from my shelf to yours : shisheido ibuki

September 30, 2013By stephanie


Sounds awesome already, doesn’t it?

Ibuki is a Japanese word that refers to one’s inner strength that can overcome whatever is thrown at it, and emerge better than ever. So fitting for Shiseido’s new skincare line emerging this month.

Shiseido Ibuki is a line of cleansers, moisturizers and creams  that are designed to give you clear skin now and the ability to fight off damage in the future. Focused on building the skin’s “inner resistance” to the ups and downs of a women’s lifestyle, Ibuki works proactively. As we all know, our skin is directly affected by our lack of sleep, hormone cycle, inconsistent diet and stress. By strengthening the skin, women can stop dealing with the same skin issues over and over again.

I was honoured to have received a preview of the Ibuki line and put it to work immediately. Normally, I like to keep my skin routine to a minimum, so I focused on three specific products from the line: Ibuki Cleanser, Ibuki Protective Moisturizer and the Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream. In addition, I used the Ibuki Purifying Cleanser twice a week.

First things first: the cleansers. Gah! Just a little bit goes a long way as both cleansers foam up into a creamy lather quickly.  Very rich to the touch, the  gentle cleanser left my skin feeling clean and smooth without residue once rinsed away. I didn’t feel any tightness or dryness, which can happen when switching cleansers. The purifying cleanser is also very effective. Again, I used this only twice a week, but it manages to slough away dry flakes as needed and my skin always felt refreshed. Within a week, my skin felt brighter and softer. I also felt like I didn’t need as much makeup to conceal redness.

When it comes to moisturizers, I love a good creamy slather at night, but for day I prefer a lighter layer that absorbs easily but keeps my skin feeling hydrated throughout. In addition, it HAS to have sun protection – so I knew the protective moisturizer was the one for me. It’s perfect for daytime use. Light to the touch, it sinks into the skin quickly but spreads evenly. Just one pump is more than enough. There is no greasy film, so I can apply my makeup almost immediately after application. I normally have a small dry patch just between my eyebrows, but since using the Ibuki line, it has disappeared.

Last but not least, the Eye Correcting Cream. It is never to early to address the issue of skincare for the eye area and you are never to young to start doing a little something extra for the eye. Period. For me, a good eye cream has to leave my eyes feeling refreshed and hydrated while it works and this cream didn’t disappoint. It had a nice cooling effect around the eyes which I felt perked me up.

After one week of using the line, I posted this picture up on my Instagram profile. I remember getting into the car that day, checking my reflection and saying “woah … my skin looks great today”. As of late, I feel like my skin is brighter, plumper and more youthful looking.

So the verdict: I’m definitely a fan of the new Ibuki line from Shiseido. I think beautiful people from age 28 and up can benefit from daily use of this line – especially those who live a life filled with ups and downs and the fun inconsistencies of work and play (long hours, lack of sleep, no time to eat!). I’ve been at the mercy of all three for the last month, yet my skin never showed it.

Shiseido Ibuki launches October 2013 – TOMORROW! Shiseido is available at most department stores and the new Ibuki line pricing ranges from $30 to $55.  Have fun shopping ladies!


scene and heard: living aveda …

September 26, 2013By stephanie

I grew up in the east end of Scarborough in a small community known as the Rouge Hill. It was a pretty quiet existence. There is not much that I can tell you about my school-age life that would be considered cool other than Chris Draper, an NHL Hockey player, was very good friends with my older brother and two girls from my class are related to Ray Civello – founder of Civello hair salons and president of Aveda Canada.

I am no longer in touch with either of the Civello girls … but I was recently invited to break bread with their uncle at a small luncheon introducing what’s new for fall at Aveda.

I am a big fan of Aveda. I habitually use three of their products: Pure Abundance, Pure-formance Grooming Clay, and their Dry Remedy Shampoo. Needless to say, I was honoured to be included to join them for this “urban renewal” event and see what’s new for Fall 2013.

The event included a mini-fashion/style show and lunch, and prior to to that guests were invited to visit three stations: Stress-fix (hand massages), Invati (scalp massages), and Heart Lands (mini makeovers).

First things first – Stress Fix. Um yes please! With summer now over and the kids back in school (and after school lessons and playdates)  – there is a lot to stress over until the return of next summer. An aroma based line that includes a body lotion, concentrate, and soaking salt, Aveda uses the strength of certified organic lavendar to help us relieve and recover from high levels of stress through the use of scent. I fancy the concentrate which comes in a very convenient rollerball tube.  Whether I’m running in-between clients or stuck on the TTC during rush hour, a quick slip of this product over some key points (the wrist, behind the ear) quickly lifts my spirits and calms me down.

Next up: Invati! There is no way I was going to say no to a scalp massage … especially one that would incorporate ayurvedic wisdom to reduce hair loss.  Now that I’m six months out from having BlushPretty BabyGirl, I’m going through the stage all new mothers hate the most: the shedding of hair. It’s everywhere! EVERYWHERE! And I would try anything to keep most of it on my head. Invati, complete with a exfoliating shampoo, thickening conditioner and scalp revitalizer claims to reduce hair loss by 33 percent by using a blend of ayurvedic herbs which help to rehabilitate and reenergize the scalp. I’ll take it. Much like Stressfix’s  Concentrate, I’m thoroughly enjoying the revitalizer, massaging it in daily and taking in the aroma of the blend of herbs. I still am shedding slightly, but less than what I was seeing two weeks ago. I’d be interested to see how much it could improve my situation if I were to routinely use all three products!

Last but not least: Heart Lands – Aveda’s limited edition makeup collection for autumn/winter 2013. I’m happy that I went to the event with minimal makeup because it gave me the opportunity to try on some of the colours right then and there. The style show at the event focused on the looks created from this collection and I’m keen on the flushed face aesthetic they were pushing – I think its such a beautiful look. Heartlands is two lipsticks, two lip glazes, four eye definers and six eyeshadows – more than enough to play with. I tried on the lipstick in Sweet Plum which I found rich in colour, wore well, and didn’t dry out my lips – my #1 major concern about lipstick. It is a colour that is right on trend too – gold star. Bonus: the selfie mirror at the event. I couldn’t resist – bada-ba-ba-ba I’m loving it! Every event now needs a selfie mirror.

After all the star treatment, and after I was feeling a bit too relaxed, was the lunch and fashion show. Here are some photos I managed to grab, but please visit our Tumblr site for the event photographer’s images.

Again, I really like the focus on clean skin and flushed cheeks. I really do think everyone looks good with this minimal makeup approach. I’m also really feeling the finger wave ‘do for short hair … I’m going to try that on myself!

I’m definitely an even bigger fan of Aveda now. I think there is something to say about products that are very lush and luxe to the touch and the eye, but are also eco-friendly and responsibly-sourced. Aveda is available throughout the US and Canada – visit their website to find an Aveda retailer or store near to you.


*a very big thank you to KnotPR for the invite – such a pleasure to have attended!

smoothing your skin …

September 25, 2013By stephanie

I’m all about smooth skin from the face to the toes. :) While I work on skin and body care daily, I reserve a good hour on Sunday evenings “overhauling” my entire self. We’re talking a good shampoo and conditioner, a complete hair removal routine, full body lotion, and scrubbing and peeling as needed. I’ve recently added two products to my routine to keep it all going … (it’s a lot a work, I tell ya!)

I believe exfoliation is the key to keeping the complexion and face looking youthful and radiant. I am a firm believer in microdermabrasion (hello: fresh.beautiful: the skin studio!) but can completely appreciate that regular treatments and sessions can get costly. Olay Professional’s new Olay Pro-X Microdermabrasion Plus Advanced Cleansing System is the perfect way to achieve microdermabrasion results in the comfort of your bathroom and at a fraction of the cost.

Battery-operated and with an ergonomic design this tool comes with two brushheads and two cleansers – an Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser and a Thermal Crystal Polisher – both as effective as they sound. The unit also has speed control (3 speeds) which is great for people who rather tread lightly with dermabrasion or those whom have sensitive skin. I went full blast.

I’ve been using the system at least once a week, sometimes twice, and I use both brush heads and cleansers each time. The Thermal Crystal Polisher is my favourite (picture on left). You can feel it heat up over the skin and after rinsing, I feel like I have this great flush from it (picture on right). The system cleans the skin well and sloughs away all the grime and build-up I accumulate over the week. It leaves the skin soft to the touch and brighter.

Moving along … keeping the skin smooth on the rest of my body is another story.  It needs more help …

My husband has the smoothest legs. Ever. His arms are like silk too. He has this “problem” of not being able to grow a beard or leg hair or arm hair. Which is odd because he has a head of hair that is thick, curly and still all there (he’s a little up there in years and his family suffers from a bit of male pattern baldness, but he shows no signs of losing his hair anytime soon).

Anyway, back on topic – he thinks not having leg hair or beard hair is a “problem” – whereas I would kill to have super smooth and hairless legs and arms and underarms without the worry of shaving. I’m not the hairiest monster out there, but I do need to keep it all under control. I’m too shy (and a wimp) to undergo laser hair removal but am getting really sick of having to shave my legs twice a week.

I’m really thankful to have come across the opportunity to try out Inhibitif! The latest in hair removal technology, Inhibitif works to stop your hair from growing back and its as easy as applying lotion and deodorant everyday. And its that painless too …

Unlike depilatories which simply removes hair, Inhibitif acts to reduce the frequency of how often you need to shave or wax. By applying the product just twice a day for about 8 weeks, you can reduce how often you need to focus on hair removal. After 8 weeks, maintenance is as simple as applying Inhibitif just three times a week.

I have been quite religious and liberal with both the body serum and the deodorant (there is a serum for the face, which I haven’t tested out yet!).  I’m just completing week five but am down to epilating the legs and underarms just once a week and seeing very minimal regrowth. Last week, prior to departing for Lake Tahoe, I actually de-forested my entire body and didn’t have to worry about excessive or visible hair regrowth during the entire five day trip – so, I’m a pretty happy camper – I had more time to spend seeing Lake Tahoe then in the shower or bathroom trying to look good for Lake Tahoe. Gold Star!

Smooth skin will always be a deep obsession of mine. Its the one thing where, whether I’m wearing my pajamas, sweats, or a dress, I will feel good about myself no matter what. So, if I can feel that way for longer with less effort – hell yeah I’m going to do it. Both the Olay Professional and Inhibitif Lines are available at your local Shoppers Drug Mart!


musings from morgan : mary kay @play collection

September 24, 2013By stephanie

Before I jump into my review, allow me to introduce myself – my name is Morgan, the newest addition to the BlushPretty team of blog contributors. I’m excited to share my thoughts & reviews with the gorgeous readers of BlushPretty, and hope you enjoy!

The Mary Kay at Play line of products was a welcome first review. The line offers baked eye shadows, eye crayons, jelly lip glosses and lip crayon in four shades each, and everything is only $12 a piece!

I was first impressed by the packaging (very cute!), and found the colours bold, bright and fun.

The Baked Eye Trio in Ocean View is a three-in-one product, and totally gave off a mermaid/ocean vibe.

So pretty!

The shadow was not as pigmented as I expected when dry, but it still went on bold. The silver (top left) was the least pigmented of the three, but not to a fault – it could easily provide a hint of shimmer without being too much at any moment.

The teal shade in the middle (top right) was the most “ocean-y” of the three and felt the most playful, and the navy (bottom left) was something I could see myself wearing often. Lastly, I tried all three in one swipe (bottom right) and found that was my favourite way to wear it.

The best way to wear these, though? Wet – I’ve always found baked eyeshadows are best worn wet, and when I swatched them the colours were incredible! Really felt like an “ocean view this way, and I was really impressed.

Left to right: Navy, Teal, Silver, All Combined

Overall, the shadow was great – definitely something to throw into the mix for a night out! I really want to try the On the Horizon trio & Earth Bound trio now the colours look beautiful and I can only imagine how they’d look on.

Next, I tried both lip products from the line, the Jelly Lip Gloss and the Lip Crayon.

The lip crayon was easy to apply and went on light, but was easy to build if you wanted a bolder look. It definitely lived up to its shade name, Candied Apple, and was a little more – well, candy apple – than I’d usually choose to wear, but the product itself was great for easy wear, and I’m really interested in tryingViolet Loveas a fall shade.

If you’re looking for a gloss that provides just enough shine and isn’t too sticky, the Jelly Lip Gloss is just right. Teddy Bare is a light, sheer nude shade and the product itself is very wearable on top of a lipstick or stain.

My verdict on the Mary Kay at Play lineimpressive.The line is affordable, offers a range of easy-to-wear shades for each product and didn’t disappoint!

Morgan Cadenhead is a self-professed beauty junkie living & working in Toronto. By day, she’s a PR prowho loves all things writing & media, but by night she’s often catching up on her favourite fashion & beauty blogs or hitting up the gym. Her makeup obsession stems from the realization that makeup is a powerful and (most importantly) fun tool – it can make the difference in how you carry yourself, set the tone for a good day andabove all, make anyone feel gorgeous! Follow her on Twitter @morgancadenhead or drop her a line at

lightbox : lakes, mountains and brides …

September 23, 2013By stephanie

Whoops … did a whole week slip by?

Yes, yes indeed, it did. But it was a very productive week for BlushPretty. I was actually away in Lake Tahoe for a destination wedding and a beautiful bride.

It’s funny, because this wedding season, the BP team has been booked to work some very remote and/or lakeside and/or cottage/farm-like weddings. For me alone, I was in Dwight, ON, Owen Sound, ON, and Lake Tahoe within the last three weeks alone. All were more rustic and earthy in feel and each made me fall head over heels with “cottage” life.

Pearl and Wyeth’s wedding was a small and intimate affair with only the closest of family and friends present, so everything, from the venue, to the cliffside vows, to the dinner, to the reception fit perfectly with the lakeside backdrop.  They were married at The Fairwinds, a north Lake Tahoe “blink and you will literally miss it” hideaway. Blue water, mountains, and lush greenery … check, check and check.

The above photos are from my personal camera and given that I am not the best photographer, I can only imagine how beautiful the hired photographer’s photos are going to be. That said, look at the photo below as night began to fall over the lake. I’m pretty proud of this shot!

I am so honoured to have been a part of Pearl and Wyeth’s wedding … and I think I fell in love with Lake Tahoe. If only I could get married all over again …

Congratulations guys!