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The Colour Wheel

Our Summer 2016 issue is all about beauty. In her piece on oncology esthetics, Morag Currin gives estheticians working with clients undergoing cancer treatment advise about using the colour wheel to find the best palette to suit their client. Whether you’re an esthetician or spa therapist helping a client look good, or you’re doing your makeup at home, you can use the colour wheel to enhance your beauty routine.

Here’s how it works:

This illustration is AI 10 EPS vector, well grouped. High resolution JPEG file included (5000 x 5000 pixels)

  1. Grab a hand mirror and try to identify the dominant colour of the iris of your eye
  2. Find your iris colour on the colour wheel
  3. The colour swatch that sits directly opposite your iris colour is your complementary colour. Example: if your dominant iris colour is blue, your complementary colour will be orange.
  4. Once you’ve identified your complementary colour, have fun with it! By all means, wear orange if your eyes are blue, or try out warm orange-inspired shades like coral and peach.

Not Your Grandma’s Permanent Makeup

Tina Davies HeadshotTina Davies is the owner and founder of Natural Effects Permanent Makeup in Toronto. I spoke to her about her microblading practice and the special tools she’s designed for it:

What is microblading?

Microblading is the newest hottest trend in permanent makeup. It’s really natural eyebrows that last for a year, a year and a half and then it just goes away. It’s not your grandma’s permanent makeup.

Is it like a tattoo? Do you use a special ink and tools?

Yes, it’s specialized ink just for permanent makeup and specialized tools, so it’s in a class of its own. I manufacture the tools [I use] but I don’t manufacture the inks.

When you are designing your microblading tool, what are you looking for?

For this microblading procedure typically, and what’s been done in the past few years, is you would use some kind of handle that looks like an X-Acto Knife handle. The artist would have to insert a needle into that handle, assemble it basically and then apply it to the skin. The way that I’ve designed my product is that there’s no assembly, it comes fully assembled, and it’s completely safe and disposable. So it’s only a one-time use tool and it has a ruler on the handle that helps with measuring.Harmony microblade

Where does the ink you use come from?

There are many companies…that manufacture the inks that are safe and tested for permanent makeup. They have a colour range that is broken into warm and cool colours so that you can find the right colour for, say, a blonde, a brunette, an Asian, a Black person. You would have to use your artistic experience and colour theory to choose the right colours for your clients.

How long have you been doing permanent makeup?

15 years.

Why do you think it’s such a hot trend right now?

I think it’s because of social media, because people now have access to information and educators have the ability to spread their knowledge. Like for me, I’m an educator, I can teach people, I can train, I can do webinars, I can do blogging, and then spread the word about permanent makeup. When I post pictures, people then have interest, more people come to have it done. There’s just more visibility. Literally estheticians every day are taking courses for [microblading], two-day courses in Toronto or wherever – but two days really isn’t enough. I’m actually against that, but where the money is people will go. People should get proper education.

Are there safety concerns?

Definitely. Blood-borne pathogens is a big part of it – cross-contamination. When people go to a tattoo shop they’re like “Oh my good, is this needle sterile? Is this safe? Are they touching me and touching someone else? What’s going to happen?” So people are very very concerned about cross-contamination. That’s why I made these one-time use disposable [microblading] tools that never existed. Safety is number one in tattooing, regardless. Number two, of course, is skill, the qualifications of the technicians. If you can combine safety and skill, then you’ve got a really good service.

It’s interesting, when I first heard about microblading, I had this image in my head of a cartoonish tattooed-on eyebrow, but when I saw the video on your website, I thought “Oh, actually that looks very natural”. 

It’s very popular! I’m literally booked a year in advanced – a year. And that’s me working with clients back to back.

Other than eyebrows, what other procedures do you do?

Eyeliner. I used to do lips but I don’t do that anymore.

So eyebrows are the majority of what you do?

Tina Davies harmony microbladeYes. It’s actually about 70 per cent of most people’s business, because eyebrows are something women cannot live without. If you don’t have lipstick on that’s okay, but if you don’t have eyebrows…

Do you have clients come in who have lost their hair to something like alopecia or chemotherapy?

Yes, all the time! I probably have two or three alopecia clients a week. Chemotherapy is not as prevalent because they are waiting for their hair to grow back.

What is the response you get from your clients? 

They love it. I’ve had clients who have been doing this with me for 15 years. They come back all the time because it’s just something for a woman, on her face, it’s so important. You just cannot not have eyebrows and the clients that come are usually people that care. So people love the procedure and they love how natural it looks, that’s the main thing.

Learn more about Tina Davies and her microblading technique at

Test Divas: Lip Lock

SST Willpower

By Hermione Wilson

I used to think wearing lipstick required a sacrifice. You could have this bold, beautiful lip colour but in order to have that you had to accept the fact that your lips would feel dry and cracked the whole time, and have to refresh your lipstick every 10 seconds.

And yes, before you ask, I did put on lip balm first, but it didn’t seem to help. Inevitably I would start to feel the moisture leaching out of my lips and have to fight the irresistible urge to lick them. Pretty soon the lovely colour I put on at the beginning of the night was everywhere – my water glass, my napkin, my fingers – except on my lips.

Me in lipstick_RSZDSo needless to say, I didn’t really like wearing lipstick except on very rare special occasions. That is, until I discovered SST’s Signature Power Stay Lipstick “Willpower”, a lovely shade of matte red that give me a bold lip without being blindingly glossy. But the best part about this lipstick is that it contains Vitamin E and beeswax, so no dry lips!

I think I’m in love. I never get that horrible desert-dry feeling with the Power Stay Lipstick, eveSST Lipstick 2_RSZDn after it sets, and it doesn’t move around once it does, so no more smudges on my water glass! SST’s long-lasting lipstick has empowered me to start wearing lipstick more often, not just on special occasions. I never knew wearing lipstick could be so effortless and fun! I have tasted the sweet sweet fruit of a hydrating matte lipstick and I’m never looking back.

A Skin Care Convert

Photo by a james on Flickr

Photo by a james on Flickr

By Kelly Townsend

First, a confession: I’m utterly clueless when it comes to skin care and beauty regimes.

If you’d asked me a week ago, I couldn’t have told you the first thing about what exfoliating your skin does, or what skin toner even is. It hadn’t been much of a problem in my youth, but as I got older it felt like my skin was starting to cry out for attention. Finally, it got to the point where I decided to book my very first facial at Amanda Borys Aesthetics in hopes of soothing my weary skin. By the end of it I officially became a skin care convert.

Within the first few minutes, my esthetician, Amanda Borys, easily identified the problem areas with my skin. It was severely dehydrated, which explained why it was tight and irritated as well as embarrassingly oily at times. When I casually mentioned that my face gets flushed easily, she even went into detail about why it occurred and, for the first time in my life, actually told me how I can reduce it.

Part of what held me back from getting treatment before was simply embarrassment over how little I’d done for my skin. I’ve been to manicure appointments where the attendant would chastise me over my lack of nail care, and I wasn’t exactly looking for an hour of skin-shaming. As I went through the history of products and treatments I’d done, I awkwardly explained how little product ever touches my face. Surprisingly, Amanda reassured me that it’s far better to avoid product than to overuse them without educating yourself first. She told me horror stories about women who had severely damaged their skin just by overusing certain products.

Once we got into the facial itself, I slowly but surely felt myself easing into the process. Amanda was courteous enough to explain to me what she was doing as she was doing it, and never balked at my questions. As the session came to a close, I was so relaxed I ended up pulling my sweater on inside out.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was life-changing, but the experience really opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing out on by neglecting my skin. Once the appointment was over I could actually feel the difference in my face, as if it had been rejuvenated. Since then I have followed the suggestions made by Amanda and that irritated sensation that used to plague me hasn’t returned.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this is that taking care of your skin isn’t as complicated as it seems, and there’s no need to feel embarrassed to ask for help. By taking a couple of hours out of my day I was able to identify problems that I never knew could be fixed and discover a quick and simple process to keep my skin from reverting back to its parched and oily state. What I thought could be another awkward spa experience ended up being one of the most relaxing and educational hours I’ve had in a long while.


No Hair Here

facial-hair-remover-creamsBy Hermione Wilson

Every two weeks I go to visit an esthetician at the mall. “What do you need Honey?” she asks me as I approach the front desk. All the other customers swivel instinctively towards me, curious.

I mumble something.

“Sorry, didn’t catch that?” she says.

I clear my throat, blushing, and mumble “Upper lip wax, please” in a slightly louder voice.

I refuse to call it a moustache. A moustache is something men have; but I’m not a man, I’m a lady. My upper lip hair isn’t as dark as a moustache of course, but to me it looks long, dark and grotesque.

My upper lip hair didn’t always bother me this much. In fact, there was a golden age when none of the hair that naturally grew on my body gave me pause. It began with peer-induced shame in my elementary school locker room and pretty soon I was obsessing about all the hair on my body, especially the stuff on my face. At least I could cover up hairy pits and legs with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, but hiding the hair on my face was more complicated.

I’ve done things I regret, but none more than the time I got my facial hair threaded. I was getting ready for university graduation and I wanted to look good for all the inevitable family photos. My friend and I stopped by the local mall for a $10 eyebrow threading – no big deal. But then I decided to get my chin and neck threaded as well.

Big mistake.

Due to my mixed heritage (African, Indian, Portuguese, etc) I have quite a bit of fine hairs framing my face. It usually doesn’t bother me too much, but I thought I’d let the lady just clean it up a bit. Now I wish I had left well enough alone. The threading broke the follicles on my chin and neck and I’ve had problems with ingrown hairs ever since.

As ladies we deal with a lot of societal pressure to be hairless, especially in North American culture. Part of us enjoys the feeling of smooth legs on a summer’s day, but another part of us is jealous of the guys when we have to take a razor to them every week. Sometimes we feel like slaves to that razor, shackled to it for a lifetime of shaving and scrapping.

This is why I’ve started to look at more permanent solutions, like electrolysis and laser hair removal, especially for areas of my body that I can’t take a razor to. But hair removal horror stories have me concerned. What if I go in expecting to come out with a baby-smooth hairless visage and end up with a horrible scar instead? So I asked an expert, dermatologist Dr. Andrei Metelitsa, for some advice. You can read about our conversation on hair removal here.

If you think you can live with some of the hair on your face and body, go ahead and rock it au naturel! But if you decided on a more permanent solution to your hirsutism, make sure the medi spa or clinic you go to has a reputable physician supervising the treatment.

Good luck!

Natural is Nothing New

AldithRESIZEBy Hermione Wilson

It’s funny how we often package old trends as new. Like the organic DIY skin and hair product trend going on right now. You can’t swing a #catvideo on YouTube without hitting an all-natural beauty vlogger mixing her own hair and beauty products with items she found in her kitchen cupboards.

But here’s a little secret: this new craze is nothing new. Recently, I was talking to my grandmother about what it was like to grow up on the beautiful Caribbean island of Grenada in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Here’s what she had to say about the beauty routine she and her sisters followed back in the day:

Hair care:

  • Egg yolk mask
  • Aloe vera
  • Pure honey straight from the honeycomb, for softness

Skin care:

  • Aloe vera mask (apply, let harden, rinse off)
  • Coconut oil mixed with petroleum jelly and lotion


  • Fresh guava or black sage branches (chew until bristly, then brush with your handmade toothbrush!)
  • Mint leaves

As you might have guess, my grandmother and her sisters didn’t use these natural products because they were concerned about parabens and carcinogens.  The number one reason was that they couldn’t afford the store-bought beauty products of the day. Necessity really was the mother of invention for these women. Not only were they hardworking and thrifty, they were self-sufficient and didn’t let their lack of funds stop them from taking pride in their appearance. They sewed their own clothes and mixed their own beauty products because they could.

The second reason is that they lived in a country blooming with diverse plant life. My grandmother and her sisters were just using the natural products they had at hand. Island born and bred, they knew every plant had its use, often more than one, knowledge that had been passed down to them from their mothers and grandmothers.

I’m sure your grandmothers have similar stories, even if they didn’t grow up in the tropics. I imagine the shortages of various world wars and the Depression forced women to come up with inventive ways to beautify themselves. (Share in the comments if you have a natural beauty remedy that’s been passed down by the women in your family)

I think it’s great that we’re going back to basics! Just the other day I mixed a bit of egg, olive oil and avocado to make a moisturizing mask for my hair. The results were amazing – and my hair smelled great too! So before we brag too loudly about the cleverness of our generations’ natural revolution, let’s not forget that we’re only rediscovering what our grandmothers already knew.

Alisha Botero of Artistic Nail Design talks new trends and new inspiration


By Hermione Wilson

I had a chance to sit down with Artistic Nail Design’s Alisha Botero during their Rock Hard World Tour.  The executive vice president and creative director was in Toronto  to promote Artistic Nail’s new Rock Hard LED Gel product and hold workshops to educate nail artists about the new trends and techniques in the industry.

We met at Sparks Salon in Toronto’s Liberty Village for the most intimate media event I’ve ever been to. I was expecting crowds of journalists and nail artists, but instead I got to hang out with Alisha, nail technician and educator Lisa Boone, and portfolio manager Al Barillas for half an hour. I even got a free manicure from Lisa!

It was soon clear to me as I spoke to Alisha that she has a passion for the nail business. She got choked up when I asked her what she loved best about it:

“I love to meet women for whom this is their passion, and help them to better themselves and give them the opportunity to support their children, support their family. That’s why we do it.”

When she’s not travelling the world, passing on her tricks of the trade, Alisha is putting together hot new shades for Artistic Nail that will adorn women’s fingernails the coming season. First she gathers inspiration from various sources – tear sheets from various fashion magazines, trend books, a piece of fabric she’s fallen in love with, and feedback from distributors – and pins her ideas on a board in her office. Once she has some colours in mind, she heads to the lab.Artistic_Fall_2014_Collection_box

“We’ve got over a hundred pigments [in the lab], so we’ll start mixing and trying to match that particular colour,” Alisha told me.

Then there’s the polish’s finish: “Do I want it to be creamy and glossy, do I want it to be shimmery and sparkly, do I want it to be rich and deep, do I want it to be something they can layer on or layer under?”

At this point, Alisha comes up with five to ten colours and has to narrow that down to a collection of either four or six shades. This year’s fall collection was inspired by rich heavy fabrics like velvet, fur and wool, and has a velvety finish. “Dolce and Gabbana has been just killing it for me with those heavy textiles,” she gushed.

Looking ahead to the spring collection, Alisha told me she has some bright clean shades in mind. The collection will feature purples, pinks, a coral shade, and a particularly bright grassy green. “You look at them and you can see sunshine,” she said.

Nails at the Spa Rock Hard Nails

While Lisa was putting a sparkly finish on my burgundy nails (Independence from the Fall 2014 collection), I had a chance to ask Alisha about the differences between doing nails at a salon and at a spa.

“The salon business is very social. Everybody’s talking, they’re hanging out, it’s quick service,” she told me.

“The clients come in and they’re out,” Al chimed in. “It’s about the results. People come in and they actually remove their own lacquer because they don’t want to be sitting around.”

At the spa, Alisha said, people are looking to relax and be pampered. It’s all about how long you spend on the client and the extra touches of luxury and indulgence you include in the experience.

“It’s more ‘let’s sit down, let’s relax, let’s enjoy, let’s add a special glass of champagne to that or a special cookie that goes with that scent for their new manicure and pedicure,’ and you never let them leave without a hand massage, even if they’re getting just a quick polish change.” she said. “Spas goers don’t mind spending that little bit of extra money to get that little bit better quality or something more beneficial for them.”

Speaking of quality, Alisha told me that spas like Artistic Nail’s new gel nail polish because they have no odor and they last longer, perfect for spa goers who may not come back to get a touch up as often as salon clients. And I have to vouch for the gel polish’s long-lasting power, because three weeks later my manicure still looks good!

More from My Conversation with AlishaAlisha Botero

Artistic Nails most popular shade: Bride white

Latest nail trends: The half-moon manicure, an under layer of red like Louboutin heels, feature nails, and geometric shapes. “There are a lot of really cool small things you can do to set a trend that people will adopt.”

Making a comeback: Long nails are back and nail shapes are transitioning from square back to oval.

Biggest change in the industry: “The technical level and the skill level has increased exponentially in the last ten years.”

Alisha’s favourite spa treatments: “I love to go and get a massage and a facial,” Alisha says. “I’m all about getting in the robe and letting you doing whatever you want. You want to scrub me down and wipe me off, I don’t care. Just as long as you’re touching me for two hours I’m good.”  As a nail technician herself, Alisha is very particular about who does her pedicure. “Sometimes I just give myself a pedicure and then go have my feet massaged.”


Summer Essentials

By: Jodee Cave

Summer is finally here and with the heat, humidity and fun it can be hard to maintain your beauty regimen. Whether you’re travelling, swimming or sunning this season, we found some products that you’ll definitely want to take along for the journey!


rainWith the beautiful rays of sunshine summer brings, we also have to deal with the heat, humidity and impurities that are harsh on the skin. Belmondo has just the products to keep your skin looking refreshed and hydrated with their cleanser/toner set, The Rain and After the Rain. These cool and invigorating products gently refresh the skin with natural ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, lavender, aloe and rose. The Rain set is great for those with acne-prone, blemished or oily skin, as well as those who suffer from eczema. The best thing about these products? They’re great for a low-maintenance girl (or guy) as there is no need to wash off so it can be used any time you need a quick refresh.




The Face Effects Perfecting Polisher by Spa Sonic is a great tool when you’re on the run. It comes in a variety of cute patterns including animal print, if you feel like taking a walk on the wild side! The polisher is compact in a handy travelling case, so it can fit nicely in your suitcase or summer bag. Pick your favourite cleanser and pair them together to keep your summer glow all season!






Mia Beauty Tony Ties are perfecting for keeping your messy bun or sleek pony tail intact! They come in a variety of bright colours and patterns. Accessorize your look and use them as bracelets to ensure you always have a tie on hand. Great for trips to the beach, camping or travelling!


ABA Through My Eyes

Lindsay Grummett

Earlier this week, the Allied Beauty Association (ABA) brought its annual trade show to Toronto and as usual, it was amazing! There were hair competitions and eyelash applications. You could get fresh makeup, a new mani or prepare for summer with a fake tan (like I did).  There was so much to see and do, but why bother telling you when I can show you!

Here are some of my favourite photos from my day at ABA! Click on the photos to see the full size version.

Welcome to ABA!

Did you get a chance to meet the lovely Jodee?
She was manning the Spa Inc. booth for most of the show.

I saw lots of beautiful hair (and the back of some bald heads) while I was there!

ABA attendees also had the opportunity to get their hair done…

…And their eyebrows waxed…

…And their make-up applied…

…AND work on their tan!
I to0k a turn in the tanning booth (but included a photo of someone else getting tanned).

Oh, and did I mention that Essie Canada was also doing manis?

The treatments didn’t stop there…
Jodee got a phenomenal facial from Dermalogica Canada.
Her skin looked so bright and refreshed afterward.

It was all lights, camera, action at ABA and there were plenty of models on the stages and off.

These two models stole the show.
They were giving out 3D glasses that made their body paint pop!

I loved this fun flapper’s look. She was handing out product samples to ABA guests.

Caught the Moroccan Oil models taking a selfie break!

This picture sums up the show: FIERCE!



What You Need to Know: Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions can turn lacklustre lashes into the focal point of your face. Celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have been using this trick to accentuate their eyes for years, but more recently the trend has hit the spas, and women everywhere are getting extensions to add volume and length to their lashes. We asked Laurence Makano, the assistant manager of Xtreme Lashes, to give us the skinny on getting long, thick eyelashes.

Xtreme Lashes are worn by some of Hollywood's hottest celebs including these lovely ladies!

Xtreme Lashes Famous Faces

What are some of the benefits of wearing eyelash extensions?

Eyelash extensions have truly bloomed in the beauty industry because of the effect they have on a woman’s daily routine.  They replace the need for mascara and minimize your time in front of the mirror. You can’t workout or swim with makeup or mascara, but you can with eyelash extensions!  Eyelash extensions offer a ‘before and after’ difference that turned this addiction into a trend!

How can eyelash extensions impact a woman’s look?

Xtreme Lashes stylists are trained to give proper length and volume to lashes, but also modify eye shapes with various techniques. They can accentuate eye colour with highlights or colour blocking using coloured lashes, and can even apply lash crystals for special occasions.

Are there different types of eyelash extensions?

Xtreme Lashes currently carries two types of extensions – faux mink and synthetic lashes. Both are amazing products and will give the consumers great lash applications. The length, curvature and thickness used will vary from person to person.

How much does a typical procedure cost?

Full sets of Xtreme Lashes can vary from $150 to $250. The cost depends on the number of extensions applied which ranges from 60 to 120 per eye. After 3-4 weeks (a regular hair growth cycle), the consumer can come back for refills that are between $60 and $75. The client’s hair growth cycle will determine the time between applications and the number of extensions that need to be applied.

Are there any dangers that consumers should be aware of?

Consumers should select a lash stylist that went through comprehensive, hands-on training and that can provide proof of certification. They should also look for a lash stylist that sells and uses products from a licensed company with strong credentials in the health and beauty industry. After those matters have been checked, it is also their responsibility to properly fill in the client form that will let the stylist know of any past or current health issues or allergies that might affect the lash application.

What kind of education does an Xtreme Lash stylist receive before they are able to apply Xtreme Lashes?

Our training program contains extensive hands-on education as well as information for proper tool handling, client safety and appropriate hygiene. The Xtreme Lashes exclusive application technique trains lash stylist how to successfully do long-lasting applications and how to work with all the different types of natural lashes.

Do you have a question for Laurence? Comment below!