Friday, October 30, 2009

EOTD: MAC Style Black/DSquared

Create this easy, soft, glittering smokey eye using some of the products from MAC's Style Black and DSquared collections.

Products used:
MAC Select Concealer NW20
MAC DSquared Greasepaint Stick in V
MAC Style Black Mineralize Eye Shadow in Young Punk
MAC Tecknakohl Liner in Graph Black
Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Very Black
MAC Eyeshadows in Espresso & Cork (for brows)
Dior Diorskin Translucent Powder

Prep your under and inner eye area with concealer - you can also use this on your lid as a base.  Set the concealer with translucent powder.  Make sure to dust a little extra powder underneath your eyes to help remove any potential eye shadow fall out.  Begin by smudging V Greasepaint stick on your lid, blend upwards and outwards with your ring fingertip, also smudge some of the Greasepaint stick on your bottom lid.  You may find this step easiest using a pencil or angled brush.

With a flat eye shadow brush, apply Young Punk by pressing the shadow onto the base you've created with the Greasepaint stick.  Pressing the shadow on will help the fine glitter to adhere to your eye lid.  Also apply Young Punk to the lower lash line using a pencil brush.  Blend the edges of the shadows well using your ring finger tip, pencil brush or q-tip.

Once the shadow is well blended on the edges, using your pencil brush reapply Young Punk to the outer 1/3 of your eyelid, again pressing the shadow into the base.  Work Graphblack liner into your upper lash line and also use it to line your waterline.  Define brows. Curl lashes and finish with two coats of black mascara. Finally using a powder or fan brush, clear away the extra translucent powder (and any shadow fallout) underneath your eye area.

In real life this look is quite a bit more glittery than in the photographs.  However it still has a very soft feeling given that the hard edges have been blended out.  The ultra fine pink glitter on top of the misty violet is fun and feminine but not over-the-top.  This would be a great look for a night out and would work best with very subtle pink lips and cheeks.

All these products are still available on


The Beauty Squared Closet: The Candi Factory

From time to time on Beauty Squared we'll do a bit of fashion blogging. Not too much, mind you, as this is predominantly a blog about make-up and cosmetics. But we wouldn't get very far with just fabulous hair, skin and faces and no clothes, now would we?

So here's the first in our Beauty Squared Closet and we're starting with the basics - underwear!

I've seen these underwear at The Clothing Show and Sale, at shops like Fresh Collective and featured in newspapers and magazines. I've often taken a closer look and contemplated buying them but as I tend to be partial to fancy-looking knickers, these seemed a little too sporty, basic, a wee too crafty-looking for my taste and not my brand of sexy. I like my underthings to be sexy and functional, or just sexy. Rarely just functional and almost never full-coverage. There's also the pricetag - $20 (CDN) for one pair seemed a bit much for something that wasn't covered in lace, made in silk or had ribbon ties at the side. Not for me, I have always thought.

Recently, a friend (who I've always envied for her lithe figure and ability to look incredible in anything she puts on) and I were wander-shopping and popped into Fresh Collective for a browse. She told me how much she love-love-loves these undies and how they're incredibly comfortable, last forever and "prevent butt jiggle". Her butt jiggles??? I thought. Now I was listening!

I started digging through the display to see if there were any styles and colour combinations that I could satisfy my inner Belle with. I was surprised to see that there were! In addition to the polka-dot fabric daisy and bird styles there were lovely silk-screened birds, delightful ruffles, elegant bows in a criss-cross pattern and sweet flowery hearts. My friend ended up buying some for herself and bought the pair I had selected (white with pink trim and a silk-screened lace pattern on the front) as a belated birthday gift for me.

They're made from soft, breathable microfibre (88% nylon and 12% lycra with a cotton gusset) and let me tell you, these ARE incredibly comfy. They're stretchy, but not tight (unless you're wearing the wrong size) and the edges don't dig into your skin. You honestly forget you're wearing them they're so comfortable. There's no squirming, adjusting, digging out, pulling up and they do cover your tush, just as my friend told me they did.

Evidently they hold up remarkably well too - no pilling, fading or shrinking - no matter how you wash them. There's no tag with washing instructions on these - however you want to wash them is fine, although air-dry is better for drying than the drier, but that's the case for any stretchy fabric.

Oh and the men's briefs are pretty cheeky and awesome too. I'm partial to the streetcar/crossword puzzle one.


They're available across Canada and in a few places in the US (click here for locations) and you can order them online as well.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bobbi Brown Holiday 2009: Chrome Eye Shadows

Bobbi Brown always has a large selection of great palettes and gift sets for holiday.  Usually the palettes steal the show - but this year the standout products are the Chrome Eye Shadows.

Available in three colours - Gold, Silver and Pewter, these shadows are outstanding.  They are beautifully metallic, pigmented and just plain gorgeous. These are limited edition.

Left to right: Gold, Silver and Pewter ($26.00 CA)

Gold is a tarnished version of the colour, not your average gold shade by any means.  This subdued darker shade is more sophisticated than brighter golds and will work well on any skin tone, especially when paired with warm browns. Silver is a true silver which is not too white or too blue.  Pewter is a taupey metallic and it is a perfect mix of cool grey tones and slightly warm greeny gold tones.  Pewter is a HG (Holy Grail) eye shadow and will (without any doubt in my mind) look amazing on anyone.  Everyone!

The shadows are very versatile, and can be worn sheer as a wash or layered on more heavily for serious drama.  As well, each shade will look great mixed with other shadows or on it's own with a little black eyeliner and mascara.  Since nabbing these on the weekend, I've already worn Pewter twice this exact way.

Left to right: Gold, Silver and Pewter

I can't recommend these enough.  They really are gorgeous and perfect for all those holiday parties around the corner.  Although they might seem expensive, price per gram they are cheaper than other department store brands. If you love metallic shadows run, don't walk over to your local BB counter and check them out.  I bet you won't be leaving empty handed!


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FOTD: Gunmetal and roses

Shimmery grey eyes and rosy lips: a simple look with a lot of impact. It can be done with a little oomph or a lot and it's a flattering look and colour combination for everyone.

This FOTD has just a little oomph to it. For more oomph I simply add more to the lips and more to the eyes.

Basically, I layered four silvery-greys (mostly loose Bare Escentuals eyeshadows) to get this effect. This wasn't an easy task as working with loose shadows is challenging. I have also done this look using my JoeFresh eyeshadow in Midnight with Bare Escentuals in 1980s on top.

I lined my waterline (inside of my eyes) with Bloom eyeliner in black and smudged it out for a smoky effect. I also used MAC liner in Black as it's much softer than most eyeliner pencils to darken the outer eye line. I layered the darker of the shadows (BE Rockstar) on top and smudged it up onto my lid to the crease. Here's where you can intensify the look if you wish to, by darkening the base colour it'll deepen the effect, no matter what shade you put on top.

I used a combination of the silver-grey shadows on top of this, brushing it up past my crease and layering them to get the effect I wanted. Underneath my eyes I also smudged out the liner and then swept a combination of each colour over top (darker as I moved away from my nose).

Smoky eyes, no matter what colour - black, brown, grey, green, purple, etc - you use, the key is to blend dark into light. The colour at the waterline should be darkest and the colour near (or on) your brow bone should be lightest.

If you prefer, you can tone down this look by not lining your waterline, and using the shadows on your eyelid only (not below the eye). You can also opt to use less shimmery shadows (though you should use some shimmer).

My base is Bare Escentuals in Light and Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil. Also not pictured below is MAC Strada blush which I am wearing on my cheeks and on top of which I applied Benefit Dandelion powder (pictured).

My lips are a combination of MAC See Thru Lip Colour in Secret Crush and one of favourite lipglosses MAC Plushglass in Full For You. My mascara, also a favourite, is Bare Escentuals Buxom in Black.

Apologies for the text in the above photo. I am using a free MAC image editing software and it's giving me trouble so I cannot edit the errors I made above. Please note that the product labelled MAC Lipstain is actually called MAC See Thru Lip Colour in Secret Crush and the lipgloss is called Full For You, not Full of You. 

And there you have it, my gunmetal and rose look. Fairly simple, a little (or a lot) dramatic and it looks good on everyone. Try it!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Link: Amazing Roy Lichtenstein art-inspired make-up!

I came across this on Twitter this morning and had to share it. Check out this absolutely astounding shots of a make-up look inspired by the art of Roy Lichtenstein, the pop artist. When I did my make-up course we had an photoshoot assignment where we had to make our models look like a painting. Everyone else chose classic paintings from Renaissance or Impressionist artists and I was the only one who chose a pop artist, Andy Warhol. So this is right up my alley artistically and speaks to my retro sensibilities too!

Need a Hallowe'en costume idea? Grab a retro costume and try out this make-up and hair look. (The pumpkins are pretty cool too.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Tip Off: Concealer

Today's tip can be summed up in two words: shake it!  If you use liquid concealer in a tube or a wand, make sure to give it a good shake before you use it.  The pigments in the product are often of differing weights and as such can settle as you can see in the photo below.

This also applies to liquid ensure you're getting the right shade and shake it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

LUSTING: This lip colour!

This gorgeous lip colour that Dragonette frontwoman Martina Sorbara is wearing in the photos in the CD booklet for their new CD is very bold, very flattering and oh so covetable!

It's a slightly coralized berry-rose lip colour with some boldness but not too much. It's a colour that can be worn for day if you want that pop of colour and really, there's little prettier than a subtly bold lip at the office or on the subway. For night you can pair this colour with a gunmetal grey eye (VERY flattering on everyone), or with a line of liquid eyeliner, or a grey/black smoky eye.



LUSTING: Kiehl's Acai Collection

The Acai berry is touted for its high antioxidant properties and for those who aren't familiar with the benefits of antioxidants, they are substances and nutrients that slow and prevent damage to our bodies. When the cells of our bodies use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals which can contribute to the development of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Antioxidants help to corral these free radicals, hence slowing or preventing this damage. The same theory is being applied to antioxidants in beauty products. The free radicals generated by our bodies' natural oxidation process are unstable and can attack collagen and elastin in our skin.

And now Kiehl's, one of my favourite cosmetics companies (especially for their skincare), has jumped on the acai berry bandwagon with a new line of acai berry skincare collection. Available as of October 2009, the collection includes:
  • Acai Damage-Minimizing Cleanser (5 oz, $24.50 US)
  • Acai Damage-Protecting Toning Mist (6 oz, $26 US)
  • Acai Damage-Correcting Moisturizer (2.5 oz, $44 US)
  • Acai Damage-Repairing Serum (1.7 oz, $48 US)
Tests were conducted with a group of women, ages 30-65, who used the Acai Collection and these are the (rather impressive) findings:
  • 88% felt a natural tightening of the skin
  • 84% said that skin was brighter
  • 80% reported that skin texture was improved and felt more smooth
  • 78% said that the system improved their skins resiliency
  • 75% of the women noticed a minimization of their fine lines and wrinkles
  • 65% of the women noticed that skin discolorations and dark spots were minimized.
  • Overall, the women reported that skin looked and felt four years younger.
 We'll see if the Acai-berry-as-skincare trend will last, but Kiehl's has consistently impressed me with their products, so regardless of the ingredient, I feel confident saying these'll be great products.

Also, Kiehl's is known for their sample-happy customer service. (How many little Kiehl's pouches do you have in your bathroom/nightstand/shower?) If you live near a Kiehl's go grab your samples of the Acai Collection!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Tip Off: In-shower Moisturizing

 Brrrr! Here in Canada it's getting cooler. No more denying that winter is still months away!

The days are shorter, the wind is chillier and our skin is drier, itchier and more painful. It's all about acclimatizing and in a few months we'll forget how we're suffering now, but in the meantime, here's a tip to at least help your skin transition.

If you're like me, your skin gets itchy, dry, rough and tight. I don't have time to put moisturizer on every morning and I often forget. Last year, Oil of Olay came out with a shower moisturizer which did the trick. You wash as usual and then you slather this stuff on and rinse it off. It leaves your skin smooth and soothed and saves you that extra step of massaging in a body lotion after you've dried off.

Did you know that applying moisturizer after a shower when your skin is still warm and wet (and pores are open) allows it to absorb more deeply and thoroughly? But why spend money on a shower moisturizer when you can just use any lotion in the shower? Same idea and same effect!

I have lots of half-used moisturizers that were either gifts or samples or don't work so well, or for whatever other reason. I've been lining them up in the shower and after I use my bar soap or shower gel, I step out of the spray and slather on body lotion. It blends with the water and forms what feels like a very creamy shower gel but instead of washing your skin, it's moisturizing it. Then step back under the spray and rinse off the excess. Towel off as usual, but you will notice the difference immediately. Obviously, the richer the lotion, the more moisturized your skin but experiment and see what works best for you.

Try it, you'll be amazed how well it works and let us know how this tip works for you!


MAC: Style Black Lip Glosses

Another interesting part of the MAC Style Black collection are the Glimmerglass lip glosses. Photo taken indoors without flash, NC 35 skin.

Left to right: Blackfire, Bling Black and Blackware

Glimmerglass glosses are essentially Dazzleglass glosses. Blackfire is a medium pink glitter in a transparent black base and Bling Black is gold glitter in a transparent black base (the same glitter as in the Style Black Mineralize Eye Shadows). Blackware is essentially a black version of a Cremesheen gloss.

Blackfire and Bling Black are both very wearable on their own or layered over other lipsticks.  Although they look dark in the tube, the black base is transparent enough that you can wear them on their own.  I particularly like Bling Black, as the fine golden shimmer makes lips full & glistening - it would be a great shade on anyone.  Blackware is a fairly pigmented black gloss which is seriously fierce over any red or wine coloured lipstick.

All glosses have a non-sticky gel consistency which, in my opinion, is superior (and less annoying) formula to MAC's Lipglass.  All three glosses get my thumbs up.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MAC: Style Black Lipsticks

The most notable thing about MAC's recent collection, Style Black, was the black lipsticks and glosses. All photos taken indoors without flash, NC 35 skin.

Left to right: Night Violet, Midnight Media and Black Knight

Night Violet is a Mattene lipstick, and is a velvety blackened purple-wine.  A gorgeous, vampy shade great for those who want to go dark but not black.  Midnight Media is also a Mattent, and is a true black.  Although it looks sheer in the swatch, this lipstick can applied with a little pressure will deliver a true, stark black.  Black Knight is a Cremesheen formula, and is the glossy shade you see the model wearing in the promo pics.  This one is sheer and glossy and is best for layering over liner or other lipsticks.  If you ever wanted to vamp up a red you have, this would be a good tube to have on hand.  Both black shades are best applied with a lip brush.

Night Violet is clearly the most wearable of the three shades, but every shade delivers on what they promise.  Regardless of what you choose, just remember to exfoliate your lips thoroughly before reaching for anything dark.  Another good tip for dark shades is to line your whole lip with a flesh toned pencil before you apply the colour with a brush.  Clean up any mistakes with a q-tip dipped in makeup remover and then crisp up your lip line with some foundation or concealer applied with a brush.


Allure Magazine readers vote for Splurges vs Steals

We will continue to give you our personalized picks for Splurges and Steals but here are some more opinions, namely those of Allure readers. 

Do you disagree with any of these? Agree? Want to know more? Tell us!


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Splurge VS Steal: Skincare - Pimple Treatments, Masks and Exfoliators

Looking to see what our recommendations for those specialty skin treatment splurges and steals are? Read on, but first, here are our skin type specifications. We have similar skin types so if you've got dry skin or sensitive skin or something else entirely and want to know if we have any suggestions for your skin type, ask us!

Jill: Combination with an oily t-zone.  I rarely break out but the few pimples I get tend to be fairly  deep & painful.  I sometimes suffer from puffy eyes. I live in an extremely dry climate.

Catherine: Combination skin - normal on my cheeks, oily in my t-zone. My skin is rarely without pimples, but they tend to be small. When I don't exfoliate, my skin gets flaky. I live in Toronto, a city with a temperate, moderately humid climate.

Pimple Treatment

J: SPLURGE - Zeno Acne Clearing System ($129 US)

Ever wish you could zap your zits with your cell phone?  Well this device (which oddly looks like a cell phone) really does help decrease the size and life span of a pimple by delivering heat which helps kill the bacteria responsible for your zit.  It is a sizable investment, but for me it was really worth it.  I've been using mine for somewhere around 5 years.  It won't make large zits dissapear entirely, but it does help prevent them from getting bigger and helps stop the inflammation.  I can't recommend it enough.

C:  I don't use pimple treatments since nothing has ever effectively worked for me. A dab of my Jamieson's Vitamin A Retinol cream helps to speed up the pimple's life span and concealers do the rest for me.


J: SPLURGE - Clarisonic Skincare Brush ($217.00)
Another sizable investment - but let me tell you the Clarisonic really does remove dirt & makeup effectively all the while providing you with light exfoliation.  Since using this product I rarely bother to use other types of exfoliators.

C: SPLURGE - Philosophy The Great Mystery (one-minute deep cleansing daily facial) (5 fl.oz., $25 US)
I used to work at a store that sold Philosophy products, so I got to try many of them. This was one of my favourites. Unfortunately it's not one of the Philosophy products Sephora carries, but it's available on the Philosophy website. It was created to mimic the microdermabrasion effect and it's warming, soothing and incredibly softening. It does what it claims, it's like a very speedy facial and leaves my skin smooth, radiant and softened.

STEAL: Baking soda and water.
You really can't get much more simple than this. A teaspoon of baking soda and a drizzle of water (or your facial cleanser) becomes a softening, very gentle exfoliator in the palm of your hand. It's fantastic for sensitive skin and a good place to start if you're new to exfoliators.


J: SPLURGE:  Proactiv Solution Refining Mask (2.5 oz. $13.95 US)

This sulphur based mask works nicely to reduce oil and more importantly cut down on blemishes.  Like the infomercial suggests, put a dab on your pimples and leave on overnight.  It really helps!

C: I like my masks to draw out impurities, tighten, soothe and smooth my skin and exfoliate.

SPLURGE: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask (3.4 oz, $85 US)
I received a sample of this and it's way more pricey than anything I could ever afford but it is unbelievable on my skin. Every Fresh product I've tried has been like this - it's gorgeous (though pricey) stuff.

STEAL: Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics Mask of Magnaminty (125 g, $9.95)
I used to work for Lush and this is one product that's been stuck in my skincare routine ever since. It's everything a mask should be - minty, deep-cleansing, thick, exfoliating, refreshing. This is great on your feet and back (if you have bacne) too. I've even done an all-over body mask with this. In the summer this is an amazing product because it's so minty, it cools your skin.

Stay tuned for more Splurge VS Steal posts (and feel free to suggest a category). If you haven't already, check out our Splurges VS Steals for Cleansers and our picks for Moisturizers.

As always, give us your opinions and if you have any questions, ask away!


Splurge VS Steal: Skincare - Moisturizers

Here is part two in our Skincare Splurge VS Steal column. You can find part one and part three here and here.

In this post we will share with you our picks for facial moisturizers, but first, here are the descriptions of our skin types so you get a sense of what we're working with.

Jill: Combination with an oily t-zone.  I rarely break out but the few pimples I get tend to be fairly  deep & painful.  I sometimes suffer from puffy eyes. I live in an extremely dry climate.

Catherine: Combination skin - normal on my cheeks, oily in my t-zone. My skin is rarely without pimples, but they tend to be small. When I don't exfoliate, my skin gets flaky. I live in Toronto, a city with a temperate, moderately humid climate.

Day Moisturizer

J: SPLURGE - Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital SPF 30 ($58.00 CA/50 ml)
I'm religious about sunscreen, so the Lancome Beinfait Multi-Vital really does it for me.  Not only does it have a high SPF but it manages to moisturize my dry cheeks AND not turn my t-zone into an oil slick.  It feels wonderful and apparently has vitamins in it.  Now that I'm on a student budget I'm going to have to save my pennies to afford this one!

C: SPLURGE - Philosophy Hope In A Jar (56.7 g/2 oz, $49)
This is one GORGEOUS facial moisturizer and I mean luxurious without being heavy. It feels incredibly soothing and protective on your skin and stays feeling that way on both my (normal skin) cheeks and (oily skin) t-zone. It's absolutely incredible under make-up and you can feel it working like the workhorse it is all day.

STEAL - Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 (75 mL, $33)
I have never come across a drugstore moisturizer that gives me all that Kiehl's Ultra Tinted Moisturizer does so while it's pricier than something you'll find in the aisles of the drugstore, it's a 3 in 1 product! It's a great moisturizer for most skin types, non-greasy and often found in the kits of make-up artists. It's also got a tint to it, so I can often forgo foundation and/or concealer and while the SPF is the absolute minimum you should be wearing, if you use this and a foundation or loose powder with SPF in it, like I do, you're all set! I've done the mixing a facial sunscreen with a moisturizer and it just is so messy and completely unworkable with any make-up, I won't give up my Ultra Tinted Moisturizer without a fight. The untinted version of Ultra is fantastic as well, as is the slightly heavier Ultra Facial Cream which I often use in the winter months.

Night Moisturizer

J: SPLURGE - Aveda Tourmaline Charged Hydrating Creme (approx $35.00 for 50 ml)
I have to admit I got this one free - it is a lovely, rich cream that moisturizes very well without being heavy.  I don't know if the tourmaline has really infused my skin with radiance, but I do wake up well moisturized! Plus it has that characteristic Aveda scent which I like.

C: For night, I believe you MUST MUST MUST use a product that will heal, soothe, repair and renew your skin. That's what your body, brain and skin is doing while you sleep and if you don't take advantage of those precious hours when you're still, unburdened, unstressed and at peace, you are doing yourself an unbelievable disservice. 

SPLURGE - BeneFit's Dear John: A Movin On Facial Cream (60 mL / 2.0 US fl.oz., $40)
OK, so $40 isn't so much a splurge, especially not for a night cream but with my beauty product buying habits and my budget? You bet this is a treat for me to buy. And the bang for your buck is pretty smashing, so to speak. It's a good size jar of gorgeously rich cream that makes my skin feel like buttah. Baby's bum, porcelain, you name it. BeneFit is more known for its make-up (of which I'm also a fan) but their skin care, especially their moisturizers, is surprisingly excellent.

STEAL - Jamieson Laboratories ProVitamina Retinol Renewal Night Cream (120mL/4.2 fl. oz, approx.$20)
I cannot live without this stuff. I use it as a night cream, to relieve uneven skintone and razor burn, on pimples, and basically on anything I don't want on my skin any longer! It's got Retinol and Vitamin A which both work to renew and heal your skin, reducing fine lines, uneven texture and tone, drawing out impurities and assisting with your skin's renewal process. I really don't believe there's much that works on your skin better than Vitamin E and Vitamin A and the purer the form the better. It's really all you need - simple, basic and powerful.

Eye Cream

J: STEAL - Garnier Anti Puff Eye Roller (approx $16.00 CA for 15 ml)
I love using this cooling, slightly tightening eye roller.  I don't have many fine lines, but I do suffer from puffy eyes occasionally.  This caffeine infused serum really helps wake my eyes up in the morning.  Plus the application system is efficient, mess free and feels nice.

C: SPLURGE: - Kiehl's Cryste Marine Firming Eye Treatment (0.5 fl.oz, $36 US)
I admit I have only tried a sample of this but I've had a few of them and it's rich enough that a sample lasts for about a month. It's exactly what I look for in an eye cream - luxurious but not greasy, soothing and it does make a difference in the look and feel of the skin around my eye. I find that regardless of what you use, it is really all about the application process. Tapping very very gently with your pinky, apply the product around your eye socket (where you feel the bone beneath the skin).

So there you have it, our picks for Moisturizing splurges and steals. Do you have any of your own? Want to rave about something you can't live without? If you have any comments or questions - ask us!

C & J

Friday, October 16, 2009

Splurge VS Steal: Skincare - Cleansers, Toners and Eye Makeup Removers

Welcome to a new column for Beauty2 - Splurge VS Steal! In this series, we will dish on our favourite products, both upscale and drugstore.  We hope that our suggestions will give you some options when considering your beauty budget. Steals are generally items that can be found in a drugstore (or kitchen!), while splurges are generally the stuff of department store counters or available online.  Whenever possible, we will give you the most accurate price for the item (in Canadian dollars).

To start off we will describe our skin types to give you a background as to the products we use.

Jill: Combination with an oily t-zone.  I rarely break out but the few pimples I get tend to be fairly  deep & painful.  I sometimes suffer from puffy eyes. I live in an extremely dry climate.

Catherine: Combination skin - normal on my cheeks, oily in my t-zone. My skin is rarely without pimples, but they tend to be small. When I don't exfoliate, my skin gets flaky. I live in Toronto, a city with a temperate, moderately humid climate.

This column is all about cleansing and getting that skin of ours (and yours) as smooth and fresh as possible. It's so very important to wash your face every night so it can do it's thing while you sleep and breathe and refresh. Read on for our picks!


J: SPLURGE - Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild ($20.00 CA)
    STEAL - Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser ($17.99 for 500 ml)

The Clinique cleanser is a great for those who like foaming cleansers but don't want to overstrip their skin.  I like them both but do find the Cetaphil the tiniest bit more drying.

 C: SPLURGE - Philosophy Purity Made Simple (24 fl.oz., $52/16 fl.oz., $42/8 fl.oz., $26)
Purity Made Simple is a multi-purpose product, acting as a cleanser, make-up remover and toner in one. For removing make-up, which I do nearly everyday, this is a fantastic cleanser. For the few days where I'm not wearing make-up or for first thing in the morning, it can be a little drying.

STEAL - Kibio Fresh Pureness Foam(125 mL, approx $12)
Kibio has a fresh, clean scent and I like that I can get it at Shoppers Drug Mart. It's also very effective at removing make-up and doesn't dry out my skin. It's also gentle enough to use in the morning.


J: STEAL - I don't use any!

C: STEAL - I don't use any either, although I will occasionally on summer mornings. In my opinion, toner is an unnecessary product. It does give your skin a fresh, clean feeling so if you like that, go ahead and keep using it. It certainly won't hurt your skin.

Eye Makeup Remover

J: SPLURGE - Lancome Bi-Facial ($34.00 CA for 125 ml)
It has a cult following because it works!  Despite the fact it has an oil component in it, it isn't oily at all.  It is the only remover I know to effectively remove the waterproof mascara I wear everyday.

C: STEAL - I simply wash off my eye make-up with my facial cleanser.
I don't use a separate eye make-up remover because I simply wash my whole face with a facial cleanser (Purity Made Simple works especially well for this). I am extremely cautious about my eye area as I have loose skin there naturally and I know genetically, that's where my face will age the swiftest. I find that using water and a sudsy or creamy cleanser reduces dramatically the tugging and wiping on the eye area and my make-up comes off cleanly! Even MAC's Fluidline and false eyelash glue. Of course, if I wore waterproof mascara, it may be a different story.

For Part Two and Part Three of our Skincare Splurges and Steals featuring our picks for masks, day moisturizer, night moisturizer, eye cream, exfoliators and pimple treatments click here and here.

And as always, let us know what you think, if you have any questions and what your splurge and steal picks are. The two of us have very similar skin types so we want to know what you dry-skinned, sensitive-skinned and problem-skinned folk like and love!

C & J

OPI and Dell? Nail Polish and Computers?

Huh? you might be thinking. I know, I know, nail polish and computers don't normally mix well AT ALL.But now, as reported by Vogue France and, OPI and Dell have paired up to design a line of nail polish laptops. There's something mesmerizing about wet nailpolish - thick, creamy, pigmented, sometimes sparkly, multi-hued. And this is OPI, sweetie darlings - the grand poobah of nail polish!

These laptops are perhaps only for true beauty junkies, but I think the imagery is unspecific enough to appeal to non-nail polish wearers too.

Couldn't you just see these being used in a hair salon? If I hadn't just splurged on a Macbook, I'd be considering a Dell...

Scroll down for more photos.