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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

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.


ESSIO Q&A: Holiday Scents and Aromatherapy


By: Lindsay Grummett

I recently came across a product with a VERY cool concept. ESSIO is an aromatherapy diffuser that will turn your shower into a spa!  You simply clip it onto your shower pipe (no tools needed!), pop in a scent pod and wait for the essential oils to envelop you.

Shower Head

I sat down and talk scents with ESSIO’s marketing manager, Jared Van Lehn, who filled us in on everything from holiday aromas to how they develop essential oil blends. Make sure you join the conversation and comment below!

What are some of the benefits of aromatherapy? 

While Western medicine has greatly reduced the presence of infectious disease, the subtler areas of wellness, such as mood and energy-balance, require a more integrated approach of which aromatherapy may be a part.  Studies show that specific botanical aromas (derived from phyto-essential oils) have both physiological as well as psychological impacts and benefits.

Inhaling the essential oils of Lavender and Chamomile, for instance, has been practiced as a mild sedative for hundreds of years across Western Europe. It’s worth noting, too, that the essential oils used in aromatherapy are generally anti-microbials.

Christmas is a very scent driven season with smells like sugar cookies and Christmas trees filling the air. What are some of the most popular holiday scents? How can they affect a person’s mood?

The most popular holiday aroma is peppermint. The sharp, fresh fragrance is derived from menthol, a naturally occurring botanical compound which tricks the brain into believing that cold air is being inhaled. In an energetic context, peppermint is stimulating, exciting, and builds optimism and anticipation.

The smell of pine needles and sugar cookies may indeed trigger Normal Rockwell-esque reminiscing. Even more remarkably, because the holidays are marketed with these aromas, someone who never had those experiences may still associate the aroma of candy canes, Christmas trees and gingerbread with feelings of wistfulness, yearning and sentimentality.

How does ESSIO develop their essential oil blends?   

The process of developing the blends is difficult and requires skill and constant experimentation.  The particular equation is developed based on what we want the blend to accomplish. Blends fall primarily into one of three groups: stimulating, sedating, or balancing.

Master aromatherapeutic blenders are called in to come up with the initial concepts for the blends, then to actually implement the formulation. This is challenging from a formulation standpoint because ESSIO does not use any synthetic elements. This means that we must choose essential oils which naturally produce the effects we want.

What is your favourite scent (not just including the ESSIO blends)?

Hmmmm… I think I’m going to have to go with the classic peppermint.  For me it is so revitalizing, and refreshing and powerful.  Plus, peppermint has a nostalgic effect for me.  It takes me back home, back to family and loved ones, and all these happy memories as a kid.  Especially around the holidays, the first thing I think of are candy canes.

Does your company have any holiday scents that work with your ESSIO shower diffuser?

Every ESSIO blend is ideal for the holidays. UNWIND, which blends upbeat citrus with spicy patchouli, is great for busting holiday stress. CLEAR, with holiday favorites nutmeg and peppermint, brushes away distractions, perfect for setting priorities and making New Year’s Resolutions. BREATHE, which also contains peppermint as well as cedar and eucalyptus, to decongest sniffles. ESSIO has six revitalizing blends for the shower.

Tell us your favourite scent in the comments below! 

         Optimized-Starter Kit 2

The ESSIO Starter Kit 


 Pod Blends

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi talks inspiration and insecurities

By: Lindsay Grummett

Isaac Mizrahi + Taylor Kaye (CHFI)

Famed designer Isaac Mizrahi was in Toronto this weekend to debut his IsaacMizrahiLive! line. The fashion icon who has dressed everyone from Julia Roberts to Meryl Streep will now be bringing his elegant-yet-affordable collection to Canadian women exclusively through the Shopping Channel.

On Friday Mizrahi spoke at a Chatelaine event about his new line as well as his top pick for the fall season. He declared flats the winners by saying “I’m bored with big heels” and the crowd cheered!

Although I was dying to hear what he had to say about the industry, it was his insight on his career and how he stays inspired that I found really fascinating. Since the fashion and beauty industry are so interrelated, I thought our Spa Inc. readers would enjoy some highlights from the evening. I’ve pulled together a few quotes and included some shots of his new collection. Enjoy!

On his Early Start:

There were always sewing machines around. My father made children’s clothes and he had these giant machines in the basement that I discovered on my own. He actually taught me to sew and it was a crazy kind of rite of passage.

On his Mentor:

I have a few, but the one that comes to mind is Perry Ellis because that’s where I had my first job and it was unexpected that I would like it so much. This was a really hard job, but it was great. I learned everything without knowing I was learning because it was fun.

On Inspiration:

I do opera, I work in ballet, I design costumes. I’m also staging Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim Museum. Those things keep my interest alive. I’m only speaking from my own experience, but doing the same exact thing all the time is a little deadening to me.

On Insecurities:

What you learn is Meryl Streep is as insecure as you. You end up learning that the best way to make her look beautiful is to make her feel comfortable. I think the best designers and stylists are good at being friends.

All of those women I’m talking about from Mrs. Obama to Zooey Deschanel, I think they’re all terribly insecure like us and the thing that is great about good clothes is they make you feel better about yourself.

On Canadian Women:

I don’t think Canadian women are any different from smart women from New York or Chicago or Los Angeles. That’s what I like about them is that they’re smart and skeptical.

Some of the IsaacMizrahiLive! collection.
Which of these looks do you love? 

Picture Three


Picture Two             Picture 2 (a)

Picture One