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As I prepare for my upcoming vacation, I’ve begun rounding up what makeup I think I’ll need (which is usually way too much, as usual) but this year I’ve decided to impose certain criteria — if only to make it easier on myself … but more on that later. That said, when the Clarins Water Lip Stain shades came in the other day, I began testing them out pretty much immediately and so far, they’re definitely impressing me enough to make the cut.

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Water Lip Stain (CAN $25.00/each) | The concept is not exactly new; both Dior & YSL have their versions but there’s something quite interesting about these just the same. For starters, the formula which  is composed of 77% water, is also rich in plant ingredients (Organic Raspberry Water & Organic Aloe Vera Extract) and boasts the brand’s Anti-Pollution Complex to help protect against external aggressors. Housed in a transparent tube with a cap coloured to match, the applicator is a small, dense & flexible brush that makes it easy to not only pick up the product for application, but helps in reaching corners and following lip contours as well. The texture is thin and runny – very much like water, in fact, so a little will go a long way, and provides an initial cooling sensation upon application (but which dissipates quickly after that). Here’s the fun part! You can literally customize the colour according to your preferences; by wiping the brush along the inner rim before application, you wind up with less product and once brushed along the lips, you can take it down even further by lightly blotting — this gives the lightest flush of colour. If you’re feeling it, however, you can go in with multiple layers (just let them dry a bit in between) to not only ramp up the intensity, but increase the staying power as well. Note that these bear a sweet candy-like fragrance that’s actually pleasant and rather fun, but it doesn’t last all that much (which is a plus for those with sensitivities).

Now that I’ve told you what these are all about, there’s a few more ways that they can come in handy. For starters, their staying power is amazing — although I can’t vouch for the “300 kisses” part (did someone actually test that by kissing 300 times?!). Next, is how incredibly comfortable these stains are to wear and unlike other products that dry down, my lips continue to feel hydrated throughout the wearing. They can increase the longevity of any lipstick applied on top (no need to go in with a lip liner for the job, which in itself can be quite desiccating), and for those who want a bit of natural-looking lip when at the beach, a light swipe of one of these shades will see you through. You can also layer any of these shades together to create an entirely unique new combo (see the swatches below). Said to dry matte, I found the finish to still have a tiny bit of sheen — which I prefer, in fact and when I layered a coat of the Honey Lip Comfort Oil on top, it was a HOLY MOSES moment; have you ever seen anything THIS glossy? Whoah, indeed.

  • 01 Rose Water – carnation pink
  • 02 Orange Water – lush tangerine
  • 03 Red Water – true red
  • 04 Violet Water – rich berry

01 Honey Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil (CAN $25.00) | From the moment Clarins launched these oils, I have been a fan. The transparent rectangular casing is great for monitoring product usage and comes with a wide flocked paddle-shaped applicator that makes it easy to both pick up & apply the product. The texture leans slightly thick but doesn’t feel sticky, appearing to self-level along the lips, filling in ridges and lip lines as it goes. This version truly does have a honey fragrance that’s quite yummy, and I love how moisturized it leaves my lips feeling — not to mention the beautiful gloss it imparts.

I stated at the top that I’m in the throes of trying to put my vacation makeup bag together and in order to make the process efficient (for once), I’ve decided to go with products that are A) lightweight, B) sweat & humidity proof, and C) multi-tasking. That said, the Water Lip Stains were actually put to a gruelling test yesterday as I went to play tennis outdoors, with a blazing sun overhead and a billion percent humidity. I figured if these can last through that, then they’ve earned a place in my bag. So now the only dilemma is which one to take … ugh, why are these decisions always so hard?

Available at all Clarins counters and online

Kindly provided by Clarins for my unbiased consideration

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Growing up, fragrance was something that only the women in my family used; the most my dad ever applied, was Old Spice aftershave … the scent will forever remind me of him. As I got older and understood that there was a whole world of men’s scents out there, I began gravitating to those counters and more often than not, would spritz several varieties along my wrists. To this day, I actually enjoy wearing a more masculine type of fragrance — which brings me to today’s post. It may be all about the guys, but to paraphrase a famous jingle, “I like it too” (if you’re old enough to remember where this is from, leave me a note in the comments below!)

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I originally intended to have this post up for Father’s Day, but life got in the way [sigh] and while it caused me some stress to not publish on time, I realized that men’s fragrances are not just for one specific day of the year, am I right? So that said, I’ve rounded up some of the latest that have come in to share with you all.

Bleu de CHANEL Parfum (CAN $163.00/100 ml) | The original Bleu de CHANEL Eau de Toilette was created by perfumer Jacques Polge in 2010, followed by an Eau de Parfum version in 2014. This newest release has strayed into uncharted territory with the creation of the first of it’s kind in the realm of men’s fragrances: a perfume. The original cedar-citrusy base has been tweaked to incorporate sandalwood from New Caledonia, a rare species that is in fact protected by CHANEL through sourcing via a sustainable supplier. This lends a lush & creamy tone to this woody scent, elevating it to intense new levels: absolutely sensual, powerful, and yet so totally wearable. For what it’s worth, I am obsessed with wearing a light spritz of this for evening.

PS: I’m planning on devoting an entire post to this perfume, so stay tuned.

Sauvage Eau de Parfum (CAN $110.00/60 ml) | First created in Eau de Toilette form back in 2015 by François Demachy, this intense new version was inspired by that magical “twilight hour”, that time right before evening falls and when you can let all your instincts out. The original woody composition that featured notes of Bergamot, Sichuan Pepper, Lavender and Ambroxan has now been enriched with spices such as Star Anise and Nutmeg along with Papuan Vanilla (originally a Tahitian variety) that is picked green then plunged into hot water, followed by being treated using a solvent-free CO2 extraction method that helps to maintain all its heavenly aroma while also protecting the environment. Rounding things out are dashes of Vetiver to offset all that creaminess and keep things just this side of wild. By the way, Johnny Depp continues to be the face of this fragrance — Sauvage smells EXACTLY the way I always imagined Johnny does … and if I ever got close enough to prove my theory, I’ll let you know.

Habit Rouge Dress Code Eau de Parfum (CAN $130.00/100 ml) | Created by master perfumer (and my friend!) Thierry Wasser in late 2017 and described as an Oriental Woody fragrance, this is the James Bond of the group — the Daniel Craig version, that is. You know what I mean; so elegant & refined on the outside wearing that killer made-to-measure tux, but seething with power and raw sensuality on the inside. Guerlain’s iconic gourmand facet starts off with a fizzy citrusy Neroli-Bergamot combo touched with Rose (you’d think this last one would turn this scent somewhat feminine, but it adds a surprising roundness instead). This deceptively light beginning leads up to a heart of Spices, Patchouli, Leather and Cedar, finally culminating in a base of Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Praline and Vanilla. Basically, this is a fragrance that you won’t forget and one which will have you leaning in for more. Oh, and this is another one that I’ve pretty much appropriated from my husband as well.

Givenchy Gentleman Eau de Parfum (CAN $119.00/100 ml) | First created in 2017 as an Eau de Toilette by perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp, this new iteration comes at you in stealth mode. Described as an aromatic woody-floral-oriental, it starts off with a riff of Pepper and Lavender, quickly followed up by a heart of Tolu Balm and an overdose of Iris Pallida, with earthy Patchouli and seductive Black Vanilla bringing everything to a lush close … and thereby perfectly countering any initial powdery sweetness. The face of this scent is British actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson (google him: OMG material) and the black & white campaign photos so perfectly capture the essence of this fragrance: elegant, sensual and 100% male — but one who’s not afraid to show his vulnerable side either.

Montblanc Legend Night Eau de Parfum (CAN $107.00/100 ml) | Created by perfumers Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, this falls in the oriental woody category, although that might be an oversimplification as this scent is so much more than that. It’s magnetic, in fact. Usually when I think of Montblanc, what comes to mind is exquisite writing instruments (I have been using a Montblanc pen for decades and I’m definitely due for a new version. In fact, I’ve had my eye on the Marilyn Monroe edition for some time now; I just have to summon the courage to fork over the $1,000 for it. Yikes), and yet the brand has been steadily carving a name for themselves in the men’s fragrance genre. The original Legend launched in 2011, followed by Legend Spirit in 2015 — a fresh & lighter version, which leads to this newest iteration: deeper, sophisticated and with touches of mystery. The opening of Clary Sage and Peppermint is enhanced with cool spices such as Bergamot and Cardamom which adds a bright little kick. The scent then moves on to a surprising floral-leaning heart via Lavender and Powdered Violet, but is kept firmly grounded by touches of cedar wood. Finally, it closes the deal with the brand’s signature counter-accord of dense and vibrant Vetiver and Patchouli on one side, with Musk & Black Vanilla on the other, thereby perfectly representing the duality of light and dark. You can think of this as that naughty boy in the gentleman’s club.

Emporio Armani Stronger With You Eau de Toilette (CAN $90.00/50 ml) | Created by perfumer Cecile Matton, this was released late 2017 in tandem with the feminine counterpart ‘Because It’s You’, and from the moment the duo arrived over here, my husband (who happens to be a long-time fan of Armani fragrances), was immediately hooked. To be perfectly honest, I absolutely love this on him and even though I prefer switching things up with my own fragrances (I literally spritz according to mood), I’m not mad that he sticks to this one: it’s so AMAZING. Described as a spicy oriental, there’s a decadent tone that weaves in & out and it basically exudes sensuality & confidence. The top notes — a mix of Cardamom, Pink Peppercorn and Violet Leaves, give way to a smoky Vanilla Jungle Essence which includes Sage..

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Guerlain launched their first Terracotta bronzing powder in 1984 and it became an immediate iconic beauty product. The newest release, Terracotta Light, adds to this storied history via a new lighter texture & vitamin-infused formula … and may very well turn out to be your BFF this summer.

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Terracotta Light 03 Natural Warm (CAN $64.00) | Housed in a faux-tortoiseshell compact case with a full-sized mirror on the inner lid, this powder is available in 6 shades that should cover the range from fair to dark skin tones, although I suspect that those on the two polar extremes complexion-wise (porcelain and very dark) might find it harder to get their ideal match. The unique blend of pigments ensures you get a well rounded glow that never leaves skin looking flat or 2-dimensional, while the cocktail of active ingredients in the formula not only ensures your skin feels hydrated throughout the wearing (unlike some powders that literally feel as if they’re leeching all the moisture out of your skin — ugh), but protects against free radicals and pollution as well.

The shade 03 Natural Warm that I was sent is a perfect match for my skin tone and what’s more, the peachy segments in the powder seem to also add a healthy flush of colour which offsets the bronzer portions. There is a light shimmer overspray on the surface, but interestingly while the majority will get swiped away, the powder holds some glimmer just the same, which helps in providing a soft radiance. I’ve been a long time fan of Guerlain’s Terracotta range of bronzing products and openly admit that they’re the ones I reach for the most. The texture is so incredibly fine milled that it seems to fuse with the skin while providing a natural-looking glow, without ever looking like it’s sitting at surface level. Then there’s the fragrance …. le sigh …. Ylang-Ylang, Orange Blossom, Tonka Bean, Vanilla & White Musk — all of which pretty much equal a tropical getaway, in my opinion. Yes, I love it. By the way, those with sensitivities should note that the scent dissipates fairly quickly after application.

I have a rather extensive collection of Terracotta bronzers, so when I went looking for duplicates to Terracotta Light, I was surprised that the job turned out to be so hard. In the end I went on Insta Story and asked my followers what they’d like to see it compared to and these are the results. By the way, make sure you’re following me on Instagram (@ommorphia) to not miss out on beauty news & other fun stuff — I frequently post sneak peeks over there!

I’ll keep this simple; Guerlain’s Terracotta bronzers are truly some of the best there are. The shades available used to favour light to medium complexions and specifically those with a rosy cast to their skin, but the brand has made advances in colour selection and now embraces a much broader spectrum — props for that. Oh, apart from wearing this bronzer in the traditional way (the well-known “3” shape that goes from the temples to the cheeks and finally the jawline), I’ve been loving it as eyeshadow as well. Try it; you’ll see what I mean.

Available at Guerlain Boutiques and select Guerlain counters

Kindly provided by Guerlain for my unbiased consideration 

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Ever wonder what a $690 serum feels like? How about a $900 moisturizer? For Day 5 and to wrap up my Skincare Week of posts, I’m taking you over to the realm of über-luxury via this White Caviar duo from Swiss brand La Prairie. Jaw-dropping factor aside, I have a confession to make: I was actually a little hesitant to begin testing these products out, mainly because I was afraid I’d wind up really, really liking them. Spoiler alert: I should have listened to that inner voice …

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Just by looking at the well-crafted silver outer boxes, you know you’re holding something special and while I’m not a fan of excessive packaging, there’s a side of me that really loves attention to detail like this.

This collection is all about harnessing the power of light — obviously not in a literal sense, but you get the concept. The entire White Caviar range is infused with rare Golden Caviar Extract and aims to brighten & firm the skin while helping to banish discolourations, providing you with the most even-toned complexion … and thus effectively bringing ‘light’ to your skin.

White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion (CAN $690.00) | Created with rare golden caviar, this serum targets 3 signs of discolouration: age spots, redness, and greyness (I actually didn’t even know that this last one was a thing, but now I get it). Housed in a clear bottle with a pump dispenser, the visible little pearls are filled with the beneficial active ingredients and come suspended in a transparent film — their precious contents released onto your fingertips only at the point of application (this maintains their integrity right until first contact, thus preserving the serum’s effectiveness). One pump is actually all you need, and after warming it up slightly between fingers, you then apply it all over the face, neck, and décolleté. The texture has a lovely slip to it, spreading easily along the skin and is quickly absorbed, leaving no residue behind.

TIP: after dispensing one pump onto my fingertips, I press them together to warm up the serum and then using a patting motion, I literally ‘press’ the product onto my skin — going in first with the cheeks, forehead, and lastly the neck/décolleté. Once that’s done, I quickly massage the entire product into my skin, using an upward motion.

White Caviar Crème Extraordinaire (CAN $900.00) | Housed in a luxe jar that opens via a hinged cap — and which closely resembles a jewelry box complete with a mirror on the inner lid, no less (this is such a convenient touch; no fumbling around unscrewing a lid), this cream comes with an airless pump dispenser system; one firm press on the round inverted button yields enough product which then pops out through the sealed opening on top. This system ensures you get the amount needed per application, while preserving the integrity and complete effectiveness of the ingredients on the inside.

Following years of research that included sifting over 50,000 ingredients to find that single most powerful brightening active, La Prairie zeroed in on Lumidose, a patented molecule that has proven to be most effective in supporting the inhibition of melanin, the pigment that’s the culprit behind dark spots and discolourations. According to the brand’s research:

“Melanin production is controlled primarily by one key enzyme for melanin synthesis: Tyrosinase. Of all the ingredients La Prairie screened, Lumidose has the lowest IC50-value, the concentration required for 50 per cent inhibition of Tyrosinase activity — making it the most powerful inhibitor for human Tyrosinase known. The potency of Lumidose lies in the extremely efficient disruption of melanin formation, leading to a more even complexion”

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For Day 4 of my Skincare Series, I bring your attention to another brand that was born & continues to be made here in my hometown of Montreal: introducing Peoni Skincare, the brainchild of Jennifer Brodeur aka: the Skin Guru … a woman, who among her many accomplishments (she’s taught biology & chemistry and is the mastermind behind the MAX+, a highly sought after LED light-therapy machine) also happens to be the skincare specialist for none other than Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama, to name but a few. Pairing an organic and holistic approach to skincare that’s married with ground-breaking anti-aging technology, what makes Peoni even more impressive is this one simple fact: there are only 4 products in the range. In this day & age of excess, this feels almost revolutionary … and so absolutely welcome.

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Meet: Jennifer Brodeur, the Skin Guru

With over 20 years experience in the aesthetics industry, Jennifer is considered a pioneer and visionary by her peers. Her extensive research has led her to create a skincare range that is not only simple to use, but centred around a holistic approach that is based on organic ingredients. With a firm belief that nature truly offers all we need to create a ‘wholesome skincare’ regimen, this mother of 3 beautiful daughters looked to the peony — the star ingredient which forms the basis of the entire range. Cultivated in China since 900 B.C., the peony flower has been known for its unique antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties and forms part of one of the oldest remedies in Chinese medicine. Adding to this already impressive list of attributes, are green tea, licorice root, and vitamins to further strengthen each formula. What you will NOT find in any Peoni product, however, is: mineral oil, gluten, animal products, pegs, parabens, phthalates, dyes, or colorants.

Le Nettoyant (CAN $60.00/200 ml) | This creamy & pearly-looking cleanser not only effectively & safely removes makeup and impurities that collect upon the skin’s surface, but treats and nourishes your complexion while cleansing. Key ingredients include organic aloe, peony, argan oil, green tea, and Vitamin E. To use, you apply approx 2 pumps to damp skin, add a bit of cold water to massage and activate the full effect, then rinse. The result is skin that passes the white towel test (i.e.: when you dry with a white towel after cleansing and still see residue — no bueno), and all without that dry & tight feel left behind of some other cleansers.

L’Essence (CAN $60.00/200 ml) | This is a toner unlike any I’ve used to date; made with  the powerful properties of organic aloe, willow bark, green tea, grape seed extract, and alteromonas ferment from the deep sea, you can either spray this directly on the face or onto a cotton pad for application to the skin (which turned out to be easier for me, as I found that the spray nozzle on my bottle was a tad strong). The aim of L’Essence is many-sided; it will stimulate circulation, encourage cell turnover, and improve skin elasticity over time — and all of this captured in one simple bottle. Ideally used after cleansing and before applying La Crème.

L’Extrait (CAN $225.00 150.00/30 ml) | The powerhouse of the entire range, this is to be considered more of an “as needed” type of treatment, as it packs quite the impact. Containing the purest extract of the original flowers and plants, along with green tea leaves, licorice root, Rosa Rubiginosa, and Kakadu Plum for even more wrinkle-fighting power, the secret lies in just one tiny drop; seriously, all you need is one drop warmed up in your hands and applied to face and/or neck (or both, as I prefer doing); don’t be stunned when within a very short time indeed, you wake up to gorgeously glowing skin. For the record, the first time I tried using this oil, I applied about 5 drops which was serious overkill — I ended up massaging the excess into my hands & cuticles, so it was all good, but learn from my mistake. Oh, and did I mention how absolutely lovely it smells? And I don’t mean fake-perfumey either, but more fresh garden-like.

La Crème (CAN $195.00/50 ml) | Finally, we come to the product that brings it all together, the queen moisturizer of the range. Containing peony extract, green tea, vitamins, gotu kola, and other organic plant extracts, you’d think that this cream would indeed feel rather heavy along the skin but instead, it has a lightweight texture that absorbs beautifully … like magic. Used morning and night for best results, I am also somewhat obsessed over the fact that you can pump out the product for ease of use — not to mention how incredible my skin has been both behaving & appearing since I began using this cream … and feels so soft too! Sweetening the deal is the subtle yet absolutely heavenly fragrance … love!

When word of mouth spreads like wildfire, it pays to take notice; Jennifer’s expertise and talents are very in demand (which reminds me: I definitely plan on setting up a facial & interview with her ASAP) and even without Oprah’s support, I suspect that Peoni would have gone far just the same. Why? Because the products work. It’s that simple. Actually, when I received this collection, there was a note included telling me to “get ready to glow”, and I confess to being rather skeptical; then one day about 3 days into testing, I happened to catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror which made me come to a stop: I’ll be damned — I had what can only be described as a red-carpet glow. A regimen that is pared down to bare essentials, uses only the very best ingredients derived from natural sources, and consistently produces amazing results — what’s not to love? For what it’s worth, this range has a new fan. Me.

Available at www.jbskinguru.com

Kindly provided by Jennifer Brodeur for my unbiased consideration

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Unintentionally, as I’ve been getting older my focus appears to be shifting more & more towards skincare — not that my love of makeup is going anywhere soon, mind you. That said and for Day 3 of my Skincare Week series, when I was recently approached to partner up and review the Ultime range from IDC+, a brand founded by brothers Eric & Luc Dupont, that happens to be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year AND which hails from my home province of Québec, I was simultaneously proud, intrigued, and excited; I’m always ready to play guinea pig for you guys, and boy will you want to know more about these products. For real.

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Further below, you’ll find an exclusive interview that I was able to score with IDC’s Internal Trainer, Nancy Labonté — read on after the product breakdown to learn more about IDC+ as well as where the future of skincare is headed. As an added perk, IDC is also offering a 15% discount to all my readers (yay!) by using the promo code EUGENIAIDC (oh, and shipping is free on orders over $95.00 which only makes it sweeter!)

One of the star players in the Ultime range, is the brand’s patented REGEN(16) technology which has been created to address all 16 causes of skin aging in a single formula. Made with plant extracts, peptides, Biotech ingredients, and marine extracts, this is cutting-edge and clinically-tested performance power to provide optimal age-fighting (or as I prefer to call it, “age-enhancing”) benefits to your skin. The range targets two levels — one addresses concerns and the other simultaneously helps to correct them. These are made up of the following:

Pro-Youth (includes):

  • hydration (maintains skin suppleness & prevents excessive flaking)
  • barrier function (to protect from external aggressors & minimize water loss)
  • cell anchorage to the extracellular matrix (supports proper fibroblast function for skin firmness)
  • energy production (for vibrant-looking complexion & tissue vitality)
  • oxygenation (to help revitalize the complexion)
  • ECM fiber synthesis (for tone and elasticity)
  • immunity (protection against harmful external aggressors)
  • dermal-epidermal junction cohesion (contributes to skin firmness & prevents skin sagging)

Pro-Aging Mechanisms (includes):

  • oxidation (damage of dermal & epidermal layers that lead to accentuated wrinkles)
  • pigmentation (influences that lead to the appearance of discolouration)
  • keratinization (build up of dead cells on skin’s surface)
  • glycation (loss of elasticity and firmness in skin’s ECM fibers)
  • DNA damage (cell division and premature aging signs)
  • skin matrix degradation (enzyme production which leads to MEC fibre weakening)
  • inflammation (acceleration of premature skin aging, enlarged pores, skin blotchiness & reddening)
  • microcirculation (responsible for dark circles, puffiness & rosacea)

Ultime Age Absolu Anti-Aging Serum (CAN $129.99/30 ml) | diminishes the appearance of deep wrinkles, visibly improves skin elasticity density & volume, helps to tone and tighten skin for a more sculpted facial contour appearance.

Ultime Night Absolute Anti-Aging Cream (CAN $149.99/50 ml) | a high potency cream created to work overnight containing a supercharged cocktail of anti-aging and hydrating ingredients (no joke, but you seriously wake up to baby-butt soft skin).

Ultime Eyes Restructuring and Lifting Serum (CAN $76.99/15 ml) | works the entire orbital zone; helps in lifting the upper eyelid, diminishes the appearance of deep wrinkles, dark circles, puffiness and droopy eyelids, all while firming, smoothening and helping to refine the texture of the delicate skin around eyes.

Ultime Expression+ Deep Wrinkles Concentrate (CAN $79.99/15 ml) | jam-packed with ingredients that target localized wrinkles, including crow’s feet, frown lines (that dreaded #11 between brows — ugh), lip contours, and other bothersome expression lines. And all without needing to resort to invasive procedures, thank you very much.

Ultime Comfort Anti-Aging Anti-Redness Serum (CAN $109.99/30 ml) | helps to soothe skin while also promoting a more toned appearance, visibly reduces signs of redness and surface inflammation. Please note that this serum is currently exclusively available at Jean Coutu, and will be available online at www.idcdermo.com as of September 2018

It’s a pleasure to meet you Nancy, and thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me & my readers!

NL: It is such a pleasure to meet you and by the same occasion meet your readers! Thank you for having me!

IDC is a brand that has been steadily making an impact in the market — what is it that makes this brand stand out in the world of skincare?

NL: “After selling ingredients to major cosmetic companies, we realized that the guidelines for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries were very different. In cosmetics, too often the concentration of ingredients in the finished formula were not as high, leading to a lack of efficacy. Customers paid for empty marketing claims and products formulated for their sensory attributes. We wanted to change that.  IDC relies on decades of expertise in discovering groundbreaking molecules, and a multidisciplinary team of skin specialists that stay up-to-date on the latest anti-aging research. We built a reputation on safe, stable and clinically efficient formulas.”

Regarding the Ultime range, in your opinion is there a “hero” product?

NL: Each collection indeed has its own pillar or “hero” product, a product that personifies the essence of the collection.  The Ultime Collection enhances skin’s density and elasticity, and smoothes deep lines, with highly concentrated REGEN(16).  The hero product in this collection is the “Ultim Age Absolu” serum, a regenerating and restructuring anti-aging serum.  This customer favorite diminishes the appearance of the most stubborn deep wrinkles, visibly improves skin elasticity, density, and volume and visibly tones and tightens skin for a sculpted facial contour appearance.

As products are usually created to work synergistically together, can someone still “mix & match” other ranges from IDC?

NL: Yes they can.  Our skin is our largest organ and can be nourished from the inside out.  When applying a well-balanced and intelligently formulated cosmetic product, your skin will benefit from its concentration of cosmetic molecules.  The key is selecting good products that have been tested clinically and are formulated with nourishing active ingredients. However, as you mentioned, products from a same range are usually formulated to work synergistically.  By choosing same brand products, one might potentially expect additional benefits from their daily beauty ritual.

What makes REGEN(16) such an interesting ingredient, and is it unique to IDC?

NL: “REGEN(16) came after years of researching the causes of skin aging and finding the best molecules to counter them all at once. IDC created REGEN(16) technology 10 years ago to target all 16 causes of skin aging. It delivers visible results and effectively combines the benefits of many traditional anti-aging skincare products into a single formula. It’s supported by eight clinical studies and rigorous tests, making IDC a safe and leading evidence-based skincare brand.

Lastly, what innovations in the world of skincare can we expect to see from IDC coming soon?

NL: I could tell you but I would have to kill you !  Seriously, IDC has constant ongoing R&D projects and before an IDC product can be commercialized, years and countless R&D steps are expected.  We want to bring innovation to our customers but above all, we want to offer them safe, effective and clinically tested products to assure their skin benefits from the best. We keep ourselves informed of innovations and launches in the cosmetic active industry and incorporate these novel technologies when their efficacy, safety and stability have been proven by our R&D team. Currently, digital and urban pollution is on our radar, but also developing truly effective all-in-one anti-aging products for the demanding and busy woman.

After having used the Ultime range for several weeks now, I feel comfortable in giving you my honest opinion (as you lovely people know by now, I’m always totally up front with you — regardless of whether a product is sponsored or not. It’s just how I roll). The verdict? I am beyond thrilled with the results I’ve seen and expect to continue seeing. Without the specialized equipment needed to test my skin density, I can only rely on visual clues and how I feel, and what I’m seeing is impressive: my skin not only feels smoother, but I’m noticing that those pesky fine lines are seriously less noticeable as well. The biggest surprise, however, is that my pores have greatly diminished — especially on my nose where they were really noticeable. This unexpected bonus has not only further proved that something (or everything) here is truly working, but helps my makeup look that much better as well. For anyone who’s concerned about targeting skin’s aging process, or even if you want to get a jump-start on helping to keep your complexion at its optimum best, Ultime has you covered (and won’t break the bank either).

Available at www.idcdermo.com (includes a retailer list for your nearest location)

This post was kindly sponsored by IDC, all opinions are my own

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Filed under strange but true facts: when most people think of skincare, they rarely include the neck (or décolletage) in their daily regimen, but believe it or not, those are areas that show some of the most obvious signs of skin aging. Also, thanks to the digital age we currently live in, “tech-neck” is now a thing. And I don’t mean that in a positive way, either — but stay with me here, because there’s hope on the horizon. For Day 2 of my skincare series and from the brand that continues to earn my loyalty thanks to some totally kick-ass (and affordable) products, comes the new Contour+ Scuplting Gel Concentrate, specifically created for the afore-mentioned areas. Cue the angelic choir …

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Jouviance Contour+ Sculpting Gel Concentrate (CAN $75.00) | I’m going to start off with a rather alarming trend: the issue of wrinkles and sagging below the neck and along the jowls, is now starting on average 10 years earlier than it used to. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. If you happen to be someone who owns more than one digital device i.e.: cell phone, laptop, tablet (me), and peek at any of said devices approximately 150 times or anywhere between 2-4 hours per day (also, me), then you need to pay attention. This lifestyle has resulted in what dermatologists have dubbed “tech-neck”, wherein this constant bending to look at screens is leading to an acceleration in sagging skin, dropping jowls (are you scared yet?), and that distinct crease above the clavicle — and scariest of all, it’s now negatively impacting the 18-39 year old demographic.

In fact, where previous generations were mainly concerned with addressing their T-zone, they now need to focus more on their Y-zone (lower face, throat & neck), because all this technology has definitely come at a price. Now, one solution is available via this latest release from Montréal-based Jouviance, a brand from my home town of Montréal — and moreover, one that I’ve come to trust completely due to the phenomenal results I’ve experienced with all of their products that I’ve tried out thus far.

How Contour+ works, is by combatting this loss of firmness and elasticity via the help of several proven ingredients, namely:

  • Liftonin-Xpert (an active ingredient extracted from the sap of Yellow Bulbine found in Africa,  called the ‘face, neck & décolleté architect’)
  • Actificol (a shiitake extract known as the elixir of life and which helps in collagen synthesis, also responsible for helping control the collagen degradation process)
  • Filmexel (a tensor agent and active ingredient that forms a biomimetic film i.e.: a resistant, flexible and non-occlusive film along skin to provide an immediate lifting action)
  • Gatulene In-Tense (naturally derived from acmella flowers to provide a firming, lifting and resculpting effect on skin)
  • Hyaluronic Acid (a natural component of the skin, and a key player in maintaining hydration levels, along with contributing to elasticity, firmness and volume)

Skin slackening is caused by many factors, genetics among them — but the repetitive action of bending down to look at screens, is the main culprit behind the increase seen lately. This has led to a decrease in collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and hydration at the dermal level — all areas that Contour+ aims to target. I’ll be honest: my neck and the increase I’ve noticed in lines and loss of firmness, has been bothering me for quite some time now, so I couldn’t wait to give this product a shot.

Application TIP: start by dispensing 1 pump of product onto the tips of fingers, warming that up with fingers pressed together, then applying that along the neck and décolletage using an upwards motion.

The first week of consistent twice-daily use, didn’t really wow me — and even though I know better than to expect immediate results, I still hoped to see something. Anything. Then, something changed mid-way through my second week of testing; I saw a marked improvement along the skin of my neck and the area between my boobs (yup … I’m taking no chances and smearing this EVERYWHERE). I’m now wrapping up my 4th week and while my neck certainly isn’t line-free, it’s not the bane of my existence it was before I began my testing. I’ll go so far as to say that the skin along my neck and décolletage appears firmer, somewhat plumper, and smoother. See? It pays to be consistent and to hang in there … good things happen when you do.

I’ve always used the ‘French Application’ method for my skincare; a process that encompasses my entire face, ear lobes, and neck — although I haven’t always gone as far as the décolleté. I also take any excess left over and massage it into my hands and cuticles. You’d think that with all that attention, my neck would be in better firmer shape, but I’m proof positive of the downside to all this technology. That said, I now take steps to try and limit my neck bending (it’s hard, but I’m hoping to make it a habit to keep my devices at eye level) and more importantly, Contour+ has now become my newest BFF & best weapon to fight the dreaded sag … a worthwhile investment, you might say.

Available online and through Shopper’s Drug Mart/Pharmaprix stores across Canada

Kindly provided by Jouviance for my unbiased consideration

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Today marks Day 1 of “skincare week” (I recently put out a poll on my Insta Stories asking if you guys would like me to do something like this, and the answer was a resounding YES! By the way, if you’re not already following, come join me on Instagram @ommorphia so you don’t miss out on all the latest beauty & skincare news!) and I’m starting things off with the Capture Youth Collection, one of Dior’s latest — and in my opinion — most unique skincare launches to date. In fact, taking care of your skin just got that much more personal, thanks to these incredible serums.

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As someone who is rather skincare-obsessed, I greet each new launch with absolute excitement and Dior is a brand that has been really impressing me of late, so I was naturally curious to dive into this collection. According to the press info, this range is technically geared for a younger demographic (the 25 to 30-something set) than I fall into, but honestly, don’t let the numbers distract; everyone — regardless of age — can truly benefit from these products.

Capture Youth Age-Delay Serum (CAN $120.00/each) | These serums may have been created to work synergistically with the Age-Delay Advanced Cream, but you can also use them in conjunction with other products and still see amazing results. There are 3 ways in which each serum can be used, meaning that you can basically tailor the effect to meet your desired needs: apply your selected serum [straight up] followed by the cream, add a few drops of serum directly into the cream — mix together & apply, or finally use your chosen serum followed by your usual moisturizer for 30 days (morning & night) as an intensive treatment, especially useful for when your skin is feeling and/or looking particularly stressed out.

  • Lift Sculptor – a high performance resculpting treatment rich in naturally derived polyphenols to help combat lack of skin tone and elasticity. Enriched with antioxidant Iris, your skin will also benefit from an instant tightening effect.
  • Plump Filler – a concentrate created with naturally derived hyaluronic acid molecules of differing molecular weight to help rehydrate skin at the surface level and improve the cutaneous substance as well. Enriched with antioxidant Iris, this texture is quickly absorbed into skin and leaves a fully nourished feel behind.
  • Matte Maximizer – created with lactic acid, pink clay, and zinc gluconate, this serum helps to absorb excess shine and sebum, and also works to refine skin’s texture with continued use. The naturally derived ingredients and ultra-fluid texture leaves a velvety-soft feel behind and helps the complexion stay blemish-free.
  • Glow Booster – this radiance concentrate is made with Kakadu Plum, a fruit that’s 100 times more concentrated in Vitamin C than an orange. Working to help clarify the complexion and even out tone, it’s also enriched with antioxidant Iris and provides skin with nourishing benefits along with radiance.
  • Redness Soother – ideal for sensitive skin, this serum is created with cotton peptides derived from natural sources along with antioxidant Iris, to help maintain skin’s balance and keep it feeling continuously hydrated. The light green corrective tint is excellent at providing skin with an instant evening out effect and feels refreshingly light and soothing.

Age-Delay Advanced Crème (CAN $120.00) | This cream has been designed to work with all of the above serums, but that’s not the sum of its capabilities — as it somehow (and magically, it seems), also suits basically every skin type across the spectrum. Created with a high concentration of antioxidant Iris, its ‘plant mesh’ is said to ‘help reactivate the epidermis’ internal resistance process each day while offering an instant smoothing action’. It also boasts a composition of 88% naturally derived ingredients and has been specially formulated to be gentle on the skin, making it ideal even for those with sensitivities. The true benefit, however, lies in the the fact that with continual use, the complexion appears more toned & even-textured, while helping provide resistance to both external and internal aggressors, resulting in stronger skin aka: more youthful looking. Sounds pretty good to me.

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You can definitely say that Givenchy knows how to create some of the beauty world’s most visually stunning packaging and to that end, I direct you to Exhibit A: the Couture Edition duo for Spring/Summer 2018. And if the beautifully rendered floral pattern doesn’t grab you, then what’s on the inside more surely will … although personally, I love how both design & function have come together here in such perfect harmony.

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When the outer packaging is just too pretty to hide

Prisme Libre N°1 Mousseline Pastel, Couture Edition (CAN $75.00) | The brand’s iconic face powder in their best selling shade has been given the prettiest dressing for the season — I mean, just look at it! The floral pattern of its faux leather lid is just too lovely to sit moldering away in the bottom of some drawer, wouldn’t you agree? The four colour-correcting hues of this finely milled powder are meant to work synergistically together to help provide skin with a slight imperfection-blurring factor, along with a flawless-looking finish.

You start by removing the protective inner seal (I’ve left it on in the photos so you can see it clearly), then you have a couple of options; you can keep the included puff in place and turn the powder upside down for a few shakes to merge all four shades — then apply using the product that’s on the puff. Or, you can remove the puff entirely, place the cap back on and do the shake thing again, then go in with your preferred brush for application. It all depends on your preference and desired level of coverage; using the puff to buff it into the skin yields the most seamless and ‘perfect’ finish, although the coverage may be a touch more opaque this way, while a brush — especially a dual-fibred one — gives a lighter dusting, great for those who just want to spot-cover. Either way, the finish is lightly mattifying yet still maintains a touch of radiance to keep skin from appearing flat.

It should be noted that Mousseline Pastel may be wearable by quite a good range of skin tones, but it’s definitely geared for those with fair to light-medium complexions. That said, there are 3 other shades available in rosy, medium, and deeper tones, and the good thing is that if you happen to own more than one shade (as I do, since my complexion transitions from relatively pasty in the Winter to much more golden once the warmer weather hits and I get a bit of colour), this exclusive cap will fit on those as well.

Le Rouge N°315 Framboise Velours, Couture Edition (CAN $48.50) | Housed in a genuine leather casing embossed with an intricate yet stunning floral pattern, this is a deep raspberry pink shade in a satin finish. The texture is unbelievably creamy and you literally get full coverage from the very first swipe. The finish is just shiny enough to give the illusion of a slight plumping effect, and does not creep into any fine lip lines. Obviously there is some slip to this product, which means it will transfer to a certain degree when eating and/or drinking, although a light stain still remains behind to provide colour … and it gives you a perfect excuse to whip this beauty out in public to reapply, no?!

For there record, this shade is actually part of the permanent lineup — it’s only the casing that’s limited edition.

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Benefit, the brand known for its fun retro-kitschy packaging and some of the beauty-world’s most iconic products (Benetint, Hoola, Gimme Brow — to name but a few), has recently added to their Box O’ Powder collection of blushes with Gold Rush, and even if the name doesn’t pique your interest, I’m betting the colour definitely will. For those who want to go that extra mile, you can also snag the Blush Bar, this year’s coveted cheek palette from the brand; either way, you really can’t go wrong!

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Gold Rush Blush (CAN $38.00) | There’s no denying the cute factor of Benefit’s boxed blushes, and this latest iteration is no exception. What’s on the inside, however, impresses even more: the raised nugget design on the surface bears a golden overspray that will become wiped off within the first few uses, but the rest of the powder still contains enough of that pretty sheen to impart a lovely glow along the skin. The soft golden-nectar shade is universally flattering on basically all skin tones, and blends beautifully once applied. Another perk is the “glamber” fragrance comprised of citrus, vanilla & sandalwood notes — a scent that’s not cloying in the slightest, and that dissipates quickly after application.

PS: remind you of anything? Yes, Gold Rush is definitely reminiscent of another icon, NARS’ Orgasm, although the texture and resulting shade/finish here is still different.

Blush Bar, limited edition (CAN $78.00/Value CAN $190.00) | Whenever Benefit puts out a cheek palette, they literally sell out faster than you can blink — and with good reason: you’re not only getting a grouping of the brand’s best-selling shades all together in one convenient case, but at quite the bargain too. This version is made unique by the addition of Gold Rush to the other 4 cult-fave hues, making this perfect for anyone who’s always wanted to try some of the other shades, along with being a great travel-worthy palette. As with the single, a brush is included here as well and while it’s handy in a pinch, I still prefer using my own brushes for application.

TIP: Try layering a dusting of Gold Rush over Hoola — it gives that gorgeous “I just got back from the beach” kind of glow!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I used to roll my eyes at some of Benefit’s packaging  & tag lines — but now, I actually find them such fun, especially in an industry that sometimes can take itself a bit too seriously (it’s makeup, for God’s sake…we all need to lighten up). I haven’t always reached for Benefit’s blushes in the past, but Gold Rush is a shade I’ve been really liking lately; I’m sure it’ll also look amazing against a light tan. As to the Blush Bar palette with its dainty ballerinas on the cover, it’s obviously a fabulous deal … so grab it while you can!

Available at Sephora

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