SOS! cold weather saviours for your skin + beyond.

For us, winter is. a. struggle. As the temperature dips (which it seems to be doing earlier than normal this year), our bodies – and skin in particular – really feel its drying effect. Over the years, we’ve finally come to the realization that our routines need to change to account for the change in temperature.  The following tips have helped us beat the chill in the past and we hope they help you out this winter too.


hydrate from the inside out.

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Drink lots of water: This is true all year round, but especially so in the dry winter months. We like to start every single day with a glass of water immediately to get our bodies in the habit of drinking water for the day.  Keeping a water bottle at your desk is also key and we’ve found that the bigger the bottle, the more we drink.  Our favourite bottle, Corkcicle, is actually meant for wine (shocker), so it fits 750mL easily and keeps the temperature exactly where you like it for hours.  We love the copper bottle, available online for $37.95.   

Swap coffee for tea: Another tip is to kick the coffee habit in the winter months, or at least substitute your second coffee each day for a green tea.  Green tea does not have quite as much caffeine as coffee but there’s some evidence to suggest that green tea is less dehydrating than coffee. 

Eat hydrating foods: Opt for foods that pack more hydration in the winter months. Read: eat your veggies. Vegetables like cucumber, celery, and iceberg lettuce are great for hydrating and come with obvious other benefits from a dietary perspective.  If you prefer fruit, watermelon and strawberries are good sources of water as well.


use a humidifier.

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Humidifiers are a lifesaver, and they don’t need to be an industrial-sized machine to have an effect.  Our favourite humidifier, made by Objecto and available for $169.99 at The Bay, doubles as an essential oil diffuser. We keep this diffuser running at home and while we sleep.  To humidify the air 24/7, at work we use the Fancii Portable Humifier, which is small and easily hooks up to a plastic water bottle as a water source.  This little guy is available on Amazon for $29.99.



switch up your facecare routine accordingly.

We spoke to our friends at NIU BODY, which is a Toronto-based company that produces completely natural facecare products at an affordable price point, for their top winter skincare tips.  Their first suggestion was to incorporate an oil-based moisture source into your skincare routine.  A product like their Hydrate Facial Serum ($36 online) is a customer favourite for this.  In addition, the ladies at NIU BODY also recommend introducing a lip scrub, like their Sugar Lip Polish ($13 online), to exfoliate dead skin and soften your pout.  They advise against using any overly drying products in the winter months, especially those that are alcohol-based, and using a hydrating face mask 1-2x per week.  Our favourite tip? Don’t forget your SPF in the winter months! Harmful rays are still at work in the winter, so you’ll want to make sure you’re protecting your skin year-round.  Tip: You can also purchase NIU BODY products at select retailers in the city and beyond.


but it’s not all about your face.

For your body: Don’t forget about the skin on the rest of your body! Our favourite winter ritual is incorporating an oil into bath time.  The best (and most fun) product we’ve found is Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Minty Eucalyptus Bath Bomb ($5.95 in store or online), which is contains coconut oil and cocoa butter to moisturize your skin right in the tub.  The eucalyptus scent also helps to clear breathing passages for that inevitable winter cold virus…

For your hands: We load up on hand cream during the winter and keep one on the night table, one in the purse, and one on the desk.  Our favourite on-the-go cream is Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Omega 3 Hand Cream in Lemongrass ($11.95 in store or online), which is small enough to toss in your bag/store on your desk.  For nighttime, we prefer Aveda’s hand relief ($34 for 4.2 fl. oz. online).

For your hair: Static, limp, just generally sad looking winter hair.  We fall victim to it every year.  Most of us don’t change our haircare routine in the winter despite winter hair symptoms.  Try incorporating a hydrating mask into your haircare routine.  We like Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing Mask ($50 online).  Use this mask once per week (or more/less depending on your hair) for 5 minutes at a time.  Tip: Tie your hair in a low bun while treating with the mask to prevent it from rinsing out prematurely in the shower.

a first-hand, beginner's experience with lash extensions

I’ll preface this blog post with this – I struggle to even apply concealer in the mornings.  It’s not that I’m not good with make-up or don’t like wearing make-up, it’s just that I don’t see the necessity of wearing it every day and, if I’m being honest, I’m not exactly the happiest camper before 7:00AM when I’m typically getting ready.

So, naturally, I’ve always been intrigued by lash extensions.  As someone with stubby, straight, and light-coloured eyelashes who cringes at the sight of a lash curler and tube of mascara, the idea of rolling out of bed without batting an eye (literally) in the mirror was appealing. But, I had also heard a lot about lash extensions that turned me off – they’re expensive, difficult to maintain, etc. etc.  Keep reading!

What struck me when starting Primped was how many other women were thinking the same thing.  They had heard good things but found it difficult to demystify the process and get all the facts on getting lash extensions and almost all of them had the same questions I did.  Cue, the idea to write a blog post. I focused on 5 key areas, but you may well have other questions and concerns.  If that’s the case, shoot ya girls at Primped an email and we’d be happy to answer any and all questions.


concern #1 – there’s too many options.

Classic set, hybrid set, volume set.  When I finally committed to booking my lashes and was presented with the booking options, I was already in trouble.  I had literally no idea what the difference was between these sets, all I knew was that I didn’t want to look like Jennifer Love Hewitt circa 2012.  Even when I had figured out what set was right for me, I then had to decide what length I wanted.  It felt like too many options and I was definitely overwhelmed.  But, rest assured, it’s not that complicated.

 Selecting your set:

The difference between the set types above refers to how many lashes are being applied.  Simply put, as you move from classic to hybrid to volume, more lashes are used to achieve a progressively fuller look.  The below pics progress from natural to classic set to volume set so you see what I mean. Hybrid is simply a blend between classic and volume.

Selecting your length:

Sizes range according to millimeter lengths (i.e. 10, 11, 12, etc.). Given I was a newbie (I.e. I needed lash extension training wheels), my lash tech used a mixture of 10, 11, 12 to achieve a very natural look. The higher you go, the more dramatic the look. Simple as that!


concern #2: knowing what to expect.

True story: I did not know the difference between lash extensions and the false lashes you buy at say, MAC, until about a year ago.  Even more ambiguous to me was the format and length of the appointment.  Naturally, I had a number of questions for our lash tech before the appointment even started.  I’ve listed them all below. Click to expand the answers.

how long is the appointment?

The appointment lasts 1.5-2 hours depending on the set you select.

do I sit? stand? hang upside down?

You will lay down. Some of our lash techs will bring a massage style bed for you while others will do it right on your couch.

what do I need to do to prepare?

You should have no eye make-up on, so removing make-up before the appointment is vital. Other than that, there isn’t much to do besides make sure you have a chair for your lash tech and good lighting as well as a small table (end tables work well) for her few tools.

how are the lash extensions actually applied?

One-by-one with a glue that can sometimes cause your eyes to turn red immediately after the appointment, but that redness fades after a couple of hours. Your lash tech will gently tape your lower lashes to your skin to prevent the glue from sticking them to your upper lashes. This may still happen, but your lash tech will painlessly separate your lash lines, so have no fear!

how long do the lashes last?

Three to four weeks if you take care of them. Keep reading for details on this!

does it hurt?

No. Your eyes may get watery and slightly red but there is absolutely no pain. They also may flicker a little bit at the beginning as they adjust to being taped, but that reflex quickly fades.

what are refills all about?

You can have re-fills applied at the 2-4 week mark when you notice your lash extensions are thinning. This allows some continuity in your look vs. waiting for them to fall out and becoming patchy. Refills are less expensive than a full lash set application.


concern #3 – entertaining myself.

So, the appointment takes 1.5-2 hours.  “No problem I can definitely entertain myself”, I thought.  “After all, I sit for longer than that at a hair appointment”, I thought.  Correct, except I entertain myself at the hair appointment by reading, texting, chatting on the phone, etc. all of which are impossible when lying down on a bed with your eyes closed.  Tip: You shouldn’t speak much during the appointment.  Speaking tugs at your eyes and opens them slightly, which allows fumes from the glue to enter your eye and cause redness.  Even more concerning to me was my reflex to fall into a state of sleep border-lining unconsciousness the second I stop moving.  How embarrassing would it be to have to be shaken awake by your lash tech… 

Killing time for 1.5-2 hours was probably my single biggest concern going into the appointment. The simplest route, and the route that I chose, was to fight the urge to have to “kill time” at all and just sit back and relax.  For those of you who don’t see that as an option, I’ve don’t a bit of research for you and come up with the following activities. Click to expand the suggestion.

option 1: audiobooks

There are plenty of audiobooks out there that you can download and listen to. I like to use audible.ca. Side note: Audiobooks are also great for commuting if you get motion sickness and can’t read en route.

option 2: podcasts

I’ve tried to supply a few options for ladies with varying interests but would love any of your recommendations for my next go-around.

For the business minded – aka my choice – Business Wars or How I Built This

For the sports fanatic – Jay & Dan

For the science nerd (and more) – Stuff You Should Know

For the fashion and beauty lover – Fat Mascara

option 3: just listen to a TV show.

Listening to a show allows you to process almost as much of the plot as watching it… Ground-breaking…


concern #4: the cost becoming too much and maintenance being too time consuming

I was a little bit worried about the cost of lash extensions and how to maintain them.  The first game-changer for me (don’t laugh) was realizing that you don’t actually need to get them removed professionally - they simply fall out after a certain number of weeks.  Unlike that pesky shellac that looks horrible near the end of its life, lashes will naturally fall out one-by-one by about the third or fourth week, so there is no removal cost or time commitment at the end.

As far as maintenance, there really is none.  Your lash tech will give you a small brush that you should use to gently brush your lashes daily – that’s about it.  You should avoid touching your lash line all together, including when you wash your face and dry it.  Tip: Rub the lids of your eye when they are itchy instead of the lash line – same relief but much better for your lash extensions. You should also avoid sleeping in a way that buries your eyes into your pillow – sounds ridiculous but it’s a difficult feat if you’re a side/tummy sleeper like I am or you like wearing a sleep mask like I do.  I promise, though, you’ll adjust! All these tips are meant to help your lash extensions last longer, so you get more bang for your buck.


concern #5: the lash extensions requiring a complete change to my skincare and make-up routine

There a few key things you should switch up with respect to your make-up and skincare routine to help your lashes last longer.  Number one, skip the mascara.  You simply will not need it anymore and applying mascara tugs at the lash line, which can cause lashes to fall out prematurely.  As someone with very blond lashes, I doubted I could go no-mascara but was pleasantly surprised when I found out I could.  For make-up and skin care, you’ll need to opt for oil free products, as oil can break the bonds in the glue holding the lashes in place.  This was simple for me – I avoid oil at all costs as it wreaks havoc on my skin, but for some prospective customers (particularly those dropping bills on face oils) this could be a big make-or-break!


my overall opinion

I will absolutely be getting lash extensions again.  It took an initial adjustment period (I will admit, I did find them annoying at first as I got used to them) but the fact that I could wake up and already look like I was wearing make-up was a real time saver.  I’ll likely give myself a break in between the lashes falling out and scheduling an appointment (I probably won’t be a refill kinda girl) and I’m more likely to get them applied at a busier time of year when I’m out and about more, such as Christmas/NYE, or when I have a series of big events planned, such as a friend’s wedding. 

Hope this helps all my fellow ladies out there considering to-lash or not-to-lash…

- Kate

from workout to night out! 10 tips to get ready faster post-workout

If you are like us, you love a workout that makes you sweat (like really sweat).  Coming out of a spin, yoga, or training class completely drenched and feeling like you’ve conquered the world is one of the best feelings, however, the struggle to get ready ASAP afterwards is very real.  With this in mind, we enlisted the help of one of our favourite spin instructors (shout out @rileywood at Spokehaus <3) to share her secrets on how she gets Primped post-workout in under 15 mins.  

Note: We assume you can shower and wash your face extra-fast (but not your hair, who has time for that?).

tip #1: tinted moisturizer instead of foundation. keep it light!

 

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Riley recommends Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer.  This tinted moisturizer is super lightweight and adds a gorgeous glow to the face, evens the skin tone, and covers any annoying blemishes – ughhhh the worst!  It's a bit on the pricey end, however worth the $56!  We have used this product off-and-on for years and can attest to the fact that it is the absolute best for giving your skin a flawless, glowing look when you don’t have the time for an entire foundation-to-bronzer routine.  You can purchase Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer at Sephora.


tip #2: highlighter is a real lifesaver!

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Apply this product to the upper cheek bones and tip of the nose, then sculpt with the soft blender attached to give you a glow and help you mask that post-workout red face.  Benefit Watts-Up is Riley's preferred product when it comes to highlighters.  For $40, this product is soft and subtle, easy to apply, and creates a very natural look! You can find this time-saver at Sephora and most Shoppers.


tip #3: lipstick goes a long way!  

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Urban Decay lipstick is a great product if you want to glam up your look by adding some fullness, colour, and gloss to your lips in a minimal amount of time.  This lipstick is long-lasting, moisturizing and easy to apply, making it a quick addition to your post-workout make-up bag.  With over 50 shades available, there is a colour for every woman out there.  The shade "Naked" is our top choice for an everyday look - It's natural but still has a pop of colour.  While ordering online is one option, we highly suggest walking over to your nearest Sephora to test out a few shades.


tip #4: embrace the sleek bun!

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Carry a comb and pull your hair back into a sleek bun.  We usually pack some statement earrings to pull it all together.  Struggle with knots? The Tangle Teezer Hairbrush is hands down the best brush out there for taming your tresses.  It's painless and easily removes those stubborn knots from wet or dry hair.  This brush comes in cute, vibrant colours and an easy travel buddy is available at Sephora for only $15.  If you're worried about odour, blow dry your (yes, sweaty) hair before combing it back and apply some dry shampoo.  We wrote about Living Proof in our "Like This? Try That" post and it is still our favourite dry shampoo and the most effective product we've found for tackling odour and greasiness.


tip #5: go for beach waves!

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Bun not your thing? Pack OUAI's Beach Wave spray and enhance your natural texture! This is Riley's favourite spray because it is weightless, adds texture and body to her hair, and easily gives her soft, tousled waves.  This product works best for hair types that have a natural beachy texture (sigh, if you've got stubborn curls like us, you may be stuck with the bun).  You can find OUAI Wave Spray at Sephora for $32.


tip #6: forget the eyeliner and opt for an eyelash curler and your favourite mascara - keep it natural! 

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Curling your lashes and applying mascara is a quick way to brighten up your look after a workout.  Alternatively, you can try eyelash extensions - a saviour for the on-the-go girl!  Blinc Mascara Amplified (the non-waterproof one), is hands-down our favourite mascara and often a sold-out item on Sephora online.  Not only does it make your lashes look longer, it also comes off easily as tiny, smudge-proof "tubes".  What is a "tube" you ask?  It is quite literally a tiny tube that forms around your lashes, which makes the mascara resistant to running or smudging, but much easier to remove than a water-proof alternative.  Blinc Mascara is the original tube-technology mascara and we still believe it is the best one on the market.  You can purchase this secret weapon at Sephora for only $30, but be careful you don't accidentally pick-up the waterproof version - the packaging is near identical but we prefer the non-waterproof alternative by a landslide.


tip #7: shape your brows! get those brows on fleek!

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Benefit Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil is Riley’s go-to eyebrow pencil.  It is so easy to use, making anyone who uses it look like an expert that can shape, define, and fill their eyebrows.  It also has a built in eyebrow comb to shape the brow and comes in tons of shades to match your colour.  You can find this product at Sephora at $32.


tip #8: don't forget to moisturize

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Bliss Body Butter is super light, non-oily moisturizer that makes your skin soft and smooth. It also smells soooo good, leaving you with a clean, fresh (but light) scent!  Also be sure to preshave your legs if you know you have to be somewhere!  Nothing worse than a razor nick when you’re in a rush! Apply this after your lightening-quick shower.


tip #9: keep your outfit simple

Try not to over accessorize and be sure to pack easy and light! Try to also pack clothes that don't crease or wrinkle when packed.  We've also found tight clothes to be too uncomfortable after a workout when you're hot, fresh out of the shower, and in a rush - we like to opt for something a little more easy-going and loose.


tip #10: lastly as any workout fanatic would say, don’t forget to HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE.

It's likely that you're heading out to grab a drink with your friends or significant other and while we love wine, beer, or a cocktail as much as the next girl, don't forget to sufficiently hydrate after your workout with some H2O before-hand.  Your body and skin will thank you!

like that? try this. cheap alternatives for your favourite beauty products.

We love a good cult favourite beauty product (they are, after all, cult favourites for a reason) but we don't always love the associated price tag.  So, we went out in search of the best dupes for the most buzzed about, best-selling beauty products and trends on the market. Whether you shop "cheap" exclusively or like to balance your splurges with steals, we think you'll find some great alternatives below.

like Le Labo's Santal 33? try Miu Miu's L'eau Bleue.

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Chances are you've walked by someone on the streets of Toronto wearing Le Labo's Santal 33 scent.  Like most, we love this musky fragrance for daytime and nighttime alike and we're seriously into the easy-to-use-and-carry rollerball trend.  What we don't love about Le Labo's liquid balm is the price tag of $110.  Cue Miu Miu's L'eau Bleue.  This rollerball is offered at a fraction of the price and offers the same earthy, musky notes as Santal 33.  You can purchase Miu Miu's L'eau Bleue at Sephora for $35.


like NARS' Orgasm Illuminator? try NYX's Born to Glow!

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The "glowed up" look is here to stay, and we're all for that.  Gone are the days of a matte or powdery skin finish and given that summer is here, we wanted to find an alternative to one of our favourite illuminator's - NARS' Orgasm Illuminator ($39).  NYX's Born to Glow! proved to be an fantastic substitute.  The beauty world is raving about NYX in general as a quality alternative to pricier make-up brands and at $11, this illuminator is an affordable option to give you that healthy glow.  The product is lightweight, easy to use, and comes in a four different options (we prefer gleam).  You can purchase NYX's Born to Glow! at any NYX store or online.


like Sunday Riley's Good Genes? try The Ordinary's Lactic Acid Formulation.

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Ahhh Good Genes, how we love you but hate the fact that you cost $200 for 50mL.  This product was introduced to us over a year ago and we admit we're guilty in restocking it in our cabinet when we run out - it is the ultimate all-in-one lactic acid-based product for dealing with dullness, fine lines, and dark spots.  There are few things that could lead us astray from this Sunday Riley favourite but when proposed with an alternative that costs $6.70 (no, we didn't miss a zero, it really is under $10) we just had to try it.  The Ordinary's Lactic Acid formula is an almost astonishingly cheap alternative to Good Genes though you'll have to order it online and pay $5 to ship it.


like Living proof's Perfect hair Day dry shampoo? try Dove's Refresh+Care dry shampoo.

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Whether you just crushed your workout or are flat out too lazy to wash your hair, dry shampoo is the ultimate alternative to combat the oily appearance and odour of day (or days) old hair.  Living proof's Perfect hair Day dry shampoo ($30) is one of our favourites because it really makes our hair feel cleaner.  But, we resort to dry shampoo so often that we were going through bottles of the product monthly and the cost was adding up, so we decided to try a cheaper drug store alternative. The Refresh+Care dry shampoo by Dove is a viable, less expensive option though we did find the smell to be a bit overpowering and it didn't provide that same clean feeling that Living proof does.  We use a combo of the two, to balance a splurge with a steal depending on the occasion.  You can pick up Dove's Refresh+Care at any major drugstore, but Walmart retails the product for $4.48.


like Chanel's Le Vernis in Verde Pastello? try Essie's polish in Empower Mint.

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Pastels are in this season and it seems that almost every major nail polish producer is coming out with a fun spin on these spring-y shades.  We have to admit that we aren't nail polish snobs and if we weren't gifted Chanel's Verde Pastello nail polish, we probably never would have paid $32 for it.  That being said, we love the sea-foam green pastel shade so we took to the drug store shelves to scour the perfect dupe and came out with Essie's Empower Mint from their Summer 2018 collection.  Essie's version is a little bit lighter than Chanel's but it still provides the same on-trend pastel look at around $11.  Pick it up at your local drug store or order it online.


like Fenty Beauty's Fairy Bomb? try Lush's Shimmy Shimmy.

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Full disclosure, we have never tried Fenty Beauty's Fairy Bomb, but that's because we don't want to spend $52 on a body shimmer.  Instead, we discovered Lush Cosmetics' Shimmy Shimmy product.  What we like about this product is that it also serves as a moisturizer while giving us that shimmery, shiny body glow.  This product is packed with coco and shea butter and practically melts on your skin.  It also costs only $8.95 at any Lush Cosmetics location or online - what a steal!

summer must have products

It's that time of year again! The days are long and the patios in TO are full, as summer kicks into full-gear.

With that in mind, we've rounded up our beauty favourites for summer 2018.  Whether you're a sun worshipper or hater (or rather, the sun hates you) we've got you covered with the best products for a day on the lake, a beer on the patio, or whatever your summer jam might be.

#1. catch some rays

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Bali Body Pineapple Tanning Oil, $29.95

The Aussie-made hit Bali Body released this new product and we loooove it.  Not only does it help you get a deep tan, it's ultra hydrating and smells delicious.  For best results, we like to apply generously every 2-3 hours for a deep glow.  Keep in mind that this product does not protect against the sun, so we like to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen (like La Roche Posay's SPF 60) as a base prior to oiling up.


#2. fake the glow

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St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Dark Bronzing Mousse, $54

St. Tropez is a cult favourite in the world of self tanners for a reason.  This lightweight mousse claims to tailor to your specific skin tone, and we found that to be true.  It's super lightweight and easy to apply and lasted for about 5 days.  If you've never used self tanner before, your should start with the original product, the Classic Bronzing Mousse.


#3. mist yourself

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Sephora Collection Hydrating Mist in Coconut Water, $9

We all love a good sun sesh, but if you're anything like us you hate the overheating and dry feeling that comes with it.  We introduced this cool mist into our sun regimen to help us keep our temperature down and give a quick boost of hydration while catching some rays.  The drawback? It's limited edition, so stock up while you can!


#4. protect that face

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Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector, $40

We searched far and wide for the best face sunscreen and we think we've found it.  At SPF 42, this Shiseido UV Protector is a miracle.  It is super lightweight and doesn't interfere at all with make-up, meaning you can make it part of your morning regimen each day without feeling oily or sunscreen-y (we know, that's not a word).  Best to mix it with your usual moisturizer, as it in itself isn't ultra hydrating.


#5. don't forget the lips!

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Jack Black Moisture Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25, $10.50

Lip sunburns - they're a thing.  While most of us are great at applying sunscreen to our bodies, we often neglect our lips.  We went through a lot of different lip balms with SPF that left our lips looking white and greasy before trying this wonder product.  It's SPF 25 and comes in 6 flavours -  shea butter is our favourite.


#6. show your mane some love

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Shu Uemura Silk Bloom Restorative Treatment, $66

It's no secret that summer is hard on your hair with the heat and humidity.  In addition, as we sweat in the summer months, we're tempted to wash our hair more frequently, which can spell disaster for our locks.  We like to implement a hair mask into our hair routine in the summer and this Shu Uemura treatment is just what the doctor ordered.  We apply it once per week and sometimes use it as a leave in on extra dry days.