exactly what it says it will!  Well done, Feather & Bone.  🙂

I think this concept and packaging would come incredibly handy if you were travelling and wanted to freshen up.  Especially when on a plane, what better way to pamper and revitalise your face after hours of canned air than to use one of these little beauties!  I can’t wait to see what else Feather & Bone come up with, and I definitely will be using the rest of my face gems.

***

Proper Instructions:

1: pop one tablet and place in the palm of your hand

2: using your hand add 5-10 drops of water as needed and apply pressure on tablet to break to form a paste

3: scoop paste from palm to massage/apply on full face and wash face

Feather & Bone is an inventive, fresh and unique personal care company.  We are dedicated to the creation of fresh product solutions.  Uniquely for YOU.  At Feather & Bone, our mantra is INDIVIDUALITY and AUTHENTICITY.

At Feather & Bone our goal and mission is for men and women to feel empowered by who they are as individuals and embrace their inner weirdness and authenticity.

Authenticity – it’s your inner core, your gravity, it’s the intangible and everything else is noise and constantly changing.  How you look from child to old age will change.  You change yourself through make-up and clothing to fit in, but in reality your inner core, values and authenticity are static.  Feather & Bone believes that the best way to fit in is to be you.

***

Reviews from customers:
“It was easy to dissolve with just a few drops of water in the palm of my hand.  It was odorless so that was good.  Skin felt soft after using.”

          – Sandy Cataldo, VP of Marketing & PD at Batallure

“It felt different. I got that clean feeling I don’t normally get with other face washes. My skin was glowing. It was easy to use.”

– Cheryl James, WholeBody manager at the Needham WF

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is by far one of the most amazing face wash brands I’ve ever tried. Great ingredients and immediate effect! I absolutely loved it!”

– Wad Taweel, Analyst at Palestine Investment Fund

“Feather & Bone Face Gems is certainly a revolutionary face wash. I had never experienced such a soft yet reviving feeling on my skin prior to using Face Gems Most importantly, I know that this great feeling on my skin will last the entire day. Women develop a strong loyalty towards products that change and improve little things in their routine, and this is what Face Gems is to me; it is such an easy-to-use product yet very different and exciting. This face wash is truly incomparable to anything that is currently on the market. Feather & Bone is the difference women have been waiting for.”

– Michele Lessard, Student

***

Find Feather & Bone across the web:

Facebook: Feather & Bone

Twitter: @feathernbone

Instagram: @feather.bone

Website: http://www.featherandboneco.com/

xoxo,

— Cathie

Sun-Kissed {Tips for Beautiful Summer Hair & Skin}…

Hello readers,

Todays’ post comes from the lovely Michelle, who is the manager of award-winning Skaná Spa at the Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York –which looks so gorgeous and relaxing from the pictures, that I hope I will stay there someday!!

When she emailed me with the idea of sharing some easy, all-natural treatments to combat our beloved sun’s sometimes harsh effects on both hair and skin, I knew I wanted to learn more –and I’m sure you do too!  We are all aware of using sunscreen, hats and parasols, (Ok, so no one uses them anymore unless they’re at fancy events and weddings, except yours truly, but who cares?!) but taking it one step further ensures that not only do we pamper ourselves, but all the extra TLC that we give ourselves now means healthier, enviable hair, and more resilient, youthful skin as we age gracefully.  🙂

***

Hair:

Although summer is one of the best seasons of the year to show off your fabulous hair when having fun in the sun, it can also be the most damaging. Between days spent in the heat and use of flat irons and curlers, hair can easily become dry and brittle in the warmer seasons if not protected. It’s important to maintain the luster and shine of your mane with a few practices that will guarantee nourished and beautiful hair all season long.
Summer Braid...With excessive use of chemicals and hair products on your luscious locks, it can cause build up to occur, affecting the degree of volume and shine. Free your hair of damaging chemicals and products by using 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 3 cups of water. Lavish the mixture into the hair and rinse out entirely to ensure the hair is cleaner and feels lighter.

Just as the body needs vitamins, hair does as well. Infuse your lovely locks with protein to increase its strength and prevent future breakage or damage. Simply mix a packet of dry gelatin into hot water until it dissolves, then massaging it in hair for 30 minutes, which will provide enough time for it to be infused with amino acids and glycine. The process is not only quick, but affordable.

The humidity often increases with rising temperatures in the summer, most commonly one of hair’s worst enemies. All volume and shape can quickly become lost, making it difficult to stay confident and feel beautiful. Use flat beer to liven up your locks and add a generous amount to allow it to sit for 15 minutes. The yeast, barley, and hops in the beverage will make them strong again. Another alternative is mixing half of a cup of flat beer, a raw egg, and a tablespoon of sunflower oil while allowing it to sit and soak in for 15 minutes. Simply rinse and you’ll notice that your hair will become more powerful against the heat without falling flat.

For those with fine or thinning hair, give it a boost with some natural ingredients that are free of chemicals or toxins. Use a moisturizing mask with a few household products that include a banana, egg, and some oils to restore the hair back to its original condition and infuse it with plenty of vitamins and nutrients.

Fight back against the summer heat by taking care of your hair to ensure that it remains full, thick, and complete with shine. Use natural hair masks and moisturizers with simple household products to ensure your hair is treated its absolute best.

Skin:
Niagara Falls Garden

1.) Chill out: . A cool shower after excess sweating can help keep the skin calm, decreasing acne breakouts.  This can also help prevent further drying out of skin.
2.)  During the summer months, use a scrub on dry skin before you shower.  Pay special attention to knees and elbows. And finish with a thick body cream.
3.) Cantaloupe is the melon of choice for beautiful summer skin.  They are rich in antioxidants and delivers a unique hydration to the skin.
4.) Power of Strawberries:  Cut a large strawberry in half, take a fork and poke at the flesh to awaken the juices, then swipe it across your face in small circles. Leave it on for about two minutes, then rinse off. This can brighten and help even skin tone.
5.) Quick Yogurt Mask: The lactic acid in plain yogurts impact the skin with calming and soothing benefits. Leave it on for 30 minutes as a mask before taking a cool shower and patting dry.
Whether you like having golden-toasted skin, or you are fighting desperately to keep your paler tones unsuccessfully (aka me), enjoy the sun safely and beautifully!
xoxo,
— Miss Cathie

L’Occitane and The Scarlet Pimpernel…

It is almost Bastille Day –“the ever-glorious fourteenth of July,” to quote a certain Marguerite Blakeney (1934 movie).  Oh yes, m’dears… there is a Scarlet Pimpernel geek-nerd in your midst!  (For those not familiar with him, he is an English nobleman who rescues innocent French aristocrats from the dreaded fate of Madame Guillotine!)
Scarlet Pimpernel Collage - by Cathie Maud
In short, Bastille Day coincides with the day when the people of Paris stormed the prison on July 14th, 1789, but was chosen to commemorate the Fête de la Fédération instead –the short-lived establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France –and what was supposedly the ‘happy ending’ of the French Revolution.

History lesson aside, L’Occitane is celebrating this day with an offer of a free gift and one of their famed treatments, if you show them this email (I’m showing you the picture that was in the email), but I’m sure there are other specials –perhaps the very same ones– to be had even if you haven’t signed up for their newsletter yet!
Bastille at L'Occitane!I’ll admit to having had a bit of a ‘moral dilemma’.  I had just come out of reading Eldorado when this popped into my inbox, and I sat there wondering, “Well, would Sir Percy go?  After what they did to little Louis Capet?”… I told you I was a bit of an obsessive about the Scarlet Pimpernel!  😛

I almost decided that I hated the holiday, until I remembered that both sides suffered in the Revolution, and of course, Baroness Orczy had her biases when telling those wonderful swashbuckling tales.  So in honour of both aristos and commoners who did not deserve whatever unhappy fates they met, I wish every Frenchman a very happy and peaceful Bastille Day, and Vive la France!!

All that said, I am going to try and catch this event on its last day tomorrow, and add A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens to my reading list.  It’s a novel that is set before and during the Revolution, but as seen through the eyes of the peasantry and middle-class people.  I’ve always wanted to read it, and I think now is a good idea, since I sorely need some balance and perspective in my views!

Happy Bastille Day!!!

xoxo,

— Miss Cathie

 

P.S. Update: I did go! And here is the loot.  My favourite are the soap bars, the ultra rich shower cream, and the Verveine eau de toilette… is it ever a fresh scent!!

Bastille Day 2013 at L'Occitane

The Tiniest Sephora Haul Ever — November 2012…

Hello everybody!

I’ve been away on a mini break of sorts for my birthday, as well as focusing on other little projects that needed to be done.  I was tired of having those little tasks niggling at me in the back of my mind, so completing them was the only way to get my peace of mind back.  I feel like a new person, now!  Procrastination really does no one favours, and really, it isn’t hard once you get that first gear going.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff! ^_^

In my previous post (the giveaway is still running, so be sure to enter!) I asked you for your suggestions on how to improve my blog, and many of you asked for more outfit posts –which I’m working on, I promise!– and beauty product reviews.  Thank you so much for your input; I’ve taken them to heart, and will keep them in mind for future posts.

With that being said, I recently bought Sephora’s own eyelash curler brand, (I currently use one by Tweezerman) and got 5 samples — 2 more than the usual.  Bliss.  I love tiny packaging, and trying new things out!  And yes, this is the tiniest ‘haul’ ever, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything else that I needed, or wanted that I could justify.  It may not cause great excitement, so apologies for the lack of unicorns exploding, and trumpets heralding. 😉
Super Mini Sephora Haul November 2012

  • Clean Original – Eau de Parfum
  • Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream
  • Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Eye Cream
  • Sephora Black Diamond Curler
  • Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
  • Urban Decay Eyeshadow – 2 x Eyeshadow in Sin and Mushroom; Eyeshadow Primer Potion

Ok, let’s start with my least favourite –the Boscia (pronounced Bosh-ya) hydration gel, which is supposed to refine and brighten skin texture, clarify complexion and tighten pores.  First off, it scared me.  I didn’t read any reviews before selecting the sample, so I was completely unprepared for what oozed out of the packet.  A black gel –shimmering, to its credit, but still.  A black gel!!  I sniffed it cautiously.  Its scent vaguely reminded me of the Fresh black tea perfecting mask, and I was going to try and get over my horror of the witch-like colour, but then decided that it was not worth risking the balance of my facial skin.  I’ve been blessed with relatively clear skin, and having heard stories of girls who’d tried potions that ruined their complexions forever afterwards, I decided it was simply not worth the risk.  However, a part of me just could not bear to waste it, especially since the full pot costs $38!  (I have my private feelings on the worth of that price point…)  So, being me, I swabbed it onto my right leg, wincing all the while… but there was a pleasing cooling sensation, much like drinking lukewarm water after eating peppermint, and having it go down feeling all cool and refreshing.  I don’t know if the gel actually tightened my pores.  I will say that it did not fully absorb into the skin, although the colour did disappear.  It just stayed on the surface as a very smooth, almost undetectable film.  Doing research after the fact, some of the ingredients do seem a bit iffy… most especially Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer.  I would say do your research first if you are very particular about ingredients –and you should be, when it’s going on your face!  Simply put, this ‘potion’ was not for me.

Boscia revitalizing black hydration gel and Urban Decay eyeshadow test swatchesNext, I had fun swabbing the Urban Decay eyeshadow onto my hand.  I even tried the Sin shade (nude) on my eyes.  Both colours have a faint shimmer, and it really takes a great amount of product for the colours to stand out.  ‘Sin’ just blends right into my skin, and only shows if I’ve applied a generous amount.  ‘Mushroom’ is of course, much darker, but it makes a greater impact if more is applied as well.  I haven’t tried the primer potion.  It’s a possibility that I might, but my eyes being sensitive, I’m very wary of putting something so foreign on them.  Will see if I work up the courage to give it a go.  I know, …stop being such a wuss, Cathie, really. 😛

Urban Decay Eyeshadow sampleA look at the samples’ colours on the sheet.

The Caudalie cream is really fun to use.  It’s light, not greasy, and has the faintest of pleasant but unidentifiable smells –at least to me.  I feel quite regal and luxurious when I daub it on.  It does leave my skin velvety-soft, and though I can’t really say that it’s regenerated my skin, or filled in wrinkles, it has made my skin less dry.  That’s always a plus in the colder months!

If you’ve read my previous Sephora haul post, you might have noticed that I am a great Fresh devotee.  Natural is the name of their game, and I’m all for it!  This age delaying eye cream (thick, but it goes on light and isn’t greasy… also has a lovely creamy shade to it) is supposed to alleviate dark circles, soothe puffiness and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area.  While it may be too soon to give a definitive answer, I think it did soothe my puffy eyes (nice, long naps help, too!) but I haven’t seen much yet in the way of dark circles lightening or clearing up.  The lychee scent is also light and pleasing –who knew lychee was collagen boosting?  I certainly didn’t!

I can’t make up my mind about the CLEAN perfume.  Sometimes it reminds me of laundry soap (not in a good way), and then the citrus notes punch through, and I think it’s refreshing, airy and… well, clean.  I will have to ponder over this.  Have you ever tried the CLEAN line of perfumes?  Is it just too soapy for your tastes, or do you find the scents enticing?

The Sephora eyelash curler is something I will review further later on.  Suffice to say that out of the box, it makes a curl that is far too ‘tight’.  I love a gently sloping upwards curve, and the curl it gives is one that points straight up at the sky.  I’m hoping that further usage will loosen up any new tightness about it, and it will give me the nice curl I’ve gotten from my Tweezerman so far.  Of worthy mention is the little plastic case that holds the spare lash pads.  I’m always frustrated when I buy drugstore eyelash curlers, because the spare ones are just loose once you open the package.  Where does one put them anyway, to keep them clean and neat?  The little case that Sephora’s came in is such a smart idea, if you ask me.  I really applaud that attention to detail!  I’ll be keeping the case for any future refills, should I revert back to Tweezerman, or another drugstore brand.

What’s your latest beauty haul?  Are there any natural beauty products you’d like to suggest or see reviewed?

xoxo,

— Miss Cathie

Miss Cathie’s Sephora Summer Beauty Haul…

My goodness, but this post has taken forever to write about!  I ordered these in May, but Sephora didn’t ship them ‘til June, and when I got them, it was just when I was leaving for vacation, and besides the sunscreen, I didn’t really have a chance to try them all out (I read somewhere that you must use a product for 6 weeks to be able to make a fair assessment, barring rashes)…  After that doozy of a sentence/explanation, here it finally is!  My very first beauty haul!!

I had better explain beforehand that I’m no beauty expert.  For a girly-girl, I’ve never really been a fan of miracle potions and creams, preferring being natural, and not laden down with chemicals.  However, I’ve come to realize that there are very good natural and organic beauty products out there to give one that extra bit of help and glow, so I’m slowly dabbling in the realm of beauty now.  If this isn’t exactly a ‘normal’ or informative review, please do forgive me. 🙂

Here’s what I got:
Miss Cathie's Sephora Haul Summer 2012 -- the main characters 1) Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

Promises to:

-Firm the complexion.
-Improve skin’s elasticity.
-Smooth the texture of the skin.
-Decrease skin roughness.
-Leave skin feeling velvety, soft, and smooth.
-Hydrate and nourish the skin.
-Leave skin looking resilient and radiant.
-Improve skin tone.
-Soothe the skin.

This was my least favourite to try out the first time around, not because I had an adverse reaction, or because it didn’t work… but because I couldn’t stand the texture.  It was like smearing a grainy purée (Sephora calls it a velvety whip) all over my face, and waiting 5-8 minutes before rinsing it off almost drove me crazy.  I hopped about, counting the seconds as if my life depended on it despairingly… and when the minute hand on the clock announced that it had been 6.5 minutes (I thought it was a good compromise between having it on too little or too long), I practically drowned my face with water.  After patting my skin dry, I did notice that it felt smooth and soft.  It stayed that way for about a few days, and didn’t irritate my skin.  I don’t know if my skin looked radiant per se, but I was more than happy that it had taken care of the dryness on my face.  I didn’t notice an improvement in skin elasticity, but maybe I’ll see it in action when I’m more (gracefully) aged in the distant future.  Now that I’ve used it a few times with such nice results, I’m leaning towards calling it a textured velvety whip.  Recommended!

2) Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Promises to:

-Whisk away everyday impurities and makeup, even mascara, without stripping essential moisture.
-Promote moisture retention, elasticity, and firmness.
-Balance, nourish and tone skin.

This is a clear liquid, slightly oily but not ickily so.  My first time trying this, I definitely preferred it to the perfecting mask, as it didn’t feel too foreign on my face.  However, I kept in mind that it was a cleanser, and thus had a different purpose.  You don’t leave this on for a few minutes, just wet skin, massage the cleanser in, and then rinse.  It left my skin silky soft right after, which surprised me, as I felt that it had barely had time to let ‘the goodness’ seep in.  I don’t have mascara to try this one on with, but as an everyday cleanser, I think it’s perfect!

3) Josie Maran Argan Sun Protection For Body SPF 30+.

Promises to:

-Protect sensitive skin from the sun with its natural ingredients.
-Repair the skin and reverse damages caused by the sun, thanks to the argan oil.

This is my favouritest sunscreen ever.  Sure, I have to reapply it more often, because it isn’t SPF 60, but I love that it doesn’t have parabens, sulfates, and other nasties.  I can really feel a good difference with this sunscreen compared to others I have tried, like Neutrogena and Coppertone.  The best part is that my skin, which is usually prone to ‘fighting’ with sunscreen, has really behaved with this one.  Plus, it has this lovely, soft natural smell when applied… even my man said that it was much nicer than your run-of-the-mill sunscreen.  To top it off, the box is gorgeous –all around, definitely a keeper in my summer beauty repertoire!
Miss Cathie's Sephora Haul Summer 2012 -- Textures

Left:  Soy face cleanser.  Center:  Black tea instant perfecting mask.  Right:  Josie Maran sunscreen

4) Tocca ‘Giulietta’ Crema da Corpo Body Lotion.

This lotion had a light, soft scent that was pleasing.  And just like its smell, it isn’t greasy, and is very light.  It practically disappears into my skin, and I almost forget that I’ve got lotion on, if it weren’t for the whiff of pink tulips and green apples!  It makes my skin silky smooth and soft, and I should probably stop here before I sound like a runaway commercial.  (But every word is true!!!)

Also, because I can’t resist a hint of romance, here’s the story behind the lotion taken from Tocca’s website, in case any of you are interested!

Giulietta – The love story of Italian director Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina comes alive in this sweet floral scent reminiscent of their Corsican honeymoon.  Sweet green apple and blooming pink tulips whisper to their never-ending love affair.

Miss Cathie's Sephora Haul Summer 2012 --pretty Josie Maran box  I half feel that I’m forgetting to mention something, but otherwise… I hope you enjoyed this post!  If you have any other questions about these, I’d be happy to answer them and update this post accordingly.

Tell me, what is your summer beauty repertoire like?  Did you find anything special?  Share your finds with me, pretty please!

xoxo,

— Miss Cathie

Cherry Blossoms in My Hair…

They may not have the fleeting scent and beauty of true cherry blossoms, but Jennifer Behr‘s Cherry Blossom bobby pin comes very close to capturing it.

Those who know me well can testify to the fact that I have a particular weakness for cherry blossoms, and flowers in my hair.  I think this pretty piece brings the two together quite nicely.  And for the few who asked to see it in my hair (Jennifer’s site does not show any pictures of it modelled), here is a quick video I pieced together.  I’m sorry I wasn’t able to zoom in for a more detailed view –I was a one-girl team! 😉

If you want to have this bit of prettiness to yourself, I’m sharing two links that I found –one is the real-deal splurge, and the other’s a steal, but just as pretty!
Jennifer Behr Cherry Blossom Bobby Pin in crystal gunmetal

Jennifer Behr

Slip this into your hair for an instantly glamorous look –so sweet and simple!

L. Erickson Paradise Bouquet on Tige Boule

L. Erickson’s Paradise Bouquet on Tige Boule

More of a clip than a bobby pin, this piece is just as detailed and stunning as its slightly more expensive counterpart.  I’m thinking of picking this piece up for myself, too!

Who says you need a tiara to feel like a princess?  Enjoy!!

xoxo,

Miss Cathie

A Celebration of Hair Fashion: Show Off 2012…

As I mentioned in my previous post on Vancouver Fashion Week, March was quite the month of excitement!  Thanks to Jaeger Mah — of Live at YVR fame — and Beauty Council producer Candice, I attended the event Show Off as a media guest (complete with a backstage tour!), even though I was completely unprepared and sported a simple Canon point and shoot camera!
Show Off 2012

Candice [lower right] expertly directing on-stage…

An annual event by Beauty Council, this was Show Off’s 3rd year in celebrating and sharing the passion in the hair fashion industry.  Through it, salons are able to show off their talent and creativity in breath-taking performances, that both insiders and consumers are able to enjoy and appreciate.  To tie the bow on a beautiful package, it is also a charitable event, and supported Beauty Night Society this year.  Beauty Night recognizes the importance of beauty both inside and out, and is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of both women and youth who live in poverty, providing both wellness and self-esteem lessons, and makeovers.
Show Off 2012 -- Beauty Night Held in the glamourous art deco Vogue Theatre, and with generous gift bags temptingly placed on every seat by title sponsor, L’Oreal Professionnel, twelve salons joined in on the fun this year, and showcased their individual take on hair fashions with this year’s theme in mind, “Sumptuous Beauty”.

Show Off 2012 -- Union Salon

 I noticed quite a few of the shows were inspired by the time periods of the 20’s and 30’s… a burlesque show (which was a bit risqué!), well-dressed and coiffed worldly society women, as well as an Al Capone-ish gangster theme graced the stage!

Show Off 2012 -- Opus Salon

On the other end of the spectrum were the more fantastical creations, some of them quite odd and not very appealing to my eye, personally.

Show Off 2012 -- Axis CreationHowever, it is all in creative fun in the end, and it is best to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder at shows of this nature. 🙂  Perhaps I could have appreciated the creations of certain salons more if I had been able to speak to them about their creative thought processes and inspirations.  Sadly, I had to leave the event halfway through, as I was not feeling at all the thing…

Show Off 2012 - Toni & Guy

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into an amazing and successful beauty event, it was certainly both well-produced and well done –and raised over $6,000 for Beauty Night Society!

Thank you to all the ladies and gents who poured so much effort and love into the creation of this show!

P.S.  Be sure to check out Jaeger’s excellent video re-cap of the entire event!

Featured Miss: Amy Irene!…

Hello readers!  Today, I am officially introducing a new feature to my blog: guest posts!  And who better to ‘cut the red ribbon’ then my dear friend, Amy Irene?  (Doesn’t her name sound just like a song?)  Without further ado, I hereby present my first ‘Featured Miss’…Amy Irene

The gorgeous Amy Irene…

I am a very practical girl – ever since I was little I always went for things that worked, and were cheap, not necessarily for beauty or just the sheer joy of being pampered once in awhile. However, as I get older I find more and more I head for the beautiful thing – just cause wearing it makes me feel nice, or the thing that I don’t really NEED, but that makes me feel pampered. I still am a very practical girl, but I also know that as a girl it’s good to pamper yourself once in a while and explore that feminine girly side. 🙂
So today I want to share with you a few of my “guilty pleasures” 🙂

# 1 – Body Spray from Bath and Body works – my current favorite scent is “Black Amethyst” from their “Sexy scents” collection. I never leave the house without spritzing it on – with it I know I smell beautiful, and smelling nice always gives you more confidence! 😉 I think a girl should always leave a subtle but memorable beauty scent behind her. 🙂Black Amethyst#2 – Sensual Milk & Honey Body Butter from Deep Sea Cosmetics. My Dad surprised me with this one Christmas, knowing I get very dry hands in the Winter, he spent a bit of money, and got me this ultra pampering body butter. At first I thought it would probably be like many of the other hand creams I have tried in the past… And then I tried it! This is unlike any body lotion I have ever used! From the moment you dip your finger into it, it feels cool and smooth. It has a delightful scent that reminds me of coconuts and summer time. 🙂 I love to use this cream after I take a shower on my legs especially – leaves them feeling smooth and good. 🙂 Definitely on the top of my “Pamper me” list. 🙂

Sensual Dead Sea Body Butter#3 – And last, but not least, my guilty pleasures TV show! Introduced to me by none other than Cathy herself!! 🙂 Pan Am! I normally watch a lot of investigation shows, like NCIS, and The Mentalist, which are definitely also two guilty pleasure shows that I love, but sometimes a girl gets tired of murders. 😉 I love all the characters of Pan Am, the time period it is set in, how they are stewardesses, and of course their outfits!! 🙂 My favorite character is Colette. She’s really sweet. 🙂

PAN AMWell I hope you enjoyed reading about a few of the items on my “Guilty pleasures” list! 🙂 And many thanks to Cathy for inviting me to write for her blog! She has been a dear friend of mine for a while now, and has taught me a lot about pampering! 🙂 Love you dear!

Thank you so much for taking the time to be a guest on my blog, Amy!  It was a great pleasure — and fun! ♥

♥ Who would you like to see featured on my blog?  Suggestions are always welcome!! ♥