Tag: beauty

Beauty Swellness: Update your skincare routine for spring


It’s officially spring, and even though it’s fairly chilly in Toronto, it’s a good time to look at your skincare routine and start transitioning it for the new season. Which is why I snapped up the invite for a facial at Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Paris at the Shangri-La Hotel. “Now is a great time for a facial, to repair any damage from the winter season and to prep for spring,” says Alex Weisseneder, senior esthetician.

What she recommends getting your skin set for spring:

Exfoliate, but not too often. “People often over-exfoliate. Twice a week is good. If you over-exfoliate, you’ll strip the skin of its natural oils and your skin will become excessively oily, which could cause more breakouts.”

Book a facial to get your skin glowing. One customized to your skin, as I had done at Miraj Hammam Spa. I have combination skin, so while my forehead was dry (I’m guessing from lots of sun exposure as I was just in Vegas and California) but the T-zone can get oily, so my esthetician chose the products to target my skin’s needs.

Lighten up on your moisturizing cream. The heavier, richer cream you’ve been using for winter can be replaced now with one that is a lighter formulation, that is thinner in texture and oil-free. Some people are more sensitive to the weather changing, so pay attention to what’s working and not working for you during this transitional period.

Besides the skincare benefits of enjoying a facial at the spa, Miraj is one of my faves in the city for its top-notch spa services but also its cozy lounge area. I’ve tried several treatments here, including the Thai massage. A couple of hours here is a nice way to get away from the chaos of the city and recharge mentally for the busy spring season ahead.





1 Comment March 28, 2017

Beauty Swellness: Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa


If I could afford it, I’d go to the spa at least twice a month; once for a facial and for a massage the next visit. Going to the spa often looked at as decadent pampering but taking care of your skin and body (not to mention how the time at the spa can benefit your mental well-being) should be a priority.

For that reason, I was happy to discover Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa last month. I was invited to try a facial there in exchange for a review, and I’m surprised I’d never heard of or seen the spa before considering there are 20 locations in Ontario. One location is just a short walk away from my home so it was super convenient, huzzah!

The spa itself, in terms of set-up and decor, is pretty typical. Fairly clinical. Clean and quiet. I feel they’d benefit from less prominent stock photos of spa-ing. I think it detracts from the quality of the spa, especially considering they use premium skincare lines (Dermalogica, Yonka and Diego Della Palma).

After assessing my skin and learning I wanted to focus on radiance, my facialist decided to use Dermalogica on my dry (but oily in the T-zone) skin. She asked me whether I wanted quiet time to relax or if I wanted her to walk me through the facial as it progressed, which I appreciated (I don’t think all spas think to ask). Key to the facial that day and for my ongoing skincare, she said, was to exfoliate a couple of times a week. Which I know I should do, but I get lazy. I left the spa relaxed and my skin felt great.

What I like about Hand & Stone is that it aims to make facials and massages something you incorporate into your lifestyle. For your first introductory treatment, the cost is $64.95. And while you don’t need to have a spa membership, which is free, as a member you benefit from cheaper treatment rates (about $30 cheaper). The membership is based on going in monthly for a treatment, i.e. providing your credit card for a monthly spa treatment. Which if you can afford $69.95 each month, great (N.B. Adding on extras like a peel or serum, for example, costs more, and prices vary from location to location). But you’re not tied to going every month. You can cancel your membership at any time, cancel an appointment with enough notice (or else, yes, your credit card will be charged for the month), or put your membership on hold for six months to a year.

I see it as a way to get a monthly treatment that’ll do you good and in a more budget-friendly way than many spas. And if you can’t justify that cost on a monthly basis, you just need to be diligent enough to remember to cancel your standing monthly appointment (the way you used to for Columbia House back in the day, or more recently with companies like Mint where I’ve ordered shoes from). I’d just schedule a reminder each month into my calendar so I could decide whether I wanted a treatment that month, and cancel in time if I didn’t. Just calls for being organized. And worse comes to worst: you forget to cancel in time and you have to get a spa treatment. Hardly an ordeal. 

My facial at Hand & Stone not only left my skin feeling great, but it was a good reminder to give my skin more TLC. I’ve applied a masque since the appointment, started again applying a serum or two at bedtime and have used the Dermalogica products I received after my facial. And my skin looks and feels better; it’s less dehydrated and a friend told me I looked more rested.

Want to learn more about Hand & Stone? Check out www.handandstone.ca.


Leave a Comment November 11, 2016

Beauty Swellness: Caryl Baker + Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada

Caryl Baker x Starlight

One of my friends works at the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada and I’ve had the opportunity to attend their annual gala twice so I”m familiar with the wonderful work that they do. The non-profit’s mission is to provide spirit-lifting events, programs and services for seriously ill children and their families, and when you witness what a difference this organization can make in their lives, well, you quickly become a supporter of the organization, too.

Which is why I’m sharing the details about the upcoming Visage x Starlight Your Purchase Counts campaign, which runs from May 1 to 8th, 2016.

For each Caryl Baker lipstick purchased, $1 will be donated to Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada. Which is not the only thing Caryl Baker is doing: on Sunday, May 1, Caryl Baker will host families from the Foundation and give moms and daughters day makeovers and an afternoon of pampering.

With 40 lipstick shades to choose from (and it’s cute tube featuring a mirror) and at only $18.50 a pop, it’s a great extra item to add onto your Mother’s Day gift (tie it with a ribbon onto your main present for your mom), and it helps Starlight. Or if your mom’s just not into lipstick, you can always just make a straight-up donation to Starlight.

Roseberry is a pretty neutral taupe  (it’s the one on the far left), but I am drawn to the deep red Marilyn (pictured at the bottom of the photo above; I can’t resist a great red lippie), but my favourite shade name has got to be Supertramp (the pink on top in the photo above) . (Your moms might wonder what you’re trying to say if you give her that shade of lipstick!).

May 1 to May 8th. Buy a Caryl Baker lipstick, and you contribute to helping lift the spirits of a terribly sick child. Your purchase counts.


Leave a Comment April 29, 2016

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