New Season, New Skin Care

As we move into a new season, it is always good to make changes to your skin care routine (Note: changing seasons are also a good reminder to swap your shampoo and conditioner).

As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors blasting the heat, you may find that you need a richer, more intense moisturizer than what you use during the warmer months. Hydration and exfoliating masks also become your best friend when combatting dryness.

I recently went through all the beauty samples that I had accumulated in the last year and was pleasantly surprised by some of my finds. Even though I never want summer to end, these masks, moisturizers and cleansers will hopefully make the transition into fall more bearable.

Budget Balancing Mask: Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Anti Stress Mask  (

The Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask by Freeman is one of the best masks I have used, budget or otherwise. It has a pleasant sweet/salty/lavender smell, the smooth texture of clay, and leaves your skin soft, radiant, and refreshed. I have fairly sensitive skin and have never had any problems with any Freeman masks. I also highly recommend their Cucumber Peel-Off Mask. If not for the cool, refreshing feeling, than just to pretend that you are Patrick Bateman for ten minutes.

Freeman Dead Sea Minerals Anti-Stress Mask

Freeman Cucumber Peel-Off Mask










Break the Bank Mask: Boscia Luminizing Black Mask (

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask


More than anything, this mask is fun. It looks like pure tar and peels off in one sheet if applied correctly (be sure to keep it away from your eyebrows and hairline as it is quite sticky and will rip out the hair). It is great on sensitive skin and always leaves my skin feeling clean and looking bright. Apply a face oil after using this, and your skin will feel like pure silk.


Oil-Based Cleanser: Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil (

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil

I tend to stick to Murad for use with my Clarisonic and the Aveeno Moisturizing Bar to remove eye makeup. Recently, however, I have been using the ultra-rich Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil. It removes makeup well (I still prefer removing eye makeup with my Aveeno bar) and leaves your skin feeling smooth and hydrated.

To use, shake cleanser and apply to dry skin with dry hands. Gently massage face to remove dirt and oil. Wash with warm water – notice how the previously oily/sticky cleanser becomes almost milky.


Sensitive Skin Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser (

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

For those with sensitive skin, First Aid Beauty’s Face Cleanser is a great transitional product. Formulated for sensitive skin, this product will not irritate and even moisturizes as it gently cleans.

To use, dampen face with warm water and massage a small amount of cleanser onto face. The formula will foam and become milky as you work with the product. Gently rinse off with warm water.


Face Oil 2.0: Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil (

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil

During the warmer months, I swear by Josie Maran’s 100% pure Argan Oil or Light Argan Oil. When your skin starts feeling tight and chapped with the cold weather, however, I find the Seaberry Face Oil is a little more intensive. This oil is still fast absorbing and light enough that you can wear it underneath another cream or SPF.




My First “Anti-Aging” Cream: Lancome Reenergize Lift Multi-Action SPF 15 (

Lancome Renergie Lift Multi-Action SPF 15

I am now at the age where preventative beauty treatments are necessary. My first dip into the “anti-aging” pool is with Lancome’s Renergie Lift Multi-Action SPF 15. Not knowing what to expect, I quickly fell in love with this cream. It is a thicker moisturizer that absorbs quickly and leaves your face feeling quenched.  Your skin also has a refreshed appearance and refined texture immediately.



I am pleasantly surprised by some of the beauty finds in my “sample” drawer. Let me know if you have tried any of these products and how they have worked for you!

My New Favourite Beauty Mecca

When travelling outside of North America, I rarely purchase beauty products. It seems like every thing from Cover Girl mascara to MAC lipstick costs at least twice as much as back home. Fortunately, I discovered the Australian beauty chain, Mecca, in Brisbane’s Queen Street Mall.

The store has a great selection of trusted cosmetics, skincare, and hair care brands like Bobbi Brown, GlamGlow, and Bumble and Bumble, as well as Australian brands. I was especially excited to see a wide assortment of Korres products – one of my favourite beauty brands from Greece.

The best part about Mecca: they have converted US pricing on their exclusive lines, into $AUD. That means brands like Josie Maran, NARS, Mario Badescu, and Korres are as close to US pricing as possible (only you are paying $AUD instead of $USD)

I had a great time shopping in Maxima Wintergarden thanks to the helpful staff, beautiful store, extensive selection. and my new Korres Water Lily body butter.

If you find yourself in Australia, I highly recommend checking it out.

The Australian cosmetics superstore, Mecca Maxima.

The Australian cosmetics superstore, Mecca.

Essential SPFs

It is easy to forget about your SPF routine in the winter darkness. Now that the sun has decided to emerge, it is a good time to replenish your SPF supply and throw out any expired products.

Always remember to apply sunscreen after you wash your face and before your moisturizer and make up. Products with chemical sunscreen ingredients (like oxycinnamate) may be inhibited by some lotions and will not spread evenly on the skin. To be sure your SPF is being absorbed, apply sunscreen, wait for a few minutes, and then continue with your moisturizer and beauty routine. Finally, remember to re-apply throughout the day, especially when sweating.

I make sure to use a minimum SPF 30 so it performs properly with a thinner layer. The risk with SPF 15 is that it will not protect as well if you do not apply a thick enough layer. Here are my favourite SPF’s that have proven themselves swimming in the Mediterranean, exploring Australia, and everywhere in between.

Drug Store Deals

Coppertone Face SPF 30 (oil free) has been a staple in my cosmetics bag for years. It feels light and has great staying power.

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch SPF 30 (oil free) is a recent discovery and a great addition to my sunscreen repertoire. The product is fast absorbing and you cannot feel it once it dries. Because it is oil free, you can use it on your body and face without worrying about break outs.

Ombrelle SPF 60 (oil free) is a little heavier than Coppertone Face, in my opinion, but excellent if you have dry skin. This product is great for sensitive skin and applies easily.

Banana Boat Sport Spray (SPF 30) is always with me for pool days. The nozzle has a wide radius so you can reapply by yourself. This used to be my favourite body sunscreen because of its light feeling…until I tried Hawaiian Tropic.

Sephora Splurge

Unlike most SPF/moisturizer combos, Josie Maran’s Argan Oil Moisturizer (SPF 47) leaves skin fully moisturized. While it feels heavy at first, it absorbs quickly. I have not tried it yet in the summer sun, but it provided great moisture throughout winter.

My SPF staples from Left to Right: Coppertone Oil Free, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch, Ombrelle, Banana Boat Sport Spray, Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizer SPF.

My SPF staples from Left to Right: Coppertone Oil Free, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch, Ombrelle, Banana Boat Sport Spray, Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizer SPF.

Oscar 2015 Beauty: On the Carpet and at Home

Below are some of my favourite beauty looks from the 2015 Oscars. You can easily re-create the looks at home with my tips and product recommendations.

“No Make Up” Make Up

One of my favourite beauty looks for every day is the “no make up” trend. It has been all over the NYFW runways, so it was no surprise that many starlets, including Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Lopez, opted for the trend.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Lopez let their natural beauty shine through with a natural make up look.

Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Lopez let their natural beauty shine through with a natural make up look.

Showstopping Lips

For evenings, I love bold lips and sultry eyes. This look is a classic for the Red Carpet and a definite nod to Old Hollywood. Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jena Dewan all looked confident and beautiful with their statement make up.

Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong'o, and Jena Dewan exuded confidence and glamour with their sultry eyes and bold lips.

Margot Robbie, Lupita Nyong’o, and Jena Dewan exuded confidence and glamour with their sultry eyes and bold lips.

Get the Look

Every look you see on the red carpet has one thing in common: a foundation of healthy, glowing skin.

When prepping your skin for a flawless face, what you put into your body is just as important as what you put on. A healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise (sweating out the toxins!), SPF, and proper nutrition is the best place to start.

1.   When Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemon Water: Cleaning from the Inside Out

Having suffered from acne as a teenager and still having my occasional struggles, I now have the healthiest skin I have ever had in my life. I start each morning by drinking a glass of warm water and lemon juice. Among its many benefits, lemon water helps to cleanse your system of toxins, and maintain skin’s radiance with its antioxidant benefits. Start your day with lemon water, and then eat your greens (if you prefer, have them as a juice or shake) half an hour after drinking your lemon water. Your body will be prepped for digesting and metabolizing all the healthy vitamins they have to offer.

Make sure you are getting all the necessary vitamins. Vitamin E helps maintain healthy skin, eyes and immune system. I always make sure to take my Vitamin E supplement with my Vitamin D (to promote a healthy immune system, bones and teeth). Unless you live in a sunny climate, chances are you are not getting enough Vitamin D from moderate sun exposure.

Vitamin supplements are the second best way of making sure you are getting all your necessary daily vitamins. It is always best to consume the natural vitamin source by enjoying a balanced and colourful diet. The more colour, the more natural vitamins. Kale, spinach, broccoli, beets, red bell peppers, nuts and lean proteins are staples to my daily diet and include a wide range of necessary vitamins.

Please note, the above diet and supplement regimen has helped my skin, but may not be for everyone. Please consult a physician prior to taking supplements or making dietary changes.

2.   Water, Water Everywhere

Staying hydrated is incredibly important to maintain a healthy body, immune system, and flushing out toxins (toxins that can inevitably cause acne). Wherever you are, no matter what time of day, you should always be drinking water. While you should be drinking your 2 Litres throughout the day, I start each morning with 1 L, including my lemon water, so I do not forget. It is easier to drink 1 L than you might think, especially if you prepare a full teapot for personal consumption. Coconut water can also substitute some of your water intake for the day.

3.   Start with a Blank Canvas

Now that you have thoroughly cleansed and purified your body, your skin is surely looking radiant. To create the perfect canvas for your make up, wash your face with a gentle cleanser (or if you have very dry skin, plain water). Pat your face dry with a soft towel making sure not to scrub. You do not want to irritate your skin or spread oils if acne is a concern.

Once skin is cleansed, it is time to moisturize. I start by lightly patting an eye cream onto the eye lid, around the orbital bone, and under the eye.

Use your fourth finger to apply in soft taps so you do not pull the gentle skin around the eye. Next apply your moisturizer and SPF in that order. If using multiple moisturizers, apply them from lightest, to richest formulas.

My preferred moisturizer is Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light, followed by an oil-free SPF. If you are going out at night, skip the SPF so you do not feel the product build-up.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light, available at Sephora.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light, available at Sephora.

To perfect your already glowing complexion, use your fingers to apply a thin layer of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer. Conceal any blemishes and underage dark circles with NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer, gently tapping with your fourth finger. I also blend a small amount of concealer on the upper eye lid to provide a smooth base for eyeshadow, or just to provide a flawless appearance. When you are happy with your blending, use a fluffy brush to dust a sheer translucent powder, like NARS Pressed Powder, over the entire face. This will set your make up base. Keep the pressed powder with you throughout the night for touch ups.

Three steps to a perfect complexion: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for sheer coverage, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and NARS Pressed Powder.

Three steps to a perfect complexion: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer for sheer coverage, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, and NARS Pressed Powder.

4.   Building the Look

Once your skin and base is complete, the rest of the look is easy. Choose either your eyes, your lips, or your cheeks to emphasize, unless you are going monochromatic for the “No Make Up” trend.

Among the Red Carpet trendsetters, there are subtle differences between each of the women.


Make Up Nudists

Jennifer Aniston – Greek Goddess

Jennifer Aniston has perfected the California-Surfer-Greek-Goddess look like no one else. Growing up Greek, myself, she has been a pinnacle of beauty and elegance that I used to shape my own look. To replicate subtle healthy glow, use to products with a bronze hue keeping the skin matte, lips glossy, and eyes bold. Use a matte bronzer, like NARS Bronzing Powder, and apply highlighter under the brow bone and above cheeks for a glowing look. Use a subtle brown gloss with some shimmer, like Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Bare Beige, and load lashes with a curling mascara like Dior Overcurl.

Reese Witherspoon – Pale Perfection

Reese has perfected the “No Make Up” trend, with the only noticeable colour being on the eyes. The subtle orange-brown showcases her blue eyes, and her muted creamy pink lipstick is meant to look like she is not wearing anything. Using a peachy brown eye shadow hue like MAC Eye Shadow in Texture, sweep the colour onto the upper lid and lightly as a liner on the lower lid. Her cheeks are dusted with an ultra-sheer wash of colour, like Clinique Blushing Blush in Aglow, and the lips have just enough colour and sheen to look healthy. Try Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in Salut.

Jennifer Lopez – Glamour Barbie

Jennifer Lopez’s make up is all about big lashes and a luscious, healthy looking Barbie-pink smile. To get the look, prep the eye by applying a thin line of dark eyeliner like Lancome Le Crayon Eye Kohl in Black Coffee  to help false lashes blend in. Next, glue your band of false lashes as close to the lash base as possible. For a dramatic look, choose a dense set like 156 Genevieve by Make Up For Ever. Complete the look with a light pink lipstick with a blue undertone like Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Mistress.


Bold Bombshells

Margot Robbie – Understated in your Face

For going out, Margot Robbie’s look is a personal favourite of mine, and is incredibly easy to pull off. Start with defining your brows with a matte shadow and lightly pulling the colour through the hairs with an angled brush. Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Vintage works well for my dark chestnut brows. Load upper lashes up with a black volumizing mascara like Dior Diorshow, and lower lashes with MAC Extended Play. Finish the look with a matte, orangey-poppy red lipstick, like my personal favourite NARS Heat Wave.

Lupita Nyong’o – Dewy Perfection

When applied with a light touch, luminizers can be your best friend and will take your look to new heights. For Lupita’s dewy skin, mix a little bit of luminizer into your foundation or tinted moisturizer (before applying your setting powder). Her make up artist has used it all over, but you can also control the product and just apply under the brow bone, above the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, and lightly on the chin. Try BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. Next, create a smokey eye look with a cool icy shade like Make Up For Ever Eye Shadow in ME 116 Silver. Polish your pout with a beautiful glossy and glitter bronze like Buxom Full On Lip Polish in Ava.

Jenna Dewan – Magic Mink

Jenna Dewan’s look is all about lush, soft, mink lashes. Similar to Jennifer Lopez’s lash-ious look, apply a thin line of black eye liner to the upper lash line so the lashes blend seamlessly. Try the Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool to wiggle colour as close to the lash roots as possible. Apply a band of dense lashes like Make Up Forever Lash Band 30 Zoe. Finish the look with an electric orange-red lip stick like MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger.

By following my easy make up and skin care tips, you can replicate your very own red carpet beauty look at home. The most important thing with make up is to have fun! If you do not like the look, just wash it off and start again.



I am always on the lookout for new beauty trends, products, and even natural cosmetic alternatives. Beauty, however, starts on the inside, and what you put into your body is just as important as what you use on the outside.

Here is a collection of some of my favourite products, tips, and tricks to looking and feeling your best!