- Beauty Journalist & proud Montrealer with a passion for beauty in all its fabulous diversity. "Beauty begins the moment you choose to be yourself" - Coco Chanel
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I don’t remember the last time a skincare product excited me as much as this newest serum from Korres, Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir. Apart from the fact that I may be indulging in a bit of unapologetic Greek pride (this brand hails from Greece, my mother country), I can honestly say that after incorporating this product into my daily regimen, my skin has seriously never looked or even felt better. After all, there was once a time when saffron, the star ingredient here, was valued more than gold … and I totally get why.
The town of Kozani in northern Greece produces some of the best saffron in the world; every October for two weeks straight, the purple crocus flowers are harvested right after the morning dew has evaporated and the plants’ key antioxidants are at their highest. At this point the fields may appear empty but by dawn the next day, the flowers seem to almost magically bloom anew. With ethical harvesting & planting practices strictly enforced, all the unused portions of the flowers are redistributed back to the land as organic fertilizer for the next year’s crop. Approximately 150,000 flowers are needed to obtain 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of dried crocus stigmas, the fiery tendrils at the heart of each flower. No wonder it has earned such a regal reputation, no?
freshly harvested crocus flowers
Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir (CAN $13o.00) | The golden glass of the rounded bottle hints at the magic found within; this innovative Elixir is made with 1-day fresh saffron extract (saffron is renown for its exceptionally high levels of the potent antioxidant crocin) together with beta-glucans, peptides, and amino acids — all of which help firm the skin and strengthen it against daily damage. Another crucial ingredient is patented natural Hexapeptide-11 which not only helps firm the skin, but also reduces wrinkles by increasing the skin’s production of collagen and elastin. Rounding things out are strong levels of a Hyaluronic Acid with a uniquely low molecular weight so as to be more easily absorbed into the skin, providing long-lasting hydration and plumping benefits without irritation. Finally, Polysaccharides derived from oats and tamarind seeds form an invisible barrier over skin to help regulate moisture for a smooth, supple feel.
I have been using this Elixir for several weeks now and my skin is thanking me; after cleansing my face and giving the contents of the bottle a gentle shake, I apply 3 drops from the dropper dispenser onto the tips of my fingers and pat that quickly all over my face and throat (when possible, I also try to stretch that down to my décolleté as well). Bearing a soft green/floral/herbal scent that’s quite lovely and fresh but which appears to dissipate fairly quickly once applied, the Elixir is then quickly absorbed into the skin leaving no greasy residue behind. I have been using this in conjunction with a variety of other brands and so far, it seems to work beautifully with all of them; in fact, I feel that it’s been amplifying the effects of whatever I layer on top. All I know, is that my skin looks so much more even-toned, feels significantly smoother, fine lines are actually less pronounced (yay!), and my makeup overall applies totally better as well.
Korres Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixir swatches
The best part about this Golden Krocus Saffron Elixir? It works. For real. Bonus points scored for the fact that you can also incorporate it into whatever skincare regimen you’re currently using — no need to shell out for an entire dedicated product range. Consistency is crucial; by using this morning and night, you will see a difference and as early as within a week of use. After all, doesn’t your skin deserve the royal treatment? Also, how often does one get to say that they’re using an “elixir”? #itsthelittlethings
Available at select Shopper’s Drug Mart (Pharmaprix), Sephora (US) & Murale stores
Press sample/As always, all opinions my own
Press sample provided for my unbiased consideration
The latest addition to Lancôme’s Miracle range, is City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50 (CAN $46.00, available in 3 shades) offering lightweight makeup coverage, protection from external agressors, as well as skin-clarifying properties with continued use. Tested in several cities with high pollution levels, City Miracle might just be what all …but not limited to … Urban Warriors have been looking for. You’re welcome.
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50
An all-in-one product to help provide a radiant complexion, City Miracle has the high-reaching goal of combining the ‘instant perfection of a makeup effect with lasting skincare benefits‘ that is said to:
- even out like a foundation
- perfect like a beautifier (I’m guessing that means primer)
- hydrate like a moisturizer
- protect against UV like a sunscreen
- fight shine like a powder
Available in 3 shades, the texture has a hybrid cream/lotion feel to it; more body than a usual BB or CC product, but not as full-coverage as foundation. The fruity/floral fragrance is quite fresh and pleasant, if not a little on the strong side – something to note for those with sensitivities. City Miracle can be applied and spread using your fingers or your favourite foundation brush, if preferred, and bears surprisingly good opacity for a CC cream. Some of the key ingredients include:
- Glycerine – acts on skin’s elasticity, leaving it soft & hydrated
- Detoxyl – a potent anti-pollution active ingredient which prevents metallic pollutants for adhering to the skin while helping to detoxify cells
- SPF 50 – usually high UVB & UVA protection for a CC cream (to prevent spot formation and photo-ageing)
- Adenosine + Vitamin CG – a potent anti fatigue combo that work synergistically to help reduce wrinkle depth & the appearance of age spots
- Kombucha & Musk Rose Oil – an anti-dullness duo to help improve skin quality while refreshing & illuminating the complexion
What I really like about this product, is that it provides excellent coverage without any of that caked-on look or feel that you sometimes get with foundation – and it can literally be applied on the go with no special tools other than one’s fingers. Longevity is good as well – especially when you consider that City Miracle is a lighter-weight cream, easily providing 8 hours of wear without oxidation or product buildup in key areas (such as around the nose or any facial lines). The scent is on the strong side and doesn’t dissipate immediately upon application like other fragranced makeup products, but does minimize over time. With regards to skin improvement, I can’t vouch for that as I tend to rotate my makeup products with alarming speed (#beautybloggerwoes), but I like the way my skin feels with City Miracle applied – illuminated/radiant but not dewy/shiny – and I find it does a pretty good job of keeping my skin (which is combination/oily in the T-zone area) from become overly greasy and needing to be mattified by using other products.
What surprises me the most, is that A) City Miracle is only offered in 3 shades and B) the lightest colour available (and which I was sent to try) will still be much too dark for pale/fair complexions. On my light/medium skin tone, 01 Beige Dragée (worn here – the other shades are 02 Peau de Peche and 03 Beige Aurore) appears rather orange-leaning when first applied, but seems to almost reverse-develop with the wearing; as the product warms up and thus merges with my skin’s natural oils, it somehow morphs into an almost custom shade – a very unique effect. The tube has a slim profile and is of a small enough size to make it conveniently portable, although that smaller size can work against it as well since it means it’ll finish up that much faster BUT this drawback can also be turned into a positive, if it means you will then have to purchase a fresh tube to use, as opposed to reaching for some other product that may have been lurking in your vanity for ages (and probably well past its prime, at that).
With regards to the SPF included, it’s unusually high for a cosmetic product but not enough that it feels like it weighs the skin down either, neither does it add any weird white cast to the skin as a result – a huge plus.
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50 (ingredients list)
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50, applied
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50, lightly blended
Lancôme | City Miracle CC Cream SPF 50, sheered out
With the warmer weather that’s looming just around the corner, our makeup routine will undergo its usual seasonal shift: colours (eyes, lips, cheeks) will start to go a few degrees brighter and you’ll want base makeup that feels lighter & sheerer along your skin. How fortunate then, that with Lancôme’s new City Miracle CC CREAM SPF 50, you won’t have to sacrifice on either coverage or skincare benefits. Personally, I love the feel and effect of using this cream – but I do wish the colour range was a bit more extensive, as I believe it’s a product all complexions should have in their beauty arsenal. Listen up, Lancôme, cause you’ve got a winner here.
Available now through all Lancôme counters across Canada. Find more information via www.lancome.ca
Last Friday, I had the privilege of attending the launch of OPI’s Spring/Summer 2015 Hawaii Collection, held at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Toronto. This occasion marked the finale of a whirlwind 2 days of events that began with the Elizabeth Arden Spring/Summer 2015 launches, followed by the Nicole by OPI Spring/Summer 2015 launch.
Upon arriving, I was greeted with gorgeous island-themed displays featuring the collection – a welcoming sight indeed, considering how gloomy the weather was that day. After quickly reconnecting with several familiar faces and some who were only names to me up until that day, I headed to the manicure stations where I chose That’s Hula-rious! – a fresh mint hue – as my mani du jour, a shade that turned out to be overwhelmingly popular with several attendees, from what I later noticed.
The tempo really picked up once VP and Artistic Director of OPI, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, arrived and after welcoming us all to the luncheon, we sat down for a delectable Hawaiian-themed meal (which unfortunately I barely did any justice to, as I was hit with the migraine to end all migraines — still not sure how I survived the flight back home a few hours later). Capping off the day, I was able to sit down once again (see my previous interview here) with Suzi for a quick interview and to get the scoop directly from her on what we can expect to see from OPI.
I hope you enjoy the preview photos and interview.
Thank you to my wonderful hosts for inviting me to be part of such an incredible event
Welcome! Tell me about this latest collection
What was I going to do for Spring? I alluded to it when I spoke earlier and mentioned how women have arrived – we want to be more relaxed and comfortable, a common theme I also noticed from the Spring runway shows. Hawaii was the perfect inspiration; it’s an exotic locale and makes you feel wonderfully relaxed and alive at the same time – from the climate, the people, the food, the music and the colours.
As seen all over the various fashion shows, neutrals were once again dominating but with a twist; the new ‘midi’ look was shown where you leave the moon of the nail bare. Another way to wear neutrals is with a differently coloured free edge, or even applied as just one graphic line down the nail. The 70’s free-spirit vibe is represented by a mauve hue, a shade OPI hasn’t featured for quite some time, mint – very on trend and a perfect representation of Spring/Summer, the lavenders, purples, corals and pink – must have a pink, of course! Gold which I’ve also shown for the Holiday 2014 Collection, and metallics – which I’ll be showing more for Fall 2015. Rounding the collection out, are a lot of classics such as crèmes – which also happens to be the trend that I’m seeing coming up for future collections.
How do you go about selecting a country/city for a collection?
It usually begins with predictions/trend books from Milan and Paris, that look at the direction of colour in fashion, which in fact begins on the streets by observing people – a type of historical summary of colours and fashion, if you will. Then it’s up to the individual to translate this information to their own application, whether it’s in furniture, fashion, package design, colour cosmetics, or nail colour.
How does this process differ from celebrity collaborations?
To begin with, selecting a celebrity to collaborate with is not trend-driven, but more of my own personal choice. With Gwen Stefani, for example, she’s very much a part of the entire process and she personally chose the colours and finishes for the collection, even going as far as selecting individual glitter shapes from an assortment presented before her, for the creation of some shades.
The OPI shade names – how do you go about creating them?
First, I create the shades and then there are about 6 of us – from Nicole by OPI, Creative, Marketing, Purchasing, even Customer Service, basically the same team for many years now, that get together. We gather in a room with food representative of the country/city the collection is themed after, and then we brainstorm. The process can take an entire day and is very democratic; we all need to agree on the final name, but we also have fun with it.
I can just imagine the names that do NOT make the final cut!
That’s for off-camera! The blooper reel! We’ve have many good laughs over the years, believe me!
Can you briefly tell me about the creative process behind bringing forth a collection?
Taking the Hawaii Collection, for example, the entire process was very personal for me as it’s a place I’ve visited many times with my family. I was inspired by the ocean, the hula skirts, even the smells of the island that evoke images and which spark colour ideas in my mind. I also have to factor in which shades/colours the consumer will be attracted to as well as make sure it works in harmony with the current fashion styles. Don’t ask me to try to pin it down exactly; all I know, is that for 25 years this method has just worked for me.
This continued success and longevity just confirms that you’re doing something right!
[laughs] I hope so!
What territory, with regards to nail polish, has OPI not yet explored?
Definitely China, as I believe Chinese women are starting to explore and embrace beauty much more. With India, and while we previously released an Indian-themed collection, there’s a new middle class that is becoming more interested in – along with buying – beauty products as well. Another country is Brazil – latin women love and indulge in beauty products, and outside of North America and Europe, I feel that we need to venture out and include these women who have made beauty such a huge part of their everyday lives.
As a woman whose talent, drive and creativity is so highly admired in the industry, can you tell me what trend(s) you forecast next?
I continue to see textures; you’re going to see some new mattes from OPI for next year, as well as a continuation of this classic theme – such as crème hues. Shades such as mauve will be making a comeback and you’ll be seeing new shades in our Fall 2015 collection that have not been shown from OPI – or other brands – for a long time now. Nail colour continues to be important in women’s lives and it always amazes me how a bottle of nail polish can engineer a feeling of empowerment with women. Not everyone can afford a designer wardrobe, but a shade inspired from luxury fashion makes you feel a part of the entire experience.
Finally, do the rumours of a ’50 Shades of Grey’ collaboration have any truth to them?
Yes! The movie is being released on Valentine’s Day 2015, and the collection will include 6 shades – and not all grey, but a beautiful collection just the same! As with other collaborations, the author of the book was very hands on in the development and creation of these shades. This movie is not so much about sexuality, as it is about exploring our emotions and in the case of the collection, it also ties in with how colour affects our emotions as well.
I thank Suzi Weiss-Fischmann for taking the time to speak with me – it’s always such a pleasure!
BEAUTY SCOOP! So, you heard it here first and directly from Suzi Weiss-Fischmann herself: get ready for a 6-bottle 50 Shades of Grey Collection collaboration (and not all grey!), new textures and mattes for next year, as well as retro shades making a comeback for Fall 2015.
fuel to start my day: Belgian waffles with fruit compote & lemon cream … and plenty of coffee
my look: Banana Republic cream vegan leather skirt, Denim & Supply bone oversized cowl-neck sweater, black over-the-knee socks, black Prada suede high-heeled boots and my beloved Theory moto jacket
the gorgeous Autumnal display in the lobby of The Thompson Hotel, Toronto
the venue: Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, Toronto
Introducing: the OPI Hawaii Collection
what’s an event without the ubiquitous candy bar?!
it’s not easy for me to sit back and have someone else to do my nails #controlfreak
the shade I chose: That’s Hula-rious! (the name, right?!)
Welcome speech given by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann
Pineapple-Hawaiian style slaw
chillin’ with my friendly neighbourhood mani-geek, Karen
matching tips with Marta of ChitChatNails
ignore my frown face – I swear that I was really enjoying the conversation
Apparently our hosts all got Suzi’s memo and wore coordinating outfits!
My box/bottle of OPI’s Don’t Speak 18k Gold Top Coat personally autographed by Suzi
Disclosure: Press sample
William Morris ‘Love Is Enough’ (source)
If you follow me on my various social media platforms, then you may have seen the initial black & white preview of 2 new a-england shades; here they now are, in all their colourful splendour!
Having captured our hearts – as well as our imagination – with ‘The Mythicals’ introductory collection, founder Adina Bodina is constantly looking to create and improve upon her range; case in point, the revamped version of ‘Excalibur’ (see original swatch review here). This new incarnation takes the original steely hue and infuses it with multi-dimensional shimmer, creating a unique fusion of a wearable metallic.
In between the core collections, a-england has also introduced a running theme titled “Heavenly Quotes”, with new shades/chapters continuously included in this story. The latest addition, ‘Love Is Enough’ is a shade inspired by the artist, poet, textile designer and member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, William Morris (1834 – 1896) – an intricate and almost moody deep olive hue, overlaid by a complex golden shimmer.
Please note that full nail swatches are coming soon. You can find more images and swatches of the entire range by clicking on the a-england tab on the right.
a-england ♦ Excalibur (revamped)
a-england ♦ Love Is Enough – Heavenly Quote
Last Word: As expected, these shades are done in true inimitable a-england style: with complete attention to detail, and in total perfection. I’ll have more details for you as soon as my post is up — stay tuned!
William Morris – Acanthus Leaf wallpaper c. 1875 (source)
CHANEL’s Holiday 2012 Collection offers so many beautiful pieces that resistance, as the “Borg” (Star Trek Next Generation reference – yes, I’m a sci-fi geek) would say, is futile. The ‘Harmonie du Soir’ eyeshadow quad is the jewel of this group; visually stunning with the iconic CHANEL quilted pattern and interlocked C’s embossed on the surface of each shade, with colours that are fresh and unique and in a formula that is rich & sublime.
CHANEL Eclats du Soir Holiday 2012 Collection (source)
Harmonie du Soir – iconic black & gold packaging
Harmonie du Soir
Regard Signé de CHANEL in Harmonie du Soir – quite different in texture from CHANEL’s other eyeshadow quads, the four shades in this compact each bear a similar silky feel in their formulation, are quite pigment-saturated and last an incredibly long time. With almost no fallout to speak of and no powdery kickback, the first thing you notice upon application is their butter-smooth glide, followed by the complex & rich jewel-like tone of each colour.
I was a little concerned about wearing a reddish hue on my eyes, but the mulberry shade of the compact has enough brown/russet tones in its base, that it becomes very wearable and adds just the right amount of depth to your look. Mixed with the taupe – a complex and ultra rich mink hue – it develops into a unique mauve/plum tone that will enhance all eye colours. The antiqued hue of the gold shade lends itself well as an inner eye corner highlighter or under the browbone for more dramatic impact, while the pale pink colour works exceptionally well when used to soften the edges of the deeper shades, or even alone as a light wash across the lid.
Gold – top left shade
taupe – top right shade
pink – bottom right shade
mulberry – bottom left shade
swatches – in sunlight
swatches – indirect light
The look and format of this year’s ‘Harmonie du Soir’ eyeshadow quad, was originally featured on last year’s limited edition ‘Topkapi’ eyeshadow quad from the limited edition ‘Les Byzances de CHANEL’ collection. Bearing the same buttery smooth and highly pigmented formula in all of the shades offered, I’m happy to see that there are no duplicates in the two and yet they seem to have a common thread, with both cool and warm tones available in each palette for extra wearability and versatility. As you can clearly see from the usage in the above photo, I absolutely love ‘Topkapi’ and turn to it quite a bit for so many looks, although ‘Harmonie du Soir’ has been getting an equal amount of love from me lately.
swatches – in sunlight
swatches – indirect light
Final thoughts: It’s difficult for me to choose just one “standout” item from this collection, but as far as versatility goes, you definitely get your money’s worth with the ‘Harmonie du Soir’ eyeshadow quad. The formula is unbelievable and a complete pleasure to work with, while the selection of shades work beautifully either worn alone, in various combinations, or even layered together. In my opinion, this is definitely one of the must-haves of this collection.
Available at The Bay counters and Holt Renfrew across Canada, please note that this is a limited edition item – get it while you can!
Congratulations to Laura B. – winner of my Elizabeth Arden Fall Glam giveaway! Hugs and thank you to all who entered!