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I’m always looking for hair styling options that best help me accentuate my natural waves. Sometimes I’ll add a few waves around the crown with a round brush or curling rod. Sometimes I will just let it be. I usually only let it air dry in warmer weather as who wants to walk around waiting for thick head of hair to dry when it’s below zero out? The other thing about cold weather is that the hair is dry. My waves work best when there is some humidity in the air. When I’m in the cooler drier weather, I embrace the blow out. When I’m in a humid or warm environment, forget about it. A blowout can be.  unblown-out in minutes and I’m left with not quite straight, not quite wavy but certainly frizzy clown hair.

from left: Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curls Defining Shampoo, Deep Hydrating Mask, Dry Styling Oil, De-frizz & Detangle Leave-In Conditioner, Curl Defining Lotion

I was excited to try the new Marc Anthony True Professional “Strictly Curls” line when it arrived. The first thing I noticed was the deliciously tart and fresh lemon scent! Honestly this was so refreshing (really!) as it seems everything smells like coconuts and cookies these days. It reminded me of Love’s Fresh Lemon perfume from back in the day – just simple pretty and clean lemons.

The Defining Shampoo is weightless and leaves my hair clean and bouncy. I just love the Deep Hydrating Mask, as it smoothes out my hair without weighing it down. And that lemon fragrance is so invigorating in the shower – I just love it.

The styling products are all fantastic. I have not tried the 7 in 1 Treatment Foam mousse but I plan to. I have used the Curl It Up Volume Curl Spray and it works well, but I think it would be better on finer, less thick hair than mine. After shampooing, I apply the Curl Envy Leave-In Conditioner fairly liberally and comb it through. Then, I spritz the Dry Styling Oil all over my hair as well, avoiding the root area, and comb through again. While my hair is still good and wet, I apply the Curl Defining Lotion from the middle through to the ends of my hair. And here is my secret for a smooth air dry. I use a smooth bristle brush, say like a Tangle Teezer, and gently brush and smooth my hair into the style with the waves I want. The key is to then not touch the hair. No touchy! The more you mess around with and “scrunch” wavy hair, the higher the chances you will end up with frizz. Just leave it be.

day 1 curls

The next day, I use a wide curling rod and grab around six to seven pieces around my crown and add some loose waves. Then, using a wide tooth comb, I blend them into my waves and with the help of dry shampoo, I can go a good five to six days with perfectly soft and bouncy waves. Ta-da! Marc Anthony Strictly Curls is a terrific line for wavy hair at a fantastic price point.

day 5 waves – this is in high humidity

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Sometimes I try a new beauty or skincare product that makes me stop in my tracks and think “I will never need another kind of ________ ever again”. Not often, but it happens. Well, it happened. Chanel has created all the products I need to create the #nomakeupmakeup look I love so much. Easy, quick, flawless and fool proof in one collection.

The CHANEL Healthy Glow Collection, clockwise from top right: Chanel Healthy Glow Les Beiges Eye Shadow Palette, Glow Stick in Blush 23, Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation, and the Retractable Foundation Brush

CHANEL released a cushion foundation this year as part of their Les Beiges Healthy Glow collection and it is magnificent. The whole collection is fantastic and perfect for me and my skin tone and literally makes me feel like I don’t need any other makeup. I’ve been a fan of the Healthy Glow Sheer Powder since it was released (basically photoshop for your face), and the latest addition, Healthy Glow Luminous Powder , is the best way to achieve a subtle glow while evening skin tone. So I was thrilled to review more items from this gorgeous line from CHANEL.

CHANEL Les Beiges Powder has been such a staple for me since it’s release. Love the Luminous Powder just as much!

The CHANEL Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation is my dream foundation product. I’ve never found anything that was light enough to make me want to have it all over my face, that made my skin feel like it could breath, and that didn’t feel like a mask. The consistency is quite thin and liquid, but it is in a cushion formula (sorry no photos, it always looked a mess after I got the sponge into it!) and feels like a little goes a long way. The gel formula is amazing. It adds a glow to skin – not a shine, not a shimmer – yet a glow. See my hands below – first one has nothing on it. The second one has the Gel Touch Foundation (shade 40) blended out. Amazing. For reference, Biddy is wearing #20. It was too light for me, so I went to the counter and tried #30. It ended up being too pink, and I ended up with the #40 which is a little bit tan but blended out it gives the glow I love. Honestly CHANEL Gel Touch Foundation is the only tinted product that truly disappears on my skin just leaving it glowing. Biddy fell in love too – said it just makes skin “perfect”. So far there are no refills, so at $70 CAD, buying a whole new compact each time is pricey. Hoping CHANEL puts out a refill. From what I’ve heard from my friends who work the counters, the only complaint about the Gel Touch they have heard is from people who like medium to full coverage and they find it too light. So if you want light coverage, it’s the one for you!

Nothing

CHANEL Healthy Glow Gel Touch Foundation blended out – FLAWLESS yet looks makeup free.

They released a Healthy Glow Les Beiges shadow collection, which is basically a neutral shadow lovers dream and must have for lovers of a natural and soft eye look. Honestly I could live with ONLY these shades and be happy forever. My daughter Biddy used all but the darkest shade here, with just a touch of CHANEL brown mascara. Gorgeous!

I mean, is this neutral shadow perfection or what?

CHANEL Healthy Glow collection also has a cream blush in the form of a gorgeous and luxe “Sheer Colour  Stick”. I have it in Blush No23 and it has has become my daily go-to blush, as it applies like silk on the skin and blends like a dream. With just a hint of shimmer, the Sheer Colour  Stick adds the perfect blushing glow.A little goes a long way, and if I dust a little Healthy Glow powder on top, it lasts quite well. Biddy used a touch of it on her lips with a bit of the clear Rouge Coco Balm fo the perfect natural lip.

Biddy using everything and only the CHANEL Healthy Glow Collection

Thank you CHANEL, for the Les Beiges Healthy Glow Collection, it’s all I need. It’s available online and at CHANEL counters and boutiques.

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Yes, it’s true, I am a post menopausal woman. Well, I think I am, for the most part. I had a partial hysterectomy in my early forties, so while I still have my ovaries, my period stopped years ago so I don’t have that to help gauge where my cycle is. I’ve had blood tests and take bio identical progesterone, and know my oestrogen levels are probably bottomed out. Aside from some evening “warm flashes” and occasional insomnia and fatigue (normal anyways?), I feel pretty good.

I have definitely seen changes in my skin that feel awfully hormonal. You know those zits that come out of nowhere, around the chin, jaw and mouth. Yeah, those. My skin texture and tone has been changing too. A lot has to do with the sun damage my poor skin suffered in the eighties (wear sunscreen!!!), but of course time changes everything, including the plump dewy skin of our youth. Not that it’s a bad thing, and it’s going to happen whether or not we like it.

Loving my Vichy Rosy Glow

I enjoy the act of pampering myself and self care. Just as much as I enjoy a soothing full body exfoliation, massage and anointing with oils, I love doing the same thing to my face. It’s a meditation and routing that stops me in my day, splashing water on my face, and I’m washing the day away, literally and figuratively. I use a lot of skincare products to pamper my skin, and I find lately that my skin wants to feel plump and glowy. To that end, I use serums, creams and mists to add and lock in the moisture my skin needs. And, credit must be given to the brilliant Dr Trefor Nodwell and the team at The Ottawa Clinic.

As we age, our skin changes – shocking, I know, right? Our cellular renewal and lipid production slow down, leaving us with a thinner epidermis and drier skin. Our collagen production is also reduced, which also thins the skin and can lead to a lack of tone and sagging skin. Our natural exfoliation also slows down – I have really noticed this! And this can make skin look dull. Changes in microcirculation means a decrease of nutrients to our skin cells, and this can make our skin look paler and less rosy.

Hello Vichy Neovadiol Rose Platinium! This is the latest addition to the Vichy Neovadiol skincare collection created exclusively for the skincare needs of the menopausal and post-menopausal woman. Neovadiol Rose is a gorgeous rosy cream that immediately nourishes skin, leaving the perfect healthy rose blush to skin. And it’s full of goodness that helps skin look firmer and plumper after several weeks. I am hooked! Ingredients like beeswax, calcium, that amazing Vichy Thermal Water make for nourished, moisturized and healthy looking skin. A desifying yeast extract and rosy pigments combine for plumped skin and a healthy rosy glowing complexion.

So far I will say this – the soft fragrance smells like Bulgarian roses and I want to use it head to toe. Honestly Vichy – my post-menopausal body would love a Vichy Rose Platinium Body Mist and Serum…I’m just saying. I love the texture and feel of this Vichy Rosy Cream and the instant glow it imparts on my skin. Let’s see what happens over the next several weeks!

Stay tuned to follow my journey trying this amazing new skincare from Vichy, and we will be giving away a basket of gorgeous Vichy goodies to a lucky reader! A 50ml jar of Vichy Rose Platinium Rosy Cream is $56.95 CAD on Vichy.ca and in pharmacies.

this honest review is also a sponsored post
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Look out guys, I’ve got some great fragrances for you to try out and I think you’re going to love them. These new releases really caught my nose, and frankly, these are scents anyone can wear. I put “Man” in the post name because I wanted to catch their attention, but these fragrances would be great for sharing. Because they smell really good. Who doesn’t like that?

From left: Coach For Men Eau de Toilette, L’Occitane L’Homme Cologne Cédrat Eau de Toilette, Guerlain Habit Rouge Dress Code

Coach For Men Eau de Toilette was a must-sniff for me as soon as I heard Anne Flipo was one of the noses behind this new scent. She has created many of my favourites, notably several of my favourite L’Artisan Parfumeur scents (her work listed here). Right off the top, Coach for Men has a soapy clean note that I just love – fresh, with zingy citrus, yet still warm. The lime and ambergris stand out, and make for a zingy fresh sparkle. Geranium, vetiver and coriander give it the freshness a green vibe with some spice. There are more fruits like pear and kumquat, but they are not noticeable, other than adding a slightly sweet fruity note. The suede notes in the dry down play so beautifully with the vetiver and ambregris it’s almost mouth watering. I’ve read a few reviews of women buying this for themselves and I can totally see why. Try this – I think you’ll love it as much as I do. Sold in the men’s fragrance department.

I fell in love with  L’Occitane L’Homme Cologne Cédrat Eau de Toilette  on first sniff. Seriously, this may be one the best masculine’s I’ve tried in a long time. When I sprayed my arm I couldn’t stop smelling it, and even on paper it smells like a bright sunny clear day in a cedar forest near the ocean with a lemon grove nearby. Honestly. The aquatic notes are subtle but the freshness is perfectly executed. The violet leaf note I love so much is perfectly green and soapy, and combined with a touch of lavender, gives that “barbershop” scent I completely adore. The prominent note is, of course, cedar, a fresh cut resinous cedar that is never too dry, thanks to aquatic and citrus notes. Mmmmmm. Pink and black pepper, along with a little ginger, add a wee bit of spice. I would wear this, but I would LOVE my man to wear this. Absolutely gorgeous and must-try. Best part of L’Homme Cologne Cédrat is that they have an extensive bath and body line to go with, making it perfect for gift giving. Sold in L’Occitane stores and online (link above).

And a men’s scent post wouldn’t be complete without a Guerlain fragrance, and the latest flanker in the Habit Rouge line, Dress Code, is indeed a statement fragrance. This is not one I would wear, but I can see a woman wearing this for sure. Habit Rouge Dress Code Eau de Parfum is a play on the original Habit Rouge, which was launched in 1965 and was the first Oriental fragrance for men. The use of sensual vanilla in a men’s fragrance was revolutionary, and is now a delicious Guerlain signature that is impossible to resist. Dress Code 2017 is a fragrance that evolves quite a bit from top notes to the base, almost becoming a different fragrance to my nose. It starts out with gorgeous and bright bergamot and neroli, with just a touch of rose. The heart notes of spices, cedar and patchouli hover above the skin adding a rich depth to the scent. The dry down is where Thierry Wasser works his sensual Guerlain “Wasserade” to turn Dress Code into something entirely different from where it started. Honestly, it’s such a change, you must spray some on to experience it. Swirling together vanilla, tonka bean, vetiver and praline (yes, praline) the dry down somewhat reminds me of Shalimar, but drier and more (duh) masculine. Powdery and smoky – in fact I was sure there was tobacco in Dress Code because that’s exactly how it dries down on my husband. Guerlain Dress Code is one of the most unique men’s fragrances I’ve ever sniffed and I think it is perfect for cooler weather. And ladies – try it for yourself. If Habit Rouge Dress Code had been launched as a super exclusive unisex niche perfume, I know women would buy it in droves. Gorgeous and unusual. Sold in men’s fragrance departments and at Guerlain counters.

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It seems every skincare line out there these days offer all kinds of products to renew and restore your skin. The problem is, these ingredients can leave our skin sensitive, with a rash or in a worst case scenario, we can be left with painful skin that is red, or peeling. Often, these products contain resurfacing and exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, and beta hydroxy acid. Sometimes it’s a cleansing scrub with physical exfoliating ingredients like sugar or salt, or a toner with exfoliating acids. We don’t often know how to use these products correctly, or which products are appropriate for our skin type. If we end up with a product too strong for our skin, or we I over-use it in a fit of skincare enthusiasm, we can end up with a sore face and reactive skin.

And of course, the environment can wreak havoc on our skin as well. Too much sun, harsh weather conditions, excessive cold or heat, sunlight and even hard water can be tough on our skin.

When this happens, I usually revert back to the most gentle and basic skincare routine. This usually involves using the simple and fragrance-free drugstore dermatological skincare lines in my stash, like Cetaphil, CeraVe, Glaxal Base etc. But sometimes my skin needs extra protection, and a healing treatment. I love to apply these at night, when I’ve got nothing else on my face and they can work their healing magic. Here are a few I am currently loving.

Declor Aromessence Rose D’orient Soothing Oil Serum

I’ve been reading rave reviews of Decleor’s Rose D’Orient Soothing Oil Serum for awhile now and I knew I had to try it. It’s a healing oil serum that nourishises, thanks to the base of shea butter which helps regenerate the skin and the deeply hydrating properties of cupuacu butter. It does seem like a heavy waxy product, but it melts on contact with warm fingertips and my face. There are the divine Decleor neroli and rose essential oils, almond to protect against external irritations, rice Wax to protect and improve skin structure, plus beeswax to soften.

I can see using this once or twice a week. One of thing I recall reading in many reviews was how Rose D’orient Balm was great for dry skin, but also for oily and congested skin. I wake up with happy skin when I use this and can’t imagine being without it now. Decleor skincare has a habit of doing that to me! Send help.

Declor Aromessence Rose D’orient Soothing Oil Serum has a solid, almost waxy texture that melts on contact

AERIN Rose Night Table Cream & Overnight Mask

AERIN Rose Night Table Cream & Mask isn’t a balm, but it sure feels like one so it’s getting included in this round up. I am so in love with the AERIN line. Her simple, classic and elegant approach to beauty and fragrance is right up my alley. And one of the things AERIN does perfectly is all the rose things. AERIN Rose Night Table cream is what the original Oil of Olay would have wanted to be when she grew up. I adore the soft rose scent, and the way it soothes and comforts my skin on contact. The scent is very gentle and I find it lovely and calming. I LOVE sleep masks for skin, and AERIN’s is a favourite of mine. My skin is dewy and radiant when I wake up, and Rose Night Table Cream is a fixture on my… night table.

AERIN Rose Night Table Cream & Overnight Mask

Guerlain has always had product designed to help skin in need of healing, radiance and moisture. They started it all with their Midnight Secret serum (now a balm cream) and continue their expertise with their Abeille Royale skincare line. The Abeille Royale Black Bee Honey Balm Repairing Concentrate contains Ouessant Black Bee Honey, which is rich in amino acids, trace elements and high in fructose-content, all of which aid in repairing damaged skin. It also contains Guerlain’s exclusive Royal Jelly, which is rich in exceptional nutrients, proteins, lipids and vitamins. It’s designed for skin that’s been damaged by the environment, aggressive skincare treatments and even cosmetic skincare procedures. It is incredibly soothing, has the softest honeyed fragrance, and leaves me with dewy skin when I wake up. I even use it on my lips. Love it!

Guerlain Abeille Royale Black Bee Honey Balm

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Tuberose is everywhere this season! I am pleasantly surprised by the face that many of this fall’s perfume releases feature white florals. And, considering how much I adore Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia, I swooned when I saw that AERIN had released two new tuberose centric perfumes, I was quite excited! Her Tuberose collection includes a body cream and body wash as well as two perfumes, Tuberose le Jour and Tuberose le Soir.

I raced over to Nordstrom for a sniff and fell instantly in love. We have to remember that AERIN is not only part of the Estée Lauder beauty empire, but that Aerin Lauder is the granddaughter of Estée herself. I’ve always been a lover of Lauder perfumes, and have a lot of respect for the house and their gorgeous compositions.

Aerin started dabbling in perfumes with Lauder released the Private Collection trio of perfumes, and Tuberose Gardenia became an instant love for me. The white floral notes are practically three dimensional in Tuberose Gardenia, and it was clear that Aerin’s passion for beauty and perfume were truly from the heart. I love several of the AERIN perfumes, and the Tuberose duo are true love for me.

AERIN Tuberose le Jour is a bright and sunny tuberose, with sparkling orange blossom, neroli and jasmine backing up the main note. The white floral note are soft yet vivid, and never stringent, with a bit of a soapy vibe, so you know I’m here for it. There is a gentle citrus opening that feels fresh and sunny. The base of soft cozy Cashmeran is just a gentle kiss of woods to warm up the flowers, but the flowers are still front and centre. Its easy to wear, and lasts a decent amount of time on skin. Using an unscented lotion or cream before applying helps longevity. I’ve been wearing it almost every day, and just love it.

AERIN Tuberose le Soir is a deeper richer tuberose, perfectly suited to evening use, as the name implies, but I’ve been wearing it all hours of the day like the rebel I am. The first thing I noticed about Tuberose Le Soir was how much it reminded me of Frederic Malle Carnal Flower. It’s not exactly the same but that’s ok with me, as Carnal Flower is just a bit “much” for my skin. There is a milky coconut vibe that happens in some of the sweet white florals, and it’s there is Le Soir in the softest of ways. Mandarin, bergamot and ylang ylang accent the tuberose beautifully, and combined with the vanilla and sandalwood, Le Soir is sweeter and darker than Le Jour. It’s like tuberose with a little sugar on top – delicious! Le Soir has the beloved bubblegum note that I adore in tuberose perfumes. I always prefer a sweeter softer tuberose versus a nuclear tuberose (like Fracas) and Tuberose le Soir is exactly that.

AERIN perfumes are available at AERIN cosmetic counters like the one at Nordstrom and on AERIN.com

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I’ve been wanting to try the Burberry Fresh Glow items for awhile now, and I finally got my hands on a few items and I am LOVE with them all. They make a soft and natural glowing makeup look easy as pie. The secret is that the soft neutral shades and subdued glow shimmer make it almost impossible to over do it. No disco ball effects here, and the products are so luxe and smooth, they blend seamlessly into skin.

Burberry Lip Colour Contour in Light 02, Fresh Glow Highlighting Pen in Nude Radiance No1, and Fresh Glow Highlighter in Pink Pearl No3

from top: Fresh Glow Highlighter in Pink Pearl No3, Burberry Lip Colour Contour in Light 02, Fresh Glow Highlighting Pen in Nude Radiance No1

I love them with a tinted moisturiser, a powder foundation and a sheer cushion foundation. Or, for a more natural look, use on bare skin with concealer, a little setting powder and cream blush. The Fresh Glow Highlight Pen is dream to work with and it’s silky texture blends like a dream. I use a tiny dot on my inner eyes, tops of cheekbones, bridge and tip of nose, and a little above my upper lip. I dust the Fresh Glow Highlighting Powder where the light hits as well, and the soft focus pink accents the gold of the pen beautifully. The Lip Colour Contour in Light 02 is my perfect soft nude look, with hint of nineties brown. It feel soft and silky on the lip. It’s a balm, and it lasts well enough for me, but if you want a long lasting shade this is probably not your formula. But if you want soft smooth lips, you will adore the smooth texture that appears matte but feels like satin.

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Vichy Mineral 89 fortifying and daily plumping booster

I’ve been testing a new hyaluronic acid serum from Vichy and it’s official. I’m in love. Vichy’s newest serum, Mineral 89, is a fortifying and hydrating daily skin booster that’s loaded with hyaluronic acid. Everyone needs a hyaluronic serum in their routine, and if you are anything like me, and I know many of you skin care junkies out there are exactly like me, you definitely need more than one (insert laughing emoji).

Vichy Mineral 89 has only eleven ingredients and is a pure and powerful formula concentrated with 89% Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water, born in the French volcanoes, and associated with natural hyaluronic acid. Honestly, try spritzing your face with Vichy Mineral Water and then apply Mineral 89. It’s like standing in a waterfall and you have never been so dewy! Mineral 89’s formula help to reinforce our skin barrier function while it hydrates skin and protects it against the world, weather changes, stress, fatigue and pollution. With its fast-acting, quickly absorbed formula, Mineral 89 is perfect for teaming up with all of Vichy skincare routines, being the founding step of any daily hydrating routine. It soaks up beautifully, leaving behind a pill-free beautiful canvas of perfect skin.

I use it day and night. Sometimes alone at night, just to give my skin the light touch. I also use it at night under a moisturising mask. It works under any of my day creams as the perfect base. I also find application of all serums is best done to damp skin! I have many spray toners – rosewater and mineral water being favourites. I mist my whole face, and wait a minute or two, then apply the serum and massage gently all over face, neck and even décolletage if I have enough product on my hands. And ta-da! Glowing radiant skin.

At $39.95 CAD for a 50ml bottle, Vichy Mineral 89 is luxury skincare at what I consider a great price. Sold at Canadian pharmacies and online.

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Can you believe it has been fifteen years since CHANEL released a new perfume as part of their classic collection? The last one was CHANEL Chance, released in 2002. All the perfumes that have landed on CHANEL counters since then have been flankers of their existing perfumes, beautiful on their own but not “new”. So the world was waiting with open arms for the latest release.

After the stunning beauty of CHANEL No5 L’EAU, one of my favourite modern CHANEL perfumes, I was very curious about Gabrielle. I love the sheer gorgeous vibe of L’EAU and had a feeling that they would continue with that style. And they did!

Olivier Polge crafted this Eau de Parfum as an imaginary flower — a radiant and sparkling, purely feminine Chanel blossom based on a bouquet of four white flowers: a rich, enveloping heart of exotic Jasmine shimmers with the fruity green notes of Ylang-Ylang, while fresh and sparkling Orange Blossom shines through, offering a glimpse of Grasse Tuberose captured at its finest. Four points of light that recall the four corners of the bottle.”

CHANEL Gabrielle eau de parfum is a sparkling and pretty jasmine scent and I could’t be happier. I love white floral perfumes – be they rich and decadent, or soft and ethereal. Gabrielle falls into the latter category and is the perfect jasmine perfume for someone who doesn’t like strong perfumes. Gabrielle stays very close to the skin and would only be noticeable to those who get close. It it a gorgeous and elegant composition, as only a CHANEL perfume could be. It is gently sweet, and feels fresh and clean while also smelling feminine and pretty at the same time. 

There’s been a lot of fuss online and even in store about the soft and understated nature of Gabrielle. Yes, it’s VERY soft. If you want something with OOMPH and a big presence, this is likely not your jasmine. But I love a good soft and soapy jasmine and Gabrielle fits the bill. Never overwhelming, never headache inducing, I’ve even worn it to bed. Simply lovely – and sometimes that’s just perfect. 

Olivier Polge (creator of CHANEL Boy and Misia ) is a brilliant perfumer and wove together strands of golden honeyed jasmine, kissed with the greenness of ylang ylang, shimmering orange blossom and just a glimpse of tuberose. A beautiful and delicate floral addition to the CHANEL line up and I highly recommend it to all lovers of white florals!

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I’ve been visiting the good people at The Ottawa Clinic for some skincare treatments lately and have been quite excited to share my experiences with you.

My first step towards better skin was to start undoing the sun damage I have been subjecting my skin to since I first started slathering myself with Hawaiian Dark Tanning Oil when I was around twelve years old. Yikes. And that is not the only way I got the sun damage I have. Years of just walking around, driving in my car with the sunroof open or the top down, and not wearing sunscreen have taken their toll. Sunscreen simply wasn’t a thing in the seventies and eighties.

So. What is sun damage? Basically it is what happens to your skin in the sun. There really is no safe way to enjoy the sun without some sun damage, short of wearing UV protective clothing. Sunscreen helps, but I know from experience that even with judicious application of SPF 50 every forty five minutes to an hour, I still get toasty brown in the sun. Like my father, I can get tan sitting in the shade just having sun reflecting on me. And my skin has paid a price.

My face was starting to show signs of age spots and areas of hyperpigmention that I had barely noticed. When we stare at our own faces every day, subtle changes occurring over the years can be hard to see. And not just my face. My décolletage suffered the worst damage of all. Funny how I would apply sunscreen products to my face every day, but somehow miss my neck and chest. In the past, the only time I burned, it was on my chest. This all came to be painfully obvious after my first visit to The Ottawa Clinic’s Dr. Nodwell.

I agreed to explore some procedures with The Ottawa Clinic to share with my readers here. And at fifty one, addressing the symptoms of ageing on my skin were top on my list of Things To Work On. To be honest, I had never really considered laser treatments, but I think that was only because I didn’t really know what they did. I thought lasers were for SEVERE pigmentation issues, maybe even scarring, but how they worked and what the results could be were a mystery to me. Dr. Nodwell and his nurse Melinda took the time to explain a myriad of options to me, and one of them was their IPL Icon™ Laser Skin Rejuvenation.

IPL is a non-invasive “light based” procedure performed right in their office, and the technology helps clear brown spots (sun spots, age spots, liver spots, melasma), sun damage that includes lost elasticity in skin, and broken blood vessels. One to three treatments are usually all it takes to get clearer skin. The IPL machine has a hand-held device sort of like a glue gun but bigger and much more complicated, and it emits a pulsed light to target the brown spots, sun damage and blood vessels without damaging the surrounding skin. Here is where is gets magical: the light delivered to your skin is attracted to the hyperpigmentation and causes them to slowly disappear through the skin’s natural healing process. There is also a slight skin tightening effect. When the skin is “damaged” by the IPL, your body’s own collagen is stimulated into action and starts healing the skin. So firmer skin is another wonderful side effect of IPL.

Funny – I was still kind of “Sure Jan” about it all, as it sounded rather abstract, and I for one did not have any sun damage! I thought….

So I went to see Melinda for my first treatment. It was to my face and chest, but as it turns out, I am a big baby regarding pain. There was an option for a numbing cream to be applied before but I opted out. Because of my squealing and squirming the intensity had to be dialled down to almost nothing and it still kind of hurt. The results were very light. So, a few weeks later I went back and Melinda obligingly coated my face, neck and chest in the numbing cream. I sat for around 30 minutes to let it sink in, making videos like this:

 

Waiting for my Numbing Cream to Work It's Magic - YouTube

I would say for ME, the numbing cream is a must. I always thought I was pretty tough. Yank on my hair at the salon – no problem. Electrolysis – I actually kind of love it. IPL? Please apply my numbing cream and bring me my blankie. Here we go – warning, absolutely no makeup or filters ahead. You’ve been warmed.

My chest, immediately after the IPL treatment.

So when you look at my skin above, you can obviously see the red spots where the IPL was honing in on sun damage. Little did I know how bad it was. That is what you see as the healing begins. Also, note the skin in my cleavage that is a little like Magda from Something About Mary. But seriously, the skin is damaged and lacking firmness so it’s wrinkled and just too tan.

What happens in the days after IPL treatment, and what can one expect? I was told to expect some redness, and then the age spots and sun spots will come to the surface of the skin and slough off, looking a bit like coffee grounds on the skin. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

This is the evening of the treatment. As you can see, my face has no redness, even though the same strength IPL was used on chest and face.

There is a big difference in the effect of the IPL on my face versus my décolletage. I have been judicious about using facial sunscreen and it was apparent with the lack of redness – there was very little hyper pigmentation. The first treatment I had, that was very light, actually took away most of what little sun damage there was, leaving little brown flakes of skin a few days after the treatment. I might have had a few spots after this treatment, but not many. So as you can plainly see, the IPL only targets hyper-pigmentation. I was HORRIFIED when I saw my chest. At first because it was red and tender, and then when I realised WHY it was red and tender.

Around 8 days post-treatment – note the little black flecks appearing on my chest. A few on my face but not many.

So around a week after treatment, the ugly truth of my sun damage rises to the surface of my skin. I was shocked. But, can you notice the little spots of pale skin in the centre of the dark flakes? That my friends, is virgin skin.

This photo is taken around 10 days after the one above, almost 20 days after the treatment. I am not sure why my face looks like I haven’t slept in a week, but I think I had a migraine.

I should mention that my 30 day recovery is not the norm. I went for the super high level of IPL treatment, and my sun damage was clearly awful. I am waiting another 30 days before the next treatment. But, since I have now seen what my skin looks like under all that sun damage, I am ready for it.

This photo is around 4-5 days after the photo above. I had given my poor cat a bath the night before, hence the scratch. (ps he has never ever scratched me before, he was just trying to escape, poor baby). Pardon my post menopausal acne.

As you can see above, the flaking is subsiding leaving behind pre tan skin with no brown spots. I was concerned about the fact that there are actually visible spots. This is because the sun damage was so extreme, the hyper pigmentation ate up every last drop of energy shot out by the IPL. Dr. Nodwell and Melinda explained to me that they will use a different “grid” pattern to apply the IPL in my next treatment to even out the skint one. It’s pretty dramatic.

This is 30 days post treatment. I cannot explain how soft my skin is, and how beautiful the skin emerging from the IPL treatment is. And it’s getting better every day.

This is around 36 days post-treatment. I’m a bit flushed as I was just out of the bath!

Currently my skin is a soft as a baby, the wrinkles in my cleavage are gone, and the treated spots on my chest are like porcelain. My skin there glows. But, as you can see, there is still some mottling going on, so the next treatment will be done a different grid, to get the remaining sections of pigmented skin.

Stay tuned for the continuation of this series! I will be posting about my subsequent IPL treatment in a few weeks. And, I will go over my divine Botox treatments in my next post!

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