Friday, November 10, 2017

3 Things: Trying out stylist fave hair products


Winter Haircolour 2017
Current haircolour for winter 2017

Ever since I had my hair coloured professionally for the first time last spring, I've been attempting to make a more dedicated effort towards keeping my tresses in shape. Yet from learning how to smooth the frizzies to battling my round brush, it's a whole lot harder than I thought. In celebration of this weekend's Canadian #Contessa2018 Awards held on November 12th in Toronto, which honours those who keep our colour shinning and our hair coiffed, I was challenged to step up my own hair routine using some stylists approved products! Here's my thoughts on 3 products from the week.

Hair products for fall - Contessa2018

For anyone who's ever gone lighter, you'll know that the biggest looming fear is brassiness so my attention immediately gravitated towards the Oligo Blacklight Blue Shampoo* which contains argan oil, amino acids and is also sulfate free. From the first use, I was impressed with the intensity of the purple lather as most of my previous products foamed up white despite appearing coloured in the bottle. I prefer starting off with a clarifying shampoo for the scalp then using this as a second step cleanser and colour refresher but was easy to work with and definitely a step up from your average drugstore option. For conditioning, I reached for one of my favourite brands and their newest blonde enhancing range, the Joico Blonde Life Brightening Masque* which applies as a lightweight cream and gives a great smoothing effect for fine to medium textured hair. I've always been pleased with the texture of Joico's products and this one is no exception and while many people prefer a complete purple set, I do think simply using one colour depositing product in your routine is enough for regular maintenance. To perk up second day hair, I've also started incorporating the Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo* in my morning prep and have been loving the aerosol free pump system! With a quick squeeze of the bottle, a light puff of herbal scented powder dispenses through a nozzle hole in the cap. This smart thinking solves the dichotomy of choosing between messy sprays or messy pour out powders and is both travel friendly and eco friendly. While I wouldn't categorize this as a texturing or heavily oil absorbing product, it does make a great post wash refresher for normal to dry hair and would be an excellent office drawer staple which is exactly where I plan to keep mine. 

Happy hair day,

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tips on sewing a workwear wardrobe


Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

Workwear. One of those words that sounds terribly boring on the surface but has so much inner potential. While I do prefer non-fussy and easy to wear pieces, I also advocate for a working wardrobe that makes you excited and happy to put on clothes in the morning. When it came to off the rack options, my struggles had always been fit and price point. Being short and dressing professionally can often be at odds with each other. And then it suddenly struck me, with a twist in colours and fabric choices, there was no reason that I shouldn't or couldn't sew my own workwear. Here's a peep at what I picked up recently and my plans creating your own ready to work sewing capsule.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

KNOW YOUR ENVIROMENT
Before you get too excited picking out patterns left and right, it's crucial to evaluate your everyday environment both at work and on the way to/from work. This is especially important if you transit as you'll need to account for weather and temperature challenges. Personally, this translates into comfortable but weather proof pieces that will keep warm on the road but still dust off nicely when I step into the office. Full length pants with ankle coverage so I can pair with boots along with an easy pull on waist design so I'm not fumbling with zippers and buttons. Options in crisp wovens or wooly knits would be ideal.

WORKWEAR SETS FOR LAYERING
The magic word of the fashion world, layering is something to keep in mind when planning a handmade wardrobe as well. Lots of brands offer patterns that contain a mix and match set of pieces that you can duplicate in different colours and textures but still maintain a cohesive overall look. These are great if you find a silhouette you love or don't want to fuss with piecing together individual separates. All the hard planning is done for you so all you do is sew it up and go.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

PICK ONE KEY FOCUS
If tackling a whole working capsule seems much too daunting, start off with one key area in your collection that you want to expand. For me, this means tops, blouses and sweaters because while I can get away with wearing the same two pair of pants throughout the week, I am missing interchangeable top pieces that add fun to dressing up. This translated into buying designs for silky tops that will make use of all the fun prints I always see in the fabric store but never know what to do with. Think multi-seasonal, the same pieces could be worn solo or layered under a long vest in the chillier months.

Sewing Workwear - Sewing Patterns

HAVE A VISION
Its sounds like common sense but having a vision of the colour palette or specific fabric for your sewing pattern before you check out means you're more likely to sew  it and see it to completion. I would say this takes the most experience to truly grasp because it's so easy to just see the design as its made in the photo sample. Figure out what element attracts you to that pattern and how will it look with the rest of your closet. When I see Butterick 4136 for example, I know it'll be so stylish as a gingham or tweed skirt paired with tall suede boots and a cozy sweater.

A WORD ON FIT
Just as I started this post talking about the challenges of great fit in a professional capsule closet, I want to end on this note as well. If you do a little extra digging, you will find that the Big 4 (Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, McCalls) do have a few options for petite sizing which means you're more likely to get a better fit straight from the envelope with minimal adjustments. Most of today's picks were chosen for exactly this reason and I can't wait to get started on them.

Follow my sewing progress on Instagram #sewwithgerry through the week to see what I'm making.


Happy Sewing,


Thursday, October 19, 2017

ARMANI | Because Its You & Stronger with You Perfume

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINK

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

They say good things always come in twos. Armani's latest launch plays with the idyllic notion of romance by releasing a fragrance duo that mirrors the masculine and feminine side of love. The softly rounded glass bottles with corresponding ring caps compliment each other yet subtle differences in design and tone set them apart.

Because it's You* is described by Armani as passionate, feminine and magnetic with notes of raspberry, rose absolute and vanilla bean. By contrast, Stronger with You* has warm spicy notes of pink pepper, sage, chestnut and musk which designed to reflect a confident elegance that's at once charming yet mysterious. Paired together, Armani wanted to rewrite a modern youthful love story.

SHOP ARMANI | Sephora | ULTA (50ml @ $90CAD) 

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

Having worn the woman's version and sampled the men's, I think my main conclusion is that this was a brilliantly swoon worthy marketing campaign that fell short of delivering an equally magnificent product. 

Because it's You is launched as a fruity floral and the scent on my skin is incredibly sweet...almost too sweet. It rides on the popularity of sugary scents from the last few years but lacks in wow factor. The opening is strong with a loud raspberry pop that quickly mellows out to reveal layers of rose with a vanilla base. There's certainly a youthful identity tied to this scent that feels like its lingering at the cusp of womanhood but haven't quite found its place. I find the dry down to be quite floral and likable but lacking in complexity. Staying power is average to good, lasting a solid 4-5 hours with a morning application. If you love My Burberry, you'd likely gravitate towards this.

Swinging a complete 180 degrees, Stronger with You has very traditional masculine traits that starts out with the sharp note of cardamon spice and quickly deepens to a familiar musk base. It's more leather jacket than a cashmere turtleneck and more James Dean than Bruce Brosnan. The ode to youthfulness remains consistent and in that sense pairs well with its counterpart. 

Armani Because Its You-Stronger with You

While both perfectly nice scents in their own respective category, I was just underwhelmed by the lack of complexity and depth in both of these bottles. Armani played it safe and delivered an expected duo with a snazzy social media worthy story line. Alternatively with a message like this I would have loved to see an older couple portraying strength and determination throughout the decades rather than young New York lovebirds. While this launch will certainly garner some fans, I question if it has the magic to become a classic.


Take care,



Thursday, October 12, 2017

SHISEIDO | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINK

When it comes to big name beauty brands, Shiseido is an international powerhouse that somehow manages to stay under the radar here in North America. With a whole string of well established sub-brands under its name in the overseas market, I always wishes there would be more to explore yet low and behold Shiseido releases two harmonizing base products; Synchro Skin Luminizing Foundation and Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation. I had the chance to test out the latter in the past few weeks.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

THE BASICS
Brand: Shiseido
Product: Synchro-Skin Foundation SPF20*
Colours: 11 shades
Size: 30ml
Price: 58CAD
Availability: The Bay, Nordstrom, Shiseido counters
Would I (re)purchase: No
Better Alternative: MAC Waterweight Foundation
Website: www.shiseido.com
Note: This product was provided by Influenster & Shiseido as a testing sample. I am not otherwise paid. All thoughts and review details are solely my own. 

Packaged in a sleek frosted pump bottle, the Shiseido Synchro-Skin echoes the fluid lines of familiar Japanese design. Though heavier in glass, it doesn't take up too much space on my vanity however the cap has to be matched a certain way to click closed which has be fickle.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
Due to the formulation, I recommend a vigorous shake before attempting to use the foundation for the first time. The high water content means there's often separation in the bottle so don't be alarmed if the first few pumps are just clear liquid.

Appropriately mixed, the texture of Synchro-Skin is smooth and creamy; easily spread with a brush or a sponge though I personally prefer the latter. The product spreads quite thin over the skin and feels very lightweight.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

COVERAGE & COLOUR
The shade I had been testing out is labeled Neutral on the bottle but the Shiseido's website appears to denote an intensity number which I am not able to find. Upon initial application, the colour looks quite close to my skin tone but is perhaps a smidge dark compared to my neck. There is slight oxidization throughout the day. Unfortunately this foundation doesn't brighten up my complexion and I tend to look dull in a hour or two. See my other foundation matches here.

With varying methods of application, I can achieve a range between light to medium coverage which is great for everyday wear. There is a tendency to cling to dry patches so a heavier moisturizer or a smoothing primer is recommended. Over applying and over buffing the foundation can also emphasize dry patches. The initial dry down is a soft matte but will soften to a satin finish in about 30 minutes.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation
Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation
Shiseido | Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation (shade: Natural)

LONGEVITY
I found average wear to be 4-5 hours on my combination skin before it starts to breakdown so it's not particularly long wearing at all for it's name. Oil control is lacking when worn alone. I prefer the finish on the drier parts of my face after a few hours of wear but by then my forehead will need to be touched up.

SENSITIVITY
This foundation needs proper double cleansing to remove. I initially noticed clogged pores after frequent wear but more thorough cleansing seemed to help. This is something I recommend taking off as soon as you get home instead of waiting around until bedtime.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Foundation

THE FINAL VERDICT
The Shiseido Synchro-Skin Lasting Foundation* is a light to medium coverage creamy product with a satin finish. The finish does look very pretty but it is for a very specific customer; someone who doesn’t have too many dry patches, has normal skin (or prefers to wear a primer) and isn't concerned about longevity. In every sense I simply found this to be a very average foundation. Personally, many things fall short for me but I may potentially give the glow version a try. 

Chat soon,
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

BIOTHERM | Aquasource Ever Plump Night (Sleeping Mask)

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

BIOTHERM- AquaSource Ever Plump Night Review

As one of Biotherm's cornerstone range of skincare, Aquasource had expanded earlier this year to include a new night time offering. Following the popularity of night masks and nightly restorative products recently hitting the Western beauty market, Ever Plump Night* is a duo use moisturizer and sleeping mask formulated to replenish, moisturize and restore skin's balance.

BIOTHERM- AquaSource Ever Plump Night Review

THE BASICS
Brand: Biotherm
Product: Aquasource Ever Plump Night*
Size: 75ml
Price: $65 CAD
Availability: The Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Biotherm counters worldwide
Would I (re)purchase: Probably yes.
Website: www.biotherm.ca

TEXTURE & APPLICATION
Gorgeously packaged in am ombre glass jar, Ever Plump Night* boasts dark cultivated algae extract as it's highlight ingredient and has a marine fragrance similar to the Life Plankton Essence. In the jar, the product behaves like a semi-solid jelly but transforms into a smooth gel once applied to the skin and has a soothing cooling effect on initial contact. While Biotherm describes this as a night time barrier that feels like a second skin, this is something that you can and will feel as a slight film since it doesn't absolutely absorb like a regular moisturizer. I don't find it particularity bothersome but it's probably a texture that's better suited to the cooler season. Although blue in colour, the gel won't turn your face blue nor will it leave any residue on your pillow give you apply the appropriate amount. A small nail sized amount is plenty. As it doesn't quite fully absorb, I'd categorize this more as a mask product.

BIOTHERM- AquaSource Ever Plump Night Review

EFFECTIVENESS
I found this to be a great overnight plumper just like it's namesake and there was a noticeable difference the first morning after. Biotherm is really only marketing this as an overnight moisturizer so for all its intentions I was very satisfied with the results. My skin was smooth, felt refreshed, plumped up and... dare I even say... juicy. My pores and skin texture were temporarily smoothed over and in the mirror my morning face looked well rested. There is some slightly shine since the gel is still sitting as a second layer so I do recommend you rinse off during your am routine. 

SENSITIVITY
The fragrance here while not an issue for me personally, can feel slightly overwhelming if you are new to Biotherm's products. It does linger for about 10 minutes after application. I did not experience any breakouts or sensitive reactions but I would not layer thing over super nourishing products, especially in humid / summer seasons as it can be too heavy and potentially be pore clogging. Rinsing off the morning after is recommended.

HOW I USED IT
After my wash routine, toner, essence and in place of my moisturizer.

OTHER PRODUCTS USED
Omorovicza Mud Cleanser*, Sulwhasoo First Care Essence, MISSHA Time Revolution Night Repair

BIOTHERM- AquaSource Ever Plump Night Review

THE FINAL VERDICT
Biotherm's Aquasource Ever Plump Night* is a great pick me up product to keep by your bedside. Whether you choose to use it nightly as a regular moisturizer or occasionally as a sleeping mask, it plumps up the skin after a hard days work and temporarily smooths over skin texture and fine lines. The gel like texture covers like a thin mask so it is something that takes getting used to but it shouldn't be uncomfortable to use. The large format of the jar slightly offsets the price point compared to other Aquasource products. I would recommend this to those with dehydrated, combination or dry skin types and those in all age groups. The neutral scent and texture of Ever Plump Night lends itself as an inviting unisex product so do share this jar!

Chat soon,
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Monday, September 25, 2017

MISS DIOR | Blooming Bouquet Fragrance

REVIEW | AFFILIATE LINKS

P1010824-1

Sometimes, those teeny tiny samples thrown into your bag at the Sephora beauty counter actually work. Case and point, a few months ago I purchased my very first Dior fragrance and have been quite smitten with it the entire summer. As I was attempting to photograph this tricky all clear bottle complete with its sweet silver tone bow, pink was undoubtedly the right answer to this styling.

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet is an extension of the popular namesake range and is done up in Sicilian orange, pink peony, Damascus rose and white musk. It's categorized as an eau de toilette and comes accompanied by shower gel, hair mist and body milk options. Lighthearted and youthful, Dior describes this as chic, romantic and charming.

SHOP DIOR | Sephora | The Bay | ULTA (30ml @ $64CAD) 

P1010832-2-3

P1010828-2-2

On my skin, this scent is very fresh and girly but doesn't feel like I'm trying too hard. I love that it's a departure from the overly sweet tones dominating perfumes lately and a welcomed breath of fresh air. It's flowers from your foyer in the Hamptons, twirling in your favourite sundress and taking a nap among the wildflowers. Thanks to its soft nature, I also find this to be a great office / day time fragrance as it wears close to the body and isn't cloying or sharp. On another note, this is a short wearing scent so expect to top up if you expect to be floating on a cloud of flowers all day. Personally, I'm happy with a light morning spritz and being on my way.

If you're a fan of scents like Philosophy's Amazing Grace which is currently my signature for 2017, you'll love mixing it up with Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet. And while I am storing this away for the cooler season ahead, I look forward to finishing up the bottle.


Take care,