Category Archives: beauty OFF duty

15 days to better skin : YOU DID IT!

Day 15: January 15

You did it!

You completed our 15 days to better skin guide and I couldn’t be any more
happier that you chose to follow along.

I hope that by following along that you learned a few new things about
your skin, skincare, and yourself; that you are seeing positive changes in your skin
and that you are looking forward to seeing more.

For today, you just need to take the tips and tricks that you learned and continue to put them into positive action. I hope that you are inspired to continue finding new ways to treat and pamper your skin, and that you have a newfound interest
in maintaining a healthy complexion.

Here’s to better skin from Day 16 onward …

Stephanie+the fresh.beautiful team 

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hey steph, it’s spring … what’s up with my skin?

you know, i really thought by now that we would be seeing some more positive temperatures in the city, but that is sooooo not the case. we’re still experiencing below zero temps with some serious windchill, and i cannot even begin to tell you how many of my skincare clients are so confused by their skin. clearly, the environment and the elements, along with our dietary and skincare regimen, all have a hand in what our skin looks and feels like as we change seasons, but what’s a girl to do when the weather is having a serious identity crisis? how does she keep her complexion in check?

well, as they say – your best offence is a strong DEFENCE.

a lot of my clientele often react to their skin issues instead of trying to address them head on before they become a true issue. often, they will get a breakout and then decide to do something about it, when in reality, treating your skin to prevent breakouts is probably the better way to go. instead of buying products to treat a pimple and acne scar that has already made itself a home, let’s prevent them from moving in. and same goes for dry skin. don’t let your skin get rough and dry … stop it from happening.

april is right around the corner, like two days away, and  you are probably in the midst of spring-a-fying your wardrobe, your home, and your makeup kit; so let me help you with your bathroom vanity!

- cleanser check : is it time for a new cleanser? after a long dull winter, you will want to start brightening up and refreshing dull dry skin, so look for a cleanser that is gentle on the skin but still deeps cleans. with so many types from foaming to gel to cream, look for the formula that cleans and brightens, but doesn’t leave your skin tight and dry after washing. if you’re skin feels clean and fresh after your rinse and pat down, plus keeps your complexion clear – you’re on the right path.

- its time to exfoliate : for real now …  everyone knows they should, everyone knows its easy, but for some reason they don’t do it but it truly is a good thing for the skin to indulge in an exfoliating wash once or twice a week. there are so many options right now : washes with microbeads, konjac sponges, and my personal favourite, a bit of brown sugar mixed into your regular cleanser. once or twice a week is all you need to help clear up congestion, remove dead skin, and clear out pores. just keep a jar of brown sugar on your vanity. a pinch or two rubbed in with your cleanser makes a huge difference.

- hydrate and repair : even if you think you’re oily it doesn’t mean you skip this step. even the oiliest of skin should still indulge in some moisturizing – its a matter of finding the right ROUTINE and product that works for you. for dry skin, a heavier moisturizer twice a day would be the trick, with maybe a more dense cream at night is your holy grail. and for normal skin, twice a day with the same moisturizer might be your jam. and if your oily? opt for a lightweight moisturizer once a day – perhaps in the evening while your skin starts the repair process.

- the quick fix : a friend came for a visit! if you’re prone to the occasional breakout, you don’t necessarily need an everyday acne treatment, perhaps you just need a spot treatment readily available in your arsenal. natural solutions like witch hazel or tea tree oil are good to have on hand, but if your breakouts tend to be more painful or persistent, find your
go-to treatment or perhaps something more clinical and dermatologist recommended is required. the minute you feel or see that “friend” coming, defend your skin an apply your treatment where required. the trick to not wreaking havoc on your skin : treat the area for the problem NOT the whole face.

- r&r required : masks are the … you know on Sunday night, when you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed and TOTALLY creeping on that girl you knew in high school who always looked awesome and has incredible style? okay, well that’s a time suck UNLESS you are multi-tasking and wearing a face mask for the whole 15-20 minutes of creeping. whether you are enjoying a clay mask, a sheet mask, or even those ones that just repair and lift under the eyes, its a great way to give yourself a treat and refresh/repair before the start of a new week. sheet masks are inexpensive and honestly, fun. keep a few on hand … and totally Instagram that you are doing it!

- to serve and protect : age is nothing but a number … BUT it does show up on your face. age spots, wrinkles, fine lines – the number one reason i have clients lined up to see me for cold laser therapy is to correct and repair all three of those skin issues. remember, your best offence, is a strong defence. complete your vanity with a sun protection cream of your choice. SPF30 is all you need but if you’re a keener, 45, 50, 75 – whatever your heart desires.

now here’s the kicker of a disclaimer : if your skin is already on point with no complaints – then ignore what I’m saying above. keep your routine as is with the products as is, and keep it simple.  BUT if you think you’ve been slagging and needed a kick in the right direction – find 6 products that work for you based on the above. stick with it for two weeks, and see how your skin improves. when incorporating any new product, remember to introduce one new product at a time, 2-3 days apart to make sure you have no allergic reactions. lastly if you love one or two products that you already have, keep them, and find new options for the others. same rules for introducing new products (as above) to the routine apply.

happy spring y’all!


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beauty OFF duty: denise wild, the sewing studio


“My beauty routine at the end of the day is one of my favourite rituals, and it has been since I was a kid. (I remember at 13 arguing with my dad that I really did need 30 minutes in the bathroom before bed!!) Unfortunately, I’m very fickle with skincare products, and I’ve never been able to commit to one brand or even one star product. I’m constantly being seduced by new products, new packaging, new claims, new ads, and no matter how good my skin is, I’m always convinced that a DIFFERENT product will make it even better! There are a few things I can credit my good skin to right now: Carlson Cod Liver Oil (I take four of the super pills each day), regular facials and microdermabrasion (I see Stephanie at and Mariannthy at, and my Olay Pro-X Cleansing Brush. Other than that, my bathroom counter is a revolving door of products. In the rotation right now are: GoClear Clarifying Cleanser AM/PM, GoClear Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 15, Rhonda Allison Beta Green Tea Cleanser, Rhonda Allison Skin Refine Gel, Swanson Retinol Cream, Tri-Aktiline Instant Deep Wrinkle Filler, Yves Rocher Sérum Végétal3 Deep Wrinkle Expert Care, Darphin Wrinkle Corrective Eye Contour Cream, and La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Lift Cream. My next purchase wish list includes a Clarisonic, Josie Maran Argan Oil, and something from the Nuance Salma Hayek line, likely the AM/PM Anti-Aging Super Cream.”

- straight from Denise’s mouth …

To learn more about Denise’s Beauty ON Duty, click here

Former magazine editor Denise Wild, a sewing star since the age of 13, started teaching sewing classes in her Toronto apartment in 2004 while she was working at FLARE, Canada’s top fashion publication. Those classes evolved into The Sewing Studio, now North America’s leading sewing school with locations in Toronto and New York City. In January of 2010, Denise merged her love of sewing with her passion for magazines by creating, the top online sewing destination and the only sewing portal to focus on fashion and style. Denise has worked as an editor for top national publications including FLARE, House & Home, Faze, and ANOKHI, and has written for Hello!, Elle, HGTV, W Network, Glow, Elevate, Chatelaine, and Slice. Denise has regular television appearances that include The Shopping Channel, Steven and Chris, Inside the Box with Ty Pennington, Breakfast Television, CityLine, Daytime, NBC Mobile News, and Fairchild Television. For more information on Denise, visit

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beauty OFF Duty: jennifer dela cruz, wedding planner


“Growing up my mom has always taught me that cleaning and moisturizing the face on a daily basis is imperative to healthy and beautiful skin.  She is seventy now and she looks like she is still in her forties.  I guess she was right and I do hope I have her genes.  After highschool I went on a mission and experimented with a lot of brands
and the one that I’ve come to love and still use today is Estee Lauder.  When I was younger and before I started my daily cleaning regiment, my skin – prior to using any product – was terrible.  It was oily, full of blackheads, and I had very large pores.  Having some kind of cleaning regiment has helped it tremendously although lately, since having children, my routine has been all over the place to say the least.

Before cleaning my face, I use babywipes to wipe off my makeup.  Part of it is just my laziness but I do find it is so much more efficient to clean with it before using soap.  For my facial soap, I just use regular Clean and Clear facial wash.  The rest of my products are Estee Lauder. With a clean face I follow it with Perfectly Clean Fresh Balancing Lotion, then I use Advanced Night Repair Cream for my eyes.  My favourite product which is also one of my necessities-can’t-live-without is Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher since it has worked wonders on my skin.  Lastly, I apply DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Crème with SPF 15 as a moisturizing cream.

Also, when I remember, I try to exfoliate and alternate with a mud mask on a weekly basis, although lately it’s been monthly, if that.  I recently discovered Arbonne and have used their Sea Mud Face & Body Mask.  For exfoliation, I use Idealist Dual-Action Refinishing Treatment by Estee Lauder.”

- straight from Jennifer’s mouth …

To learn more about Jennifer’s Beauty ON Duty, check it out here.

Jennifer dela Cruz is the owner and principal event planner of J. dela Cruz Weddings & Events. She is a certified wedding planner providing services in the Greater Toronto Area, and surrounding areas. She received her certification from the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada in 2010 and has planned and coordinated many weddings, themed-showers, and baptisms over the years.

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beauty off duty: nasya n. of the sewing studio


“The most important part to beautiful make up is that it starts with beautiful skin.  When I was a kid, my Dad was always on to “drink more water”.  Which now usually ends up being more like, lots of coffee instead of water, but at least I try. To take everything off at the end of the day, I use Almay oil free makeup remover pads.  They are so easy to take with you when you travel and they don’t leave your skin feeling all slimy. I also wash my face with Neutrogena, Acne Stress Control Foam Face wash.  My skin is very oily and tends to break out when I am under presser, so this comes in handy to help keep my skin in check.  I could definitely do a lot more to take care of my skin, but for now I mirror my same mind set as makeup, less is more.”

- straight from Nasya’s mouth …

To learn more about Nasya’s Beauty ON Duty, check it out here.

from Denver, Colorado, Nasya is a self-proclaimed New Yorker whom moved
to the city to pursue an education in Fashion Design at FIT.  She
graduated with her BFA concentrating in Special Occasion and bridal and
went on to intern and study at design houses like Zac Posen and J.
Mendel, after which she honed her skills doing custom bridal gown and
accessories  while getting back to the heart of what make fashion so
exciting for her, the sewing. Coming from a long line of seamstresses
sewing is something that in beaded at a young age.  At The Sewing
Studio, she melds her design background and sewing skills together by
interacting with students and instructors as the Studio Director.  This
job is ideal, allowing her to sew and teach, leaving time for custom
projects, and being able to move the studio forward as they grow,
passing on our sewing knowledge.  She is always looking for
opportunities to pass on her skills and share her passion for sewing.

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beauty OFF duty: kathy chin of Vodka and Soda


“following the advice of my mom who is 64-yr old but has the skin of a 50-yr old (and looks like she’s 50), she’s always told me to take care of my skin to prevent looking old, so since the age of 16, i started to really take care of my skin and learned everything i could about my skintype (dry), what works best for it, and how to take care of dry skin.

because i have dry skin and eczema (blah!), i have to be really careful with what i use on my skin.  it’s not only topical but internal too so i make sure that i eat right and take my vitamins to boost my skin from the inside out.

externally, i try to use more natural products on my skin.  as we age, our hormones play a big role in our skin’s behaviour and all of the products i used to use no longer worked for me so i had to switch things up.  because of my dry skin, i only cleanse my face once a day.  in the morning, i just splash some warm water on it and i cleanse at night.  moisturizers and serums are my skin’s defense against the elements.  i NEED moisturizer daily and throughout every season.  i also have bouts of eczema flare-ups if i’m really stressed or the air is too dry.  i’ve discovered some fantastic products that work great for my sensitive, dry skin.

  • skin cleanser:  PM only, Shu Uemura cleansing oil premium (yellow bottle).  this is a fantastic and gentle way to remove all debris from the skin.  it contains an emulsifier which is activated with water and doesn’t leave your face feeling greasy.  great for my dry skin that doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight.
  • serum: AM and PM.  i’ve learned that my skin needs deeper hydration so before i apply anything on my face, i start out with a hydrating serum.  i use the collagen elastin plus by Pure + Simple.  it’s an all-natural serum that is light and very thin so it penetrates and absorbs in the skin quickly.  i give my skin about a minute to drink it all in.
  • argan oil:  AM and PM.  my ultimate secret weapon.  i stumbled upon this oil when i had a major skin freak-out and nothing soothed my skin but this.  i use aura cacia (USDA certified) organic argan oil that can be found for about $14 at healthy planet and is the ultimate skin soother and hydrator for those who suffer from dry skin (and/or eczema).  since i’ve started using argan oil, my skin arsenal has simplified greatly.  this is such a powerful and effective moisturizer that i’ve cut down from 5 skin products to three and i’m 100% positive that argan oil is the cause.  it’s also eliminated the eczema i used to get on my face (yuck) and i haven’t had a flare-up since i started using this.  not only has it eliminated my eczema but it’s also eliminated the fine lines around my eyes!  i leave this on my skin for about 5 mins to absorb fully before applying moisturizer.
  • moisturizer:  AM and PM.  i use Dermalogica age smart super rich repair.  i used to use all sorts of expensive creams on my skin until they suddenly stopped working for me and started irritating my skin.  i found dermalogica after some intense research and i like the fact that they’re perfume, preservative and additive free.
  • eye cream: AM and PM.  i use an all-natural eye cream since all other eye creams irritiated my eyes.  i use jurlique purely age-defying eye cream that has worked wonders for the skin around my eyes.
  • exfoliation:  i exfoliate once a week.  i had to stop using synthetic exfoliators you buy at the store because they started irritating my skin so now, i use one of my daughter’s baby wash clothes in the shower and gently rub it over my face.
  • diet: my diet plays a HUGE role in the behaviour of my skin.  i found when i was eating garbage food my skin suffered and i had more eczema flare-ups (not to mention horrible sleep which further exacerbates skin conditions).  since i overhauled my diet, cut out all the junk and only consume wholesome, fresh foods, my skin (in combination with my sleep and the use of argan oil) has changed completely.  i’ve also had to eliminate dairy as that is an eczema trigger for me.  i take fish oil supplements daily to boost hydration to my skin, a multi-vitamin (i need it for exercise purposes) and some other vitamins/minerals that i need for my workouts.  i take active X or new woman organics multi-vitamin and nutrasea omega 369, both found at healthy planet (when taking fish oils, you must take them consistently in order to see skin benefits).  since my diet overhaul nearly a year ago, my eczema is under control and i rarely get flare-ups now.  i also drink a lot of water, use a humidifier during the cold months during sleep and avoid hot showers.”

- straight from Kathy’s mouth
To hear all about Kathy’s beauty ON duty, click here.


Kathy Chin is an IT consultant by day and a wannabe fashionista and
skin expert by night.  She’s addicted to exercise, stella and dot
jewelry and blogging, not to mention purses and boots.  In addition, she
is married to the love of her life for 8 years and a mother to a
beautiful and hilarious 4 year old girl named kayla.  The blogosphere is
her second home and her blog is where she goes to escape and/or post
random things about life, her obsessions and the funny thoughts running
through her head.  She often uses colorful words so you’ve been warned.
Visit Kathy at her blog,  vodka and soda or follow her on Twitter!

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