Cosmetic Kitchen: Homemade Face Masks

August 5th, 2011 / Posted by natasha

Some great music, sliced cucumbers and a couple of ingredients from your kitchen and you’re set for a great spa night with your friends. Here are three of our favourite masks to make from our Cosmetic Kitchen. Something for everyone!

Excellent for dry or combination skin.

½ avocado, mashed
½ ripe banana, mashed
1 tsp olive oil

step one: mix together till smooth and creamy
step two: slather onto a freshly cleansed face
step three: leave on for 15 minutes
step four: rinse with warm water

Perfect for oily skin. And, because it’s rich in beta-carotenes and pro-vitamin A, it’s also a great anti-aging mask!

¼ cup grated carrot
1 ½ teaspoons mayonnaise

step one: mix together well
step two: apply to a freshly cleansed face
step three: leave on for 15 minutes
step four: rinse with warm water


For all skin types – especially oily, acne-prone skin. It tightens, brightens and shrinks your pores, too!

1 egg white
2 tbsp oatmeal
1 tbsp lemon juice

step one: whisk egg white till frothy
step two: add oatmeal and lemon juice and mix well
step three: apply to a freshly cleansed face
step four: leave on for 15 minutes
step five: rinse well

*Follow all masks with moisturizer

More from our Cosmetic Kitchen…

Pineapple Toner
Milk Cleansers
Oatmeal Masks

Have a lovely weekend!! xoxo

DIY: 3 Romantic Spring Hairstyles

March 31st, 2011 / Posted by natasha

Now that spring is here, we thought it’d be fun to expand our hair repertoire by recreating some spring ‘dos inspired by the runways of Alice & Olivia, Phillip Lim and Lela Rose. I grabbed three Blanche Macdonald staffers with long tresses and we picked out some lovely, DIY-worthy hairstyles – a windswept side braid on Sam, a romantic twist on Amanda and a whimsical chignon on Shaina! Here are three of-the-moment romantic and modern hairstyles that will take your hair off your neck and will keep you looking fresh and cool for spring.

For the Lela Rose spring ’11 runway, hairstylist Ted Gibson wanted to create a look that was easy and fun – one that exuded a carefree personality. Think riding horseback with your hair down and then pulling it into a quick braid. The more loose, messy and disheveled the better.

All you need is a texturizer.  This is where Kevin Murphy’s Hair Resort and Bumble & Bumble’s new hair(un)dressing creme step in. Great products! I adore how this ‘do will save any bad hairday and how it gives an unfussy attitude to everything it’s paired with. Gotta love this voluminous face-framing plait!

1. Rub and scrunch in a texturizing product so that your hair is one hot mess.
2. Blowdry your hair.  Lift at the roots and use your fingers to create more texture and volume, especially near the front and sides of your head. The bigger the better.
3. Gently sweep all of your hair over to one side using your fingers.
4. Without crushing the volume, loosely braid. If you have longer hair, braid more tightly near the ends.
5. Strategically pull out some chunky strands from the braid.
6. Spritz with hairspray to hold.

This romantic twist as seen on the Alice & Olivia fall ’11 runway is soft, sweet, sophisticated and super easy to copy. It works great for medium and long hair lengths and upgrades the ol’ ballerina bun in a bit of a whimsical way. Click to see full story »

It’s Hot. Crackle Nail Art!

February 1st, 2011 / Posted by natasha

Nothing helps transform a tired, monochromatic ensemble into something fresh faster than a striking set of newly polished nails. And as much as I love a simple, clean mani, I’m currently fascinated with statement-making textures to break up the colourless palette.  I honed in on just the thing on a recent trip to Stockholm, Sweden. IsaDora, a Swedish cosmetics brand, had just launched an intriguing version of the resurrected nail art trend — crackle/shatter nails: 9 glorious top shades called Graffiti Wonder Nails. Yeah. Deliberately cracked nails. Check it out. Oh, the beauty of imperfection!  After finding the polish completely sold out at the department stores, I finally got a hold of one at H&M (who’da thought? Some H&M stores in Europe sell their H&M house brand products alongside drugstore brands such as Nivea and Maybelline, too)! OPI soon came out with their version earlier last month, as you’ve most likely heard, and released a Black Shatter top coat for their Katy Perry & Serena Williams collab. We’re obsessed with its edgy texture!!

Here’s the OPI Black Shatter (far left) and IsaDora Graffiti Nails in White Art (far right). I’m a huge fan of the black and gold combo so that’s the gold in OPI’s Glitzerland, and since IsaDora recommends applying a frosted base colour to give the matte-based top coat more dimension, I picked up their 651 Silver Sparkles Wonder Nail to go under 802 White Art.

step 1: apply your base colour
step 2: wait for the base colour to dry completely
step 3: shake the crackle polish and simply paint the crackle polish on top of the base colour in just one stroke.  Don’t mind the ridgy streaks from the brush and do not apply a double coat.
step 4: observe it separate right before your eyes!! Baby it’s maaagic.

step 5: (optional) if you want the top coat to stay matte, leave them be. To give your nails a glossy sheen and keep your cracked effect last much longer, apply a clear topcoat.

The possibilities are endless! Mix and match and make it your own. A bright, bold colour will pop underneath any top crackle coat. Click to see full story »

Holiday D.I.Y: Get That Bath Glow

December 16th, 2010 / Posted by natasha

Drop and glow. How simple is that? Here are the recipes for a couple of spa treats that you can slip into any hot, steamy bath. I gifted these with a couple of candles (silver candlestick holders with black or midnight blue candles are super chic for this holiday season) so the receiver can soak in style while adopting that great, holiday glow.

Makes 8 Frosty’s!
(They make great gift toppers!)

1¼ cups baking soda
½ cup powdered citric acid
witch hazel in a spray bottle
30 drops of mandarin essential oil
snowman mold  (I used a jello jiggler mold)
small bags and ribbon to package

Click to see full story »

Holiday D.I.Y: Get Festive With Your Showers!

November 26th, 2010 / Posted by natasha

We’re just as much of a fan of giving thoughtful gifts as we are getting all our holiday presents done in one day. And, of course, we love our little DIY projects! With the holidays around the corner, we thought, why not spend a day in the comforts of your home to make all the presents and stocking stuffers you’ll need for everyone on your list? So, with the help of our Esthetics experts across the hall, we’ve tried and tested six great, natural (and inexpensive!) holiday spa recipes to keep you and all your friends and family happily moisturized, relaxed, and smelling divinely delicious all throughout this chilly Winter season!

Here are a couple of quick scrubs that you can literally make during one commercial break!

This is a great scrub to revitalize those tired feet at the end of a long day.
Yields 4 applications

½ cup sea salt
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup olive oil (adjust for preferred consistency)
10 drops peppermint essential oil
a bowl and stirring stick
glass jars (we doubled the recipe to fit this adorable bubble jar)

Click to see full story »

Welcome to Our Cosmetic Kitchen

September 28th, 2010 / Posted by natasha

Our Esthetics students were whipping up a bunch of deliciously invigorating head-to-toe body masks in the other room and invited me to hang out with them… and the next thing I knew, I was right in there, smelling all of their concoctions and watching them slather their creations on each other!  One side of the room literally looked like I’d dumped all the contents of my refrigerator and pantry out onto a giant metal table alongside a couple of blenders and mini whisks…
Oats, honey, yogurt, sugar, cocoa powder, coconut milk, extra virgin olive oil, ginseng, and tons of fruits and vegetables were spread out at their disposal… which pretty much explains why I was hit with that fresh waft of air when I walked into the room!
Mmmm a zingy lemon mask…I learnt that sugar and oatmeal are great for exfoliation and that cocoa powder is packed with antioxidants.  How’s this for hands-on?! 

Here is a simple and effective all-natural recipe Mama Simona shared with me.  It’s probably one of the most popular homemade facemasks out there. You’ll never have to leave your kitchen to make it and it’s especially great for the upcoming Fall and Winter seasons, keeping your skin moisturized and free from dead skin. Oatmeal comforts and nourishes the skin – it’s rich in protein, potassium, iron, phosphates, magnesium, and silicon.  And it’s perfect for sensitive skin because it is naturally gentle and mild.

Oily Skin:
½ cup cooked oatmeal, cooled
1 egg white
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup mashed apple

Dry Skin:
½ cup cooked oatmeal, cooled
1 egg yolk
½ mashed banana
1 Tbsp honey

Normal Skin:
½ cup cooked oatmeal, cooled
1 whole egg
1 Tbsp almond oil

Step one: Mix all of the ingredients into a smooth paste
Step two: Apply and leave on for 15 minutes (avoid eye area)
Step three: Rinse with tepid water, pat dry with towel

Thank you to Mama Simona for the recipe!

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