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6 Must-Have Canadian Beauty Products

By Sheila, 21, Canada, Global Contributor

Sheila is a Chinese-Canadian blogger in her early twenties with a passion for beauty. You can pretty much find her on Twitter at all waking hours of the day. She makes irrational judgments when it comes to purchasing decisions and would choose a $70 foundation over a $30 blouse any day.  For those who wonder, Sheila has dehydrated normal skin that occasionally breaks out. Her foundation shades are MAC NC25, Chanel B20 Beige Tendre and Guerlain #2. Check out her blog, Maddy Loves!

6 Must-Have Canadian Beauty Products

Canadian brands are often overshadowed by large American brands that do a better job of advertising their products in stores and in the media. However, these products made by Canadian brands are like hidden treasures: you will only find them if you look carefully, and once you’ve found them, you will never look back! Here are a couple of my favourite products made by Canadian brands…

Marcelle Hydra-C line was recently revamped. This line is targeted at girls in the 20s who want healthy, glowing skin. The star product, which I absolutely love, is the 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel. This jelly-like gel-crème provides my skin with the perfect amount of moisture but is light enough to not cause oiliness. It melts right into the skin with no residue and best of all, almost all of their products, including this one, are hypo-allergenic, perfume-free, alcohol-free, oil-free, paraben-free and alcohol-free–perfect for all skin types!

Annabelle Smoothliner is our drugstore’s answer to high-end eyeliner. This inexpensive alternative to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliner and Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes, is smooth and creamy for easy application; it glides right onto the eyelid without any tugging. When worn on top of primer, this eyeliner is also long-wearing. It’s priced at 1/3 of its high-end equivalents, and Smoothliner is available in seven shades.

Joe Fresh Beauty is a young brand that is known for their simple packaging and relatively inexpensive prices. I love their Cream Lipstick. The quality, pigmentation, and wear are all fantastic. My favourite shade is Tulip, which is a dark watermelon pink that leans red. The packaging kind of reminds me of Shu Uemura, but at a much, much lower price.

Check out three more must-haves! 

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5 Must-Have Indian Beauty Products

By Mehak Sagar, 24, India, Global Contributor

Mehak is 24-years old and a number-crunching economist from India. When she’s not analyzing data, she’s analyzing beauty, which is where her real passion lies. She loves blush and the color peach, and together, the two give her unparalleled happiness (hence her blog, Peaches and Blush). Aside from beauty, she loves food, shoes, traveling, dancing, and painting. She has an unhealthy obsession with chocolate cookies, lip balms, her three-year-old niece, and planning her upcoming wedding. Mehak lives with a joint family, which means 13 people in a single house, but she says it just means there is more makeup to go around!

Colorbar Nail Lacquers

5 Must-Have Indian Beauty Products

Being an Indian beauty-holic has never been so much fun! While we still fret over the lack of international brands here and how MAC expects us to ‘Surf, Baby’ in the middle of fall, our local Indian beauty brands are stepping up their game to feed our never-ending appetite for the latest and greatest in makeup!  These are five products from local Indian beauty brands that you should try if you can!

Colorbar Nail Lacquers | Until two years ago, nail polish for Indian brands meant varying shades of either pink or red and all in pearl finishes. Colorbar was the first brand to step out of the comfort zone and give us emerald greens, oranges, duochromes, neons, and sparkly, metallic finishes. The best part is that each bottle costs less than $3, does not chip, and goes on super smoothly! I have my fingers crossed that–soon–we will be getting our first real glitter polish from this brand, too!

Lakme Earth Rose Trio Blush | Dusty pink, sandy beige, and warm caramel all swirl together to make Lakme Earth Rose Trio Blush the perfect handbag accessory. The colors give a warm and earthy natural-looking flush, and you can go deeper or lighter depending on where you dip your brush in. It is also one of those products that looks great on almost all skin tones.

Colorbar I-Glide Eye Pencils | Colorbar is a spanking new entrant into the Indian beauty sScene. Their I-Glide Eye Pencils have the dramatic finish of liquid eyeliner with the convenience of a pencil. These are super soft and creamy, very pigmented, last the entire day, and can give any high end brand a run for their money. Prunella (deep purple), Truffle (shimmery brown), and Jaded (emerald green) are three must-haves for me from this range.

Lakme Black Satin Eye Kohl | If Jack Sparrow were to come to India, I would definitely recommend the Lakme Black Satin Eye Kohl to him. It is intensely black, soft, slightly smudgy with a long wear time, and whether or not you are a pirate, it looks great lined on the lower rim for that soft, smokey look.

Forest Essentials Cold Pressed Oils | Rubbing oil all over your face might sound like a crazy thing to do, but the only thing crazy about Forest Essentials Cold Pressed Sesame Oil is how insanely good it feels on skin. Not only is it the most effective makeup remover I have used so far, but it can be used instead of your night cream, because it moisturizes the skin without leaving it feeling oily and greasy.

Check out more photos & swatches! 

5 Surprising Skincare Facts You Didn’t Know (Until Now!)

By Nicki Zevola, Pennsylvania, Skincare Expert

Nicki Zevola is a beauty expert and the founder of FutureDerm.com, where she provides clear, well-researched information about beauty+skincare, fashion+style, nutrition+fitness, and personal development from a different perspective from most in the blogosphere. Named one of the top beauty bloggers since 2009, Nicki is also a medical student (M.D.) with an estimated graduation date of May 2013. Continue reading her full bio

5 Surprising Skincare Facts You Didn’t Know (Until Now!)

1. Mixing certain skin care ingredients inactivates them.

Even if you hated science classes, you have to keep in mind that skin care is the product of somewhat advanced chemistry, subject to pH imbalance, unexpected reactions, and the like. For instance, many cosmetic chemists do not recommend using products with alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, and retinol together. This is because retinol is most active at a pH of 5.5-6.0 (Journal of Investigative Dermatology), while glycolic acid has an optimized pH at 3.83 (Cosmetic Dermatology). Another problem is using a heavier skin care product under a lighter one. High concentrations of certain occlusive agents like petrolatum and mineral oil prevent the ingredients in the lighter serum from reaching your skin as effectively. Most dermatologists thereby recommend applying the lighter product first.

2. You should never apply self-tanner before going out into the sun, unless you use a sunscreen first.

Most self-tanners work by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient. According to a 2007 study published in Germany, DHA causes the skin to release 180% more free radicals once exposed to the sun. Therefore sun protection is extremely important when you have used self-tanners containing DHA within the past 24 hours.

3. There is no such thing as 100% SPF protection from a sunscreen.

According to dermatologist Dr. Rachel Herschenfeld, M.D., the percentage of protection you get is 100 – (1/SPF number)*100. I know that looks complicated, but let’s take SPF 30 for example:

Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/SPF number)*100
Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/30)*100 = 100 – 3.3
Percentage of protection = 96.6

Using that same principle, SPF 50 provides only 98% protection, and SPF 100 provides 99.9%!  Keep in mind this is the amount of protection provided when you apply a whole shot-glass full of sunscreen for your entire body and reapply religiously every 2-3 hours. As such, it’s safe to say there is no such thing as 100% sun protection from a sunscreen.

Check out two more facts you didn’t know! 

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Easy Halloween Nails Tutorial

By Edith (Edie) Bryan, 27, United Kingdom, Nail Care Expert

Edie hails from the beautiful country that is Wales, in the UK. She’s an esthetician and has been trained in all aspects of beauty, from waxing to skincare, but she specializes in nails. She discovered her talent for nails at 17 and worked as a junior technician. In 2005, she started her own business running a nail salon in her home town. She found creating beautiful nails was the perfect way to combine her natural creativity and her obsession with fashion and beauty into one. Check out her blog Touch Beauty and follow her on Twitter!

Easy Halloween Nails Tutorial

Halloween is almost upon us, and there is no better excuse to wear something fun and fancy on your nails. I can usually be found wearing a nude, deep burgundy, or bright red polish, and I don’t often choose anything else. Between those three essential shades, I find my nail polish will compliment any outfit, but for Halloween, I like to go a little bit crazy with my nails!

I thought I would share a very simple design to try on your nails that can easily be tweaked to fit your own tastes. I painted my natural nails because I am giving my nails a break from enhancements for a while, so I was ‘length limited ‘ in creating an elaborate or detailed design.  This design is particularly suited to those of you with nails that have some free edge that you want to enhance and emphasize. The V-shaped tip creates the illusion of longer nail beds, so it is a handy little trick to remember.

The polish I used was a very bright orange (Boots 17 Orange Soda), but you could use anything similar; I thought that a bold, almost glowing, pumpkin-like shade would fit the bill perfectly.  I could also imagine a red polish working well with the black V-shaped tip, though!  To start, I applied one layer of base coat, and then I painted each nail individually with Boots 17 Orange Soda.  I followed this with a sprinkle of orange, superfine craft glitter. For the black tips, I used black acrylic paint, although black nail polish would work just as well.

The super cute nail decals were applied using tweezers.  The whole nail look was topped off with two coats of top coat (I like CND Super Shiny). It is really important to seal the decals in with two coats of top coat or else you will find they chip off very quickly.  There are endless design possibilities using these cute Halloween decals (available here). They are quick to apply and easy to remove, so they are ideal for anyone who isn’t doesn’t have the steady hand to create freehand designs. Have fun creating your own Halloween designs!

How are you decking your nails out this Halloween?

The Perfect Halloween Scent

By Aleta, 26, Virginia

Aleta is the associate editor of a national history magazine (World War II), and an unapologetic fragrance nerd. Growing up on a farm west of Portland, Oregon, she spent many summer nights attempting to make perfume by soaking flowers in cups of water (if only her mother had let her use the vodka). Her most prized possessions include a bottle of French cologne brought home by an American GI after World War II (L’Ardent Nuit by Cotay), a signed copy of Perfume: The Guide, and a handwritten “enjoy your purchase” note from perfumer Mandy Aftel. Her website: worldwarII.com.

The Perfect Halloween Scent

The possibilities are endless for pairing fragrance with Halloween costumes: one of the fresh-scrubbed Clean fragrances would be cheeky for doctors and nurses, cowboys and cowgirls can’t go wrong with Stetson, and Demeter Fragrance Library’s Dust, Dirt, or Funeral Parlor are just a few literal options for the various undead. But in terms of capturing the overall trick-or-treat spirit of the season, a few fragrances come to mind for their candy-like sweetness paired with an unexpected quirky edge.

Lolita Lempicka matches near-medicinal red berries with a kick of licorice that’s both icy herbal and molasses-cookie warm, all carried through with a breathy white floral. When I saw Twilight, someone in the theater treated the entire audience to this scent; perfection. It would also suit those who are attracted to gingerbread houses and chatty wolves. Or, if your sweet tooth leans a little more Wonka (or Gaga), you can’t beat the original that sparked this scent–Thierry Mugler Angel, an over-the-top confection that passes on the licorice in favor of husky, chocolaty patchouli and adds a dose of ultra-ripe fruit for good measure.

Bvlgari Black starts with a blast of smoky black rubber and leather, rendered weightless with sweet, inedible vanilla. If your mood this holiday leans toward pleather–or the real thing–take note. For something a little less devilish/biker and more Stepford, try the equally inedible Kenzo Amour, a space-age vanilla lacking any hint of pastry warmth.

I’ll be pairing my Bride of Frankenstein ensemble with one of my favorites, Aftelier Cepes and Tuberose. The cepes (mushroom) note is a stunningly earthy, subtly wine-like complement to a tuberose note that’s far less restrained than its sisters found at the department store. A perfect pairing of forest decay and insatiable full-bloom life–hopefully just the thing to catch the nose of my Dr. Frankenstein. (Newcomers to this brand: don’t let the price tag scare you. The seemingly wee bottles of pure perfume last me about as long as a 1.7 oz eau de parfum.)

What are you wearing for Halloween? Need help picking a fragrance? Let’s talk in the comments!

DIY Halloween Makeup Tips & Tricks

By Dustin Hunter, Washington, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. As a makeup artist, Dustin Hunter combines his love of music and visual art to construct images of experimental beauty for both stage and photography; creating avant-garde makeup looks for photographers, performers and musicians. Check out his blog and YouTube channel, plus read his full bio.

DIY Halloween Makeup Tips & Tricks

Before my kitchen refrigerator was stocked with fake blood and scab material, I relied on some pretty creative ways to make my own FX supplies. With Halloween just around the corner, some of us may be freaking out and thinking we’ve run out of time to put a costume together, but here are a few DIY tips that I STILL use to this day (even with a fridge full of gore) for last minute costumes:

Matte Eyeshadows | If you’re going to create bruises or dirty, rough, and irritated skin, matte eyeshadows in shades like lime green, mustard yellow, violet, dark brown and blue are must-haves! Any amount of frost or shimmer will give the illusion away in an instant so stick with matte finishes.

Burgundy Lipstick | Highly pigmented, dark red lipstick not only mimics the look of blood quite well (particularly for scraps and small cuts) but also stays where you place it, making it a good choice for long-wearing blood effects.

Luffas and Bath Scrunchies | If you don’t have access to a stippling sponge, a cut up Luffa or tightly-wound bath scrunchie will work to create the look of broken capillaries. Dip the edges into your dark red lipstick and stamp onto the skin.

Food Coloring and Light Corn Syrup | Add several drops of red and just a smidgen of blue for realistic fake blood! Add a small amount of water if you really need the stuff to flow, or if you know your way around a kitchen, you can reduce the mixture over heat (to the “soft ball” stage) for some pretty snazzy homemade scab material! Remember, blood comes in different shades of red (arterial blood is brighter than the blood from veins), so mix accordingly.

Eyelash Adhesive | It’s actually liquid latex. Spread a thin layer onto the skin and start picking and scratching it–be careful though, it’s still your skin you’re scratching at! Fill in the “holes” in your skin with that dark red lipstick to create a nice “road rash” effect!

MORE Eyelash Adhesive and Cotton | Thin strips of cotton (pulled from buds or cotton balls) can be placed on the skin over your lash glue. Set those strips with another layer of glue and you’ll have instant raised scarring!

Hairspray | If you do something cool, you’ll want to make sure it sticks around by using a makeup sealer. I love Final Seal by Ben Nye (Benefit’s She-Laq is nice but pricey). But if you’re in a pinch, reach for the hairspray. A light mist will do the job; just don’t tell your dermatologist I told you to put it on your face.

If you can stomach it, do a few image searches in your favorite search engine for words like “bruise,” “broken capillaries,” and “scrapes and cuts” for inspiration. The best way to learn how to create something realistic looking is to see how it looks… in reality.

See more photos!