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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.

Test Divas: Summer Scents

By Hermione Wilson

As summer draws to a close (sad, I know) we’re looking back to the delightfully fragrant spa products that gave our noses the most pleasure this season:

Makes Scents smallMake Scents

Make Scents sent us a handmade body scrub and body butter from their Garden of Eden collection.

The predominantly lavender scent these products emitted took me right back to my childhood. I associate the smell with my grandmother, who is an avid gardener and has always been fond of sprinkling her chest of drawers with dried lavender. Applying the Makes Scents body scrub on myself was a bit awkward – this is really a product meant to be administered by a spa professional while you lie supine on a massage bed.



Yummy Skin 2 smallYummy Skin

Yummy Skin sent a lovely pink and tan bag filled with deliciously fruity smelling hand and body lotions and sugar scrub samples. I haven’t yet dug into the scrubs, but I’ve been using the lotions everyday and I’ve become pretty compulsive about sniffing my hands every time I put them on. I recommend not doing this if you’re feeling hungry because the scents of these lotions will have your mouth watering.







tea smallSahara Tea

This last batch of spa products has been great as the weather starts to cool. Again, it’s the delicious smells that make these loose leaf organic teas so special. And not only do they smell great, they taste even better. The teas are so rich you can taste every berry, every herb, every spice. My favourites were the wonderfully nutty and earthy 100 Mysteries and Karmic Chamomile, a fresh fruity combo with an exotic flair. The collection also came with empty tea pouches that can be filled by hand. Stuffing the pouches by hand really gives you a sense of ownership over the process. It forces you to slow down, consider your choice, and take lots of delicious whiffs while the water is boiling. Definitely an experience to share with a good friend and fellow tea lover.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Test Divas: OPI Spring Haul

When we got a veritable bouquet of OPI nail polishes in the mail, including their new Color Paints collection, we knew we had to share the love with the whole office! The test divas here at Spa Inc Magazine pitched in to test drive the new shades, snap Nailfies (that’s nail selfies) and document their first impressions. We invite you to wonder through our spring garden of beautiful OPI polishes. Enjoy!

OPI Swag_blog



Me wearing Tiramisu_blogSpring is in the air! I usually go for a brighter bolder shade when the weather starts to warm up, but I decided to try a neutral for the first time. OPI’s Tiramisu For Two contrasted nicely with my skin tone and didn’t fade into the background like I thought it would. It’s light and airy and wonderfully ladylike. This is definitely a shade I could see myself wearing on the regular. Like jeans and a tailored blazer, it goes with everything!





RobertaSpring has sprung and my feet, like the rest of me, are glad to see the sunlight and be out of boots and shoes. So to be able to “put my best foot forward” I used OPI Worth A Pretty Penne and I love it!







Theresa (and daughter)

From Theresa_blogWhenever I bring home goodies like nail polish, my four-year-old daughter is quick to volunteer as a tester. This time she asked to try Pen And Pink from OPI’s Color Paints line. I applied one coat of the pink-red polish and we both loved the look. It’s sheer and fun, and the perfect touch of girlie for someone usually accustomed to the rough and tumble world of her brother.








From Beth

O Suzi Mio went on well and very easily with very little mess. The colour is cool because it’s dark, but it’s not too dark. I usually don’t like a deep purple. I usually like brighter colours but I definitely like this one. Since it’s different to what I usually wear, it’s refreshing.








Loving this vibrant blue Venice The Party? OPI nail polish – even though it’s not the typical spring shade! I’m definitely a blue jeans kinda girl, so I’m happy Venice The Party? matches almost everything in my spring/summer closet. Now the only thing missing is the warm weather!










Marian I like that Silver On Ice is a neutral colour, but it still has some glitter and shine to it. It’s good quality and it went on smooth.  









20150521_215423_resizedIt goes on nice and smooth, and I like the thickness of the brush and polish. It dries fast, which is nice, and has a lovely shine to the colour.

Test Divas: My Le Mieux Holiday Spa Day

By Hermione Wilsonspa day 1

When I got four delicious Le Mieux skin care products in the mail before Christmas it was like receiving an early present. I couldn’t wait to take them home over the break and try them out!

Altogether, there were two cleansers – the Phyto-Nutrient Cleansing Gel and the Phyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion – the Essence Toner and the Hyaluronic Shea Mask. Of all the products, I was most excited to try the mask. I love the drama of a good facial mask. I love slathering the thick solution on my face, lying under it for a few blissful minutes and feeling it start to work on my face. I love the reveal afterwards, the watery unveiling, and the fresh new feeling my skin is left with. I always fantasize that when I take off the mask, another smoother lovelier face will be waiting beneath.Hyaluronic Shea Mask-2oz-2013-new copy

Well, reality is a little less dramatic but no less satisfying. Le Mieux’s Hyaluronic Shea Mask didn’t dry uncomfortably on my face or make my skin tingle. It felt creamy and rich, but not heavy, and when I rinsed my skin felt refreshed and smooth.

That was actually a common theme with all the Le Mieux products – they all left my skin feeling smooth and soft. My skin is naturally dry and the cold winter weather hasn’t helped, so I was happy to find that the Le Mieux products were very supportive of my skin’s moisture content. My second favourite product, Phyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion, was rich and creamy like the mask and left my skin feeling just as soft.  I’ve actually taken to adding it to my regular cleanser for extra moisture.

Essence Toner-6oz copyThat being said, I didn’t feel that the gel cleanser or the toner dried out my skin. In fact, I was surprised to find that, unPhyto-Marine Cleansing Lotion-6oz-new-2013like with drugstore toner, after applying the Essence Toner I didn’t even feel the need to use my regular facial moisturizer. I did, of course, but unsually I do it out of necessity because my regular cleanser leaves me feeling stripped of essential epidermis! I was a bit confused as to how I should apply the toner though. Was I supposed to spray it on my face and rub it in with my finger tips? When I tried spraying it onto a cotton swab and then applying it, I felt like the swab absorbed more toner than my skin did. If anyone knows the right way to do this, please let me know in the comments!

All in all, though, I was impressed by Le Mieux products. They were rich and gentle on my skin and they smelled great too!

spa day 2

Test Divas: ChiaDerm+ Products

ChiaDerm+ bills itself as “a superfood for your skin.” Their products contain Chia seeds and not much else. No parabens, filler, or chemicals; vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO – all in all, it sounds like it is good eat, but what does it do for your skin?

The Test Divas got a chance to test out two ChiaDerm+ products, the ChiaDerm+ Serum and ChiaDerm+ Balm. Here’s what we thought:

ChiaDerm+ Serum by Hermione Wilson, Staff Writer

chiaderm-product-serum-one-in-chia-seeds-1000x1000I chose to test the Serum because I was fascinated by the claim it made to improve acne. I’ve been struggling with acne since I got my first breakout at age 13. I thought once I hit the big 2-0 it would go away. No such luck. I’m nearing the end of my 20’s now and I think I’ve tried every acne product line on the market. Some have made it worse; at best they make no difference at all. I especially have to be careful when I choose a facial moisturizer. I have very dry skin so I have to balance the need for a formula that is heavy enough to provide the moisture I need, but light enough that it doesn’t clog up my pores and cause breakouts.

Adding a few drops of the Serum to my moisturiser – once in the morning and again before bed -felt great. The moisturizer I’m using at the moment is pretty thin, as it is oil-free, but sometimes, especially as the weather gets colder, it doesn’t seem to be enough. With the addition of the Serum, though, my moisturiser went on smoother and my skin felt soft without feeling oily.

After about a week of using the Serum, I noticed some new breakouts on my face and panicked. Granted, a week probably isn’t long enough to see any kind of improvement and my breakout could have another cause, but next time I would test the product out on other parts of my body first (I’m still a Test Diva in training, so bear with me!). Still, I like how the product feels, so I think I’ll try it on my neck and chest next. I’ve even put a few drops in my hand cream and it’s really soothing to my skin after it’s taken the daily abuse of multiple hand washes and the dry winter air.

I like that this product doesn’t have a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce. It’s simple and organic and it has a nice mild nutty smell to it. I can’t speak to the ChiaDerm+ Serum’s acne-fighting properties as yet, but as a moisturizer it’s very effective.


Emma Corso_CROPChiaDerm+ Balm by Emma Corso, Co-op Student

One of my friends is currently on a health kick. And so, for the past three weeks, I’ve spent the bus ride to co-op listening to her rant about whatever new food, supplement, or vitamin she’s taking, and one of the things that seemed to pop up quite often were Chia seeds. She has them every day (puts them in her lemonade, of all things), so when I was given the opportunity to test the ChiaDerm+ Balm, I decided I’d go to her for answers before I started using the product.chia_derm_balm_seeds

It turns out that Chia seeds are one of the healthiest things out there – when it comes to food. They’re packed with tons of nutrients, fibers, proteins and antioxidants, so they’re not only good for your body and brain, but they can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, among other things. Now, in applying all this stuff to the balm I was going to start using, I got pretty excited. This product is completely organic, and Chia seed extract is the main ingredient. Immediately upon opening it I already knew I liked the way it smelled, but only time would tell how it worked, and after the week I spent using it, I’ve decided that I really like this product.

I used it primarily on my lips (they tend to get extremely chapped in the winter, so I always carry one or two balms and some Polysporin® in my bag), but the instructions said it also worked well to reduce redness and scarring, so I put it on areas where I experienced both of those things (primarily due to dryness), and really began to notice a difference nearing the end of the week. I only used it twice a day, before I went to bed and once I got up in the morning, so it might have worked better if I’d used it more frequently, but I did start to notice a change in my skin by about the 6-day mark. It also helped reduce my dark circles. The one thing I’d like to comment on is the Balm’s “anti-aging” ability. Being sixteen (soon-to-be seventeen), I’m not in dire need of anti-aging products just yet, but as soon as I told my mom about it, she wanted it. She already knew about the health benefits of Chia seeds, so the “anti-aging” thing was an added bonus. I had to keep it in my room to stop her from using it all before the week was over, seriously.

I’m not too experienced with beauty/skincare, but everyone’s got a few favourite products that they consistently use because they just seem to work. I haven’t been using the Chia Derm+ Balm for very long yet, so I’m definitely going to continue using it for at least a few more weeks, and I’ll hopefully get even better results.

I don’t think I’m ready to go back to my old products just yet.


Test Divas: Antipodes’ Top Picks

By: Jodee Cave

The Test Divas were lucky to enough to try out some of Antipodes’ best products, fresh from New Zealand and we HAD to share our top picks!

Antipodes is new to the Canadian market. The line is infused with certified organic ingredients from fully sustainable sources and can be used by people of all ages and various skin types. We’ll tell you about the products that really stood out in our opinion and would love to know your thoughts!



Grapeseed Butter Cleanser: This unique cleanser really gives you the best of both worlds! Not only does it clean deep down to remove impurities, but with the addition of nourishing cocoa butter and combination of calming oils, it leaves the face hydrated and fresh and helps to really soothe the skin. The key ingredient that sets the cleanser apart from the rest is the inclusion of Vinanza Grape, a high-level antioxidant found in sauvignon blanc grape seeds of New Zealand. This ingredient aids in repairing free radical damage and instantly revitalizes the skin. It works wonders for dry patches and uneven skin.




Kiwi Seed Oil Eye Cream: This little cream packs a powerful punch! Loaded with super-rich vitamin C harvested from the seed of the New Zealand kiwi, carrot seed, avocado oil and aloe gel. It’s rich, yet lightweight formula works to repair damaged tissue around the eyes and provides a soothing sensation on the treated area. This has definitely become a staple in our beauty regimen and just might be the same for you!




Apostle Skin Brightening Serum: The skin brightening serum is a water-based product which aids in targeting uneven skin tone to help restore the skin. Infused with Waiwera mineral water, this serum rejuvenates the skin and restores moisture. The inclusion of antioxidant-rich Vinanza Performance Plus aids in reducing discolouration in melanin and combats redness. This serum smells incredible and will leave your face smelling delicious all day! It contains light exfoliating agents of kiwi enzyme, oxifend from red grapes to give the skin a polished glow, and Mamaku black fern and Reishi mushroom to promote healthy cell renewal and a fresh, bright complexion. This product is a perfect pairing with the Antipodes Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser to really blast those blemishes!


We would love to hear about your diva experience with Antipodes. Try it out and tweet us @SpaIncMag or leave your comments below!


Test Diva: 100% Pure Products


By Ammi Parmar, High school editorial intern


 clip_image002100% Pure Mint White Tea Moisturizer  

Having combination to oily skin I was super worried about trying out these products. My skin can be very sensitive so changing moisturizer can cause my skin to cry out in breakouts. Learning that the 100% Pure Mint White Tea Moisturizer works for normal to oily skin types I got excited, hoping maybe that this moisturizer would do the trick. My biggest concern was the strong mint scent irritating my sensitive skin. To my surprise, it did the complete opposite. The scent although strong at first, once applied is so calm and gentle my skin did not complain. It was able to moisturize my skin without clogging my pores, while feeling super lightweight. The plus side for me was that it was able to control my oily skin throughout the day and not many moisturizers do that for me.


clip_image002100% Pure Rose and Calendula Water Serum

The 100% Pure Rose and Calendula Water Serum was something I was incredibly excited to use, for I’ve never tried a water serum before. The lightweight absorbency of this product worked. However, if you have skin like mine, which is combination to oily, I wouldn’t recommend it, especially if your skin is oilier. I found that it almost over-moisturized my skin, causing it to then breakout. If you have normal to dry skin, this is perfect for you. If you find that your skin is in other words loose, the Rose and Calendula Water Serum should work to improve skin firmness and elasticity. Being a 17-year-old, that wasn’t one of my concerns. The fact that it is 100 per cent natural and 100 per cent vegan is another perk, allowing you to have beautiful skin while being good to the environment and your skin.


Test Diva: Erbaviva Organic Skin Care Products

By: Lindsay Grummett

Erbaviva began back in 1996 as an organic baby skincare line and then expanded to include items for mothers-to-be and general consumers. While the product lines have grown, the company’s philosophy remains the same: create pure products that are consciously crafted with herbs and botanicals while being free from harsh detergents, chemical fragrances and other additives.

As a lover of organic products, I was excited to try out some of the Erbaviva items and was sent a body lotion and a bug spray. Now, I know the bug spray doesn’t exactly scream spa, but since many of our readers are organic enthusiasts as well as mothers, I thought it was a worthy inclusion. My sister-in-law, Ally, took on the role of Test Diva for the bug spray since she lives in the middle of nowhere and knows a little something about mosquitoes. Before we get to Ally, here’s my review of the body lotion:

Relax Body Lotion

relax_lotionLast year I wrote a story about “Employing Aroma as a Business Strategy” and ever since I’ve been really into aromatherapy. I now have a little collection of essential oils that I use for an energy boost or to help reduce stress.

That being said, I was really excited to try Erbaviva’s Relax Body Lotion because it’s infused with the essential oils of lavender, rose and neroli (which comes from orange blossoms). The product has an amazingly organic scent with noticeable hints of the lavender. The smell isn’t too strong and I find it to be truly relaxing. Not only that, but the lotion performs well, too. It made my skin feel moisturized and incredibly soft. I was really impressed with the product and would definitely purchase it in the future.




Organic Buzz Spray

buzz_sprayI recently received a bottle of Erbaviva Organic Buzz Spray from my sister-in-law. I was skeptical at first as I have tried other organic sprays in the past and I found they weren’t very effective. I live in the country surrounded by thick forest and the bugs can get very bad! I am not comfortable using products that are loaded with chemicals on my 3-year-old (or myself) and with the warm weather arriving, I was on the hunt for a good natural product so I could play outside with my daughter.

I am happy to say that I have found my “go to” product in Erbaviva! To put this spray to the test, I took my daughter to the drive-in theatre with my friend and her two small children. We sprayed everyone with the product and even sprayed some in her SUV. We opened the back and enjoyed two full movies without a single bug bite! We could see the bugs outside but not a single one came into her car! The best part about this product is that there was no chemical smell. My friend’s son has sensitive skin and this product didn’t cause any reaction. In my opinion, Erbaviva’s Organic Buzz Spray deserves a 10/10!


photoBug-free movie night with the kids!



Test Divas: Sibu Beauty’s Sea Buckthorn Products

What’s better than a skincare line that leaves your skin feeling fresh and renewed? One that is vegan, cruelty free and practices fair trade! You may have heard about the wonders of sea buckthorn, but if not here’s a little background:

Sea buckthorn berries pack a powerful punch, containing over 190 bio-active components. They are rich in omega fatty acids 3, 6 and the rare 7. When applied to the skin these fatty acids assist in keeping skin hydrated, youthful and help to decontaminate and detoxify. Omega-7 is said to help you attain healthy skin, hair and nails while also helping to promote collagen production, rejuvenate skin cell membranes, protect against sun damage and more. Sea buckthorn berries also contain an impressive amount of vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. These vitamins work together to aid in repairing the effects of free radicals, which can reduce skin issues such as under-eye circles, dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles and help to brighten and hydrate the skin. That’s a lot of big talk for a little berry!

Now that you’ve had your sea buckthorn lesson for the day, check out Jodee and Lindsay’s Sibu Beauty product review.

Fotor0227130726(Click for close-up)

Products: Facial Cleanser, Clarifying Toner, Nourishing Facial Cream and the Replenishing Night Cream

I’ve been using the above Sibu products for the past month and a half and I am amazed at the overall improvement of my skin. I really like the product’s citrus scent and it definitely made my skin feel fresh and renewed. The products were light yet effective, and gave me a clean, smooth canvas for makeup application.

The Clarifying Toner does an excellent job in really cleaning deep down to remove any leftover dirt and impurities that the Cleanser may have left behind. I really liked the idea of the spray bottle applicator and found it came in handy when I wanted to give my face a quick spritz to refresh. It’s a great morning pick-me-up.

The Nourishing Day Cream is my favorite product in the Sibu line. It really is a miracle cream – there are so many benefits pack in one tiny bottle! With each use the tone of my skin improved, and I also noticed it became more firm and hydrated. The disappearance of blemish marks was one of the biggest changes I saw in my skin. When I began using Sibu’s product, I had a few annoying scars that just wouldn’t fade, but now they seem less visible with each passing week. Overall I am amazed at the improvement in my skin and I love using products you can feel good about.


(Click for close-up)

Products: Seed Oil, Cleansing Face and Body Bar, Cellular Support with Omega 7 and Liquid Supplement for Skin, Hair and Nails

When we received our Sibu shipment, I wanted to try some of the alternative beauty products they had available. I’ve been using the four products for about a month and a half, and I’ve had some really great results.

My morning skincare routine starts with the Cleansing Face and Body Bar. This product has the lovely citrus smell Jodee talked about above, and it gave my face that “squeaky clean” feeling. I followed it up with the Seed Oil, which is made from 100% therapeutic-grade sea buckthorn seed oil. Now, one thing you should know about the seed oil is that it smells like the inside of a trash can. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but it’s definitely a smell I had to get used to. The oil has a thick, rich texture, but it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. I used it both morning and night and it makes my skin feel healthy, protected and has prevented drying (which is a constant problem in the winter). I even used it on a finger I burnt, and – I swear to you – the thing healed like I performed some Harry Potter magic on it. So would I recommend the cleansing bar and seed oil? Yes, yes, and more yes!

The Cellular Support and Liquid Supplement have given my nails new hope. They feel stronger and are growing much more quickly than before. I know, I wouldn’t believe me if I was reading this either, but it’s true. I’m sure they’re helping my skin tone and texture in combination with the Seed Oil and Cleansing Bar. The drink also gives me a boost of energy in the morning, which is a great way to start my day.

I can’t speak highly enough about these products, and frankly, if I wasn’t testing out beauty products for the Spa Inc. blog, I would make this my standard skincare routine. I would love to hear what you think of the products. Comment below and let us know!

Test Divas: Jan Marini Holiday Exfoliator

During the Christmas break, I was lucky enough to test out Jan Marini’s limited edition Pumpkin Spice Holiday Exfoliator.  I loved the smell, although it gave me cravings for a big slice of pumpkin pie after each use.

When I applied the product to my skin, I immediately noticed how soft and smooth my skin felt and was truly glowing (even after the first use)!

I am a big believer in the inclusion of a great exfoliator in my skin care regimen. I’ve tried many brands and formulas, but more often than not, they’re too harsh or drying on my skin which causes flakes and peeling. This exfoliator sets itself apart from others with its unique spherical microbeads, which dissolve in water. It exfoliates and polishes the skin without the harsh abrasives that are common to many similar items in the market today.

I have dark marks and acne scars which make me a bit self-conscious about going makeup free. I love the inclusion of the glycolic acid and proteolytic enzymes, which help to reduce these issues and brighten my complexion. Since including this exfoliator in my routine, I have found that my skin is clearer and I have an overall brighter complexion, I’ve even dared to venture out make-up free and it feels great!

I spent my holiday break in Jamaica (let the jealousy sink in for a moment) and while I was away, I spent a lot of time in the sun, sand, and salty waters. The holiday exfoliator was an excellent tool for cleansing and polishing the damaging days off my skin.

This product was a great travel companion and shouldn’t be reserved for just the winter weather. If you are looking for an exfoliant that is gentle yet effective on your skin, I would wholeheartedly recommend this product.

Marini Holiday Exfoliat#255