Filed In: Skincare

Institut Esthederm Paris · Intensive Collection 2017 Launches


Leading the way in the category of ‘cosmeceuticals’, French skincare brand Esthederm recently launched their new INTENSIVE Collection, a range of 14 products formulated with leading molecules that have a proven track record … or as I like to call it, ingredients that work without any fanfare, complicated names, or fancy gimmicks.

Just last week, I was invited to a breakfast preview of the products at an event held at the Ritz-Carlton Montréal, one of the city’s most luxurious venues. The event was presided over by Aurélie Guyoux, Biochemist & Scientific Director for Groupe Naos (Esthederm, Bioderma), who gave a truly informative and comprehensive breakdown of the collection, while also making it easy to understand how & why the ingredients in these products work.

Greeted with a blackberry smoothie to start things off, the rest of our breakfast menu revolved around some of the ingredients found in the products (the more edible ones, obviously lol) and we all left with a lovely gift bag that included several selections to try out. What a great way to start the New Year, as well as the day!

Many thanks to Institut Esthederm for inviting me to such a wonderful event

Ritz-Carlton, Montréal


For a closer look at the new launches, I encourage you to scroll through below




Aurélie Guyoux, Biochemist & Scientific Director for Groupe Naos (Esthederm, Bioderma)



Biotherm · Biocils, Biosource & Wonder Mud

Biotherm cleansers opener


Christmas has just come & gone — now it’s time to undo the traces of late nights, loads of food, and possibly a bit too much partying (or what you get during the holidays when you’re from a large Greek family. Actually, that’s us 365 days/year). Now’s the time where these basics from Biotherm come into their own; think of them as the unsung heros of the beauty world.

Boitherm cleansers

Biotherm makeuo remover trio

Biotherm Biocils 2

Biotherm Biocils makeup remover

Biocils Soin des Cils (CAN $31.00) | A dual-phase eye makeup remover (oil + water) that not only effectively removes all traces of eye makeup, but helps to strengthen and regenerate lashes with each use. Key ingredients include:

  • Madecassocide – regenerates the production of lashes and stimulates the production of collagen
  • Arginine – nourishes and repairs damaged lashes
  • Citric Acid – stimulates the regeneration of cells

Biotherm Biocils Waterproof makeup remover

Biocils Waterproof (CAN $23.00) | A dual-phased formula (oil + water) to help remove all traces of eye makeup, even stubborn waterproof mascara. This remover is not only effective but gentle enough to be used even on sensitive eyes or for contact-lens wearers — all without leaving a greasy feel behind. Key ingredients include:

  • Silicone Oils – to coat the skin and trap in moisture (this part confuses me a bit, tbh)
  • Soft non-ionic cleansing agents – gentle on skin & lashes
  • Neutral PH – ophthalmologist tested

Biotherm Biocils Yeux Sensibles makeup remover

Biocils Yeux Sensibles (CAN $23.00) | An ultra-fresh gel formula with a texture that turns to water when it touches the skin. Non-sticky, this works to quickly remove makeup without needing to use excessive force on the delicate skin of the eye area and is easily tolerated by eve the most sensitive eyes. Key ingredients include:

  • D-Panthenol – to help moisturize the skin
  • Softening agents – to help decrease the look of fine lines
  • Neutral PH – ophthalmologist tested

Biotherm Cleansing Oil & Toner

Biotherm Total Renew.Oil

Biosource Total Renew.Oil (CAN $34.00) | There’s really nothing better or more effective than an oil-based cleanser to break up the oils found in makeup and while I will always have a weakness for the shu uemura versions, this bottle has impressed me enough to actually finish it. Lightweight in feel, this emulsifies into a foam upon contact with water to not only effortlessly help remove makeup (except for mascara which I still prefer using a separate remover for), but also acts as a purifying agent (anti-bacterial) to leave skin feeling clean and moisturized. Key ingredients include:

  • Life Plankton
  • L.Saccharina – anti pollution adhesion agent, removes bacteria & impurities
  • Natural Botanical Oil Blend – passion fruit, apricot, corn, & rice bran to nourish and repair skin while cleansing

Biotherm Biosource Toner

Biosource Toner (CAN $23.00) | While I’m a huge fan of the many-stepped skincare ritual (I swear, it relaxes me), toning is something I’ve never made it a habit to do… until now, that is. To use, you simply apply toner to a cotton pad which is then swiped it all over your face to pick up any vestiges of makeup/dirt that somehow managed to escape the cleansing step. Easy-peasy. Bonus points scored for its light & fresh scent coupled with mild exfoliating properties to leave skin feeling clean but never tight.


Biotherm Wonder Mud

Wonder Mud (CAN $60.00) | As someone who has developed somewhat of an obsession with applying face masks, I tend to multi-mask on the regular and absolutely love not only the way they cleanse my skin, but how beautifully my makeup looks upon a newly smooth complexion after. That said, not all masks are created equal and what makes this one stand out for me is many sided: for starters, the texture is significantly lighter than most clay masks I’ve tried, bearing an almost mousse-like consistency. Secondly, it doesn’t dry to pull tightly upon the skin, and lastly it leaves my face glowing while pores appear minimized. Bonus points scored for it only needing 3 minutes to do its thing.

Biotherm Wonder Mud 2

Biotherm Wonder Mud macro

Biotherm Wonder Mud swatch


As someone who never goes to bed without first removing all makeup, I must admit that I actually enjoying the act: it makes me feel renewed and, well….clean. As tempting as it may be to reach for a wipe to do the job, don’t — there’s nothing quite like a good oil cleanse followed by toning. Try it, and let me know. As to eye makeup removers, I like the fact that Biotherm offers choices to also include those with sensitive eyes, and even though both the waterproof and regular version worked well, I still prefer my go-to from Neutrogena. For all you mask-fiends out there, you need to give Wonder Mud a go; it’s effective plus gives you a legitimate reason to slap mud all over your face. Makes my inner child very happy.

Available at drugstores and online

Biotherm cleansers closer


PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

Neutrogena · Rapid Wrinkle Repair



As much as I love makeup, I have to confess that skincare really gets my motor running and let’s face it; the better your skin looks and feels, the better your makeup will apply too. Win-win. Of course, with zillions of options available today, it can be hard to narrow things down — let along find a regimen that not only works but is affordable, which is why I was pretty excited to test out Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair range because, well …. RAPID.


The packaging is clean, minimal, and opaque (the better to preserve the integrity of the ingredients), and with the exception of the eye cream that’s in a squeeze-tube format, comes with a pump dispenser system that also locks closed for extra security; this is actually quite convenient as it makes for an easy & effortless application, not to mention a lot less messy than using fingers to scoop product out. All have a very light fresh/citrusy scent which is quite pleasing, but which appears to dissipate fairly quickly after initial application.

All four products shown retail for CAN $29.99 each, but as they are sold via mass-market they can usually be scored on sale. Pretty sweet, right?


It’s a documented fact that Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients in promoting cellular turnover which thereby results in smoother and more even-looking skin, and the Accelerated Retinol SA in this range is comprised of three key ingredients that work synergistically together to not only help correct & improve your skin’s appearance, but manages to do the job relatively quickly and without irritation. Of course, if your skin leans on the super-sensitive side, you’ll definitely want to do a patch test first.

  • Hyaluronic Acid – adds line plumping moisture to help hydrate, replenish and rejuvenate the look of skin
  • Retinol SA – exclusive technology works to continuously renew the look of skin throughout the day. Retinol SA is scientifically proven to be highly effective in its ability to penetrate the skin’s surface
  • Glucose Complex – accelerates skin’s surface activity for rapid results on the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Scroll through (below) to view the products in closer detail



As someone who tries more than her share of skincare, I like to be very thorough in my testing before I pronounce myself — but after just one week of testing out Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair, I was not only surprised by the visible results I achieved but felt confident in sharing that with you all. It goes without saying that these are not miracle products (I mean, it’s not surgery for God’s sake) but the improvement in the appearance of my skin is undeniable; everything looks a little brighter and more even-toned, my pores appear significantly diminished, and even those pesky fine lines around my lips and eyes seem somewhat … blurred. I couldn’t think of a better way to usher in the new year than with a new skincare regimen and if you want something that shows proven results + which won’t break the bank, I urge you to take a look at Rapid Wrinkle Repair since the science behind it all is undeniable and oh-so definitely worth a shot.

Available at mass-market retailers nationwide and online

Many thanks to Neutrogena for partnering to sponsor this post/As always, all opinions are my own

Fresh · Vitamin Nectar Mask & Waterlily Soap



Face masks are definitely having their ‘moment’ and thankfully consumers have a vast array to choose from. One that I’ve been really loving lately is the new Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask from Fresh; with its strong citrusy presence, it engages almost all of your senses at once — along with making your skin look great. The new Zodiac Oval Soap Collection created in collaboration with internationally known astrologer, Susan Miller, features a bar for each sign and each is as gorgeous to behold as to use (not to mention what an awesome personalized gift it’ll make. Just saying).



Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask (CAN $80.00) | Created with 50 percent real crushed fruit including oranges, lemons, and clementines — all containing natural AHA acids to gently refine and smooth the skin. This proprietary fruit complex uses a paste from lemons of the Mediterranean region to provide a double exfoliation while the AHA acid content offers a mild chemical peeling effect, leaving skin glowing and even-toned.  Made without any parabens, sulfates or phthalates, and good for all skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination & sensitive.

The first thing you’ll notice upon opening this jar, is an uncanny resemblance to orange marmalade (both in smell & look — just don’t eat it, although I’m thinking it’s probably edible too, given the high levels of real fruit in the mix), followed by a wonderfully yummy citrus fragrance. To use, I recommend 2 important tips: do apply the mask while standing over a sink, as some of the its particles will certainly fall, and use a muslin-type cloth for removal which will not only make the job so much easier, but further the exfoliating effect begun with the mask itself. After having used Vitamin Nectar regularly for several weeks now, I’ve noticed that my skin is definitely brighter and more even toned, with the bonus effect of my pores appearing less noticeable and fine lines diminished. In fact, I saw an improvement the very first use, and experienced absolutely no irritation.



Fresh · Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask swatches



Waterlily Soap – Zodiac Oval Soap Collection, Cancer (CAN $18.00) | This vegetable-based oval shaped soap celebrates the water sign Cancer (me!!) and comes infused with a fresh ‘floral aquatic’ fragrance. Wrapped in a gorgeous aqua coloured paper, it’s also embellished with a small stone at the centre of the wire tie — I’m such a sucker for details like this. There is a soap for each sign of the zodiac, divided into their four groups (air, water, earth & fire) and a specific scent for each group.



As someone who ‘masks’ on the regular, I couldn’t have been more excited to try Vitamin Nectar and even though it ranks up there as of the messier masks I’ve used, it’s totally worth it for the clarity of tone it imparts to skin. Bonus points scored for it being THE best-smelling mask out there. As to the Waterlily soap, it’s absolutely gorgeous – no denying, but unfortunately the fragrance turns out to be a touch too strong for my sensitive nose. That said, I have found a new use for it in my linen closet (and my towels and linens have seriously never smelled better), and wouldn’t any one of these soaps make the perfect hostess gift for that special someone on your holiday circuit list?

Available at Sephora & online



PR samples/As always, all opinions are my own

L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum & Cream



Harmony. The very word brings about a feeling of peace, doesn’t it? L’Occitane agrees and after consulting hundreds of participants, they created a new holistic approach to skincare, one that aims to fuse the body & mind in perfect harmony. It stands to reason; if your skin shows a better texture and tone, then that gives way to a feel-good frame of mind. Harmony.

L’Occitane recently introduced Divine Harmony (Serum and Cream), their newest skincare products in the brand’s lineup that include ingredients powered by the earth and sea. The two stars of the show are Immortelle Millésimée — the flower that never fades, and Jania Rubens — a red algae that continuously regenerates, the pair coming together, well … in harmony, to offer up all their incredible restorative benefits to your skin.

Found on the island of Corsica, Immortelle Millésimée grow freely and abundantly in two special locations, privately owned farms where the sustainably grown flowers are harvested by hand using the traditional sickle method, thus allowing the flowers to slowly fall once they’ve reached full maturity. The is important to note, because this precious flower will only release its potent anti-ageing powers when it’s ready – and not before. Taking anywhere from several weeks — and even longer — to gather, this slower growth means that it may take anywhere from 700 kg to one ton of flowers to produce two litres of this precious essential oil. But then again, immortality has no timetable.

Growing in the clear mineral-rich waters of Revellata Bay in Corsica, Jania Rubens thrives in this sheltered sun drenched marine environment that’s free of any pollutants, finding everything it needs to grow and perpetually regenerate. Upon studying this plant, L’Occitane, in partnership with STARESO (a research centre), then set up a sustainable cultivation program using controlled conditions. Starting by taking a single fragment of the algae and then cultivating that in vitro in an aquarium that replicates the exceptional conditions of its natural habitat, this then made it possible to ‘trigger’ the regeneration process to produce new algae, and in turn obtain its rare 100% natural active extract.

Bound together for the first time, Immortelle Millésimée and Jania Rubens are found in unprecedented concentrations in both the Divine Harmony Serum and Divine Harmony Cream which also happen to come in refillable bottles, thus limiting their environmental impact and furthering the entire concept of harmony.



The flower that never fades, Immortelle Millésimée from Corsica



L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum & Divine Harmony Cream


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum & Divine Harmony Cream


Divine Harmony Serum (CAN $225.00/30 ml, $210.00 refill) | Each refillable bottle of this Serum contains 5,000 micro-drops of Immortelle Millésimée that is suspended within a water-based gel enriched with Jania Rubens. Both of these potent ingredients are thus encapsulated in each tiny drop, protected by a super-fine membrane that waits for the right moment to act upon the skin. Other ingredients include essential oils of:

  • myrtle
  • camelina
  • evening primrose
  • borage

Once dispense via the pump delivery system, each micro-drop delicately bursts upon the skin, spreading effortlessly and vanishing without any greasy residue whatsoever. Its fresh green-floral fragrance makes me immediately think of a sun-drenched field, a scent that dissipates fairly quickly after application. To be used after cleansing, morning and night.


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Serum



Divine Harmony Cream (CAN $200.00/50 ml, $185.00 refill) | Made with the same super-fusion of Immortelle Millésimée and Jania Rubens, along with essential oils of myrtle, camelina, evening primrose, borage & musk, it’s the texture that stands out: once applied to the skin, it evolves from a lightweight cream into a soft oil, thereby allowing the ‘lipophilic active ingredients’ to effectively penetrate into the skin. Scented with the same fragrance as the Serum, it continues the whole sensorial experience — in the least offensive way possible — and gives your skin an immediate softness you can both see and feel. To be used after the Divine Harmony Serum, both morning and night.


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Cream


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Cream


L’Occitane en Provence · Divine Harmony Cream


I am deeply passionate about skincare, especially as I’ve gotten older and understood the importance of protecting my skin, a concept I’m not ashamed to say was quite foreign to me back when I was younger (and totally invincible). It also goes without saying that the better your skin looks and feels, the better you will feel and the better your makeup will apply as well. I’m also quite selective in what products make it as part of my full-time routine and being in this industry, I’m fortunate to have access to so, so many items –although not all are made equal. After having tested both the Divine Harmony Serum and Divine Harmony Cream for over a month now, I can happily say that they have each earned their place in my arsenal, as I’ve seen my skin respond in the best way possible; the tone looks even, the texture feels baby soft, and I feel that some of my fine lines are not as apparent. I’d definitely call that a harmonious result.

Available at all L’Occitane Boutiques and online



Many thanks to L’Occitane en Provence for sponsoring this post/As always, all opinions are my own