These beauty fables range from skincare to cosmetics—we suss out fact from fiction with the expertise of industry insiders.
Concealer should be lighter than your skin tone: FICTION
If you buy concealer that’s a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, your eyes will be left with an unnatural white aura, says Gregory Graveline, a Toronto-based freelance makeup artist. “Your concealer should be the same shade as your foundation or natural skin tone.” He warns that using high pigmented concealers can be too heavy, particularly for mature skin. Graveline suggests using a dab of liquid foundation instead. “The subtle improvement...is preferable to a cakey-looking eye area,” he adds.
Drinking water keeps your skin from drying out: FICTION
Even if you are chugging the recommended eight glasses a day, your skin can still look dry. Of course, water is good for us, but can it really give dry skin a refreshed, hydrated appearance? Not on its own, says Kellett, “If this were true, then the simplest cure for dry skin would be to drink more water.” What keeps skin hydrated is oil, in conjunction with other factors. “Dry skin is caused by changes in the top layer of skin called the epidermis and stratum corneum,” she adds. Kellett treats patients suffering from dry skin by using high-performance diamond and silk peels, which remove dead skin cells and leave skin with a fresher appearance.
Image courtesy of Vichy
You only get cellulite if you're overweight: FICTION
Fat chance. You can chalk this one up to the genetic lottery. Genes dictate who gets cellulite, fat deposits that get trapped in pockets beneath the skin. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall and full figured or petite and svelte, no one is safe! “Anyone can get cellulite,” says Paul Cohen, a Toronto-based dermatologist, “It has nothing to do with your weight. It’s hormonal influences on the way that the fat in your body is compartmentalized.” Firming creams, self-tanners and basic moisturizers can help to temporarily diminish the appearance of cellulite, but not even liposuction offers permanent results.
You can shrink the pores on your face with the right skincare regime: FICTION
If only. “Certain lasers can minimize the appearance of pores, but no skincare regime can,” says Cohen. While you can’t permanently shrink pores, there are products in beauty aisles that can tighten them, such as exfoliators and toners. However, you’re left with only temporary results.
Split ends can’t be repaired with hair products: FACT
If your ends are looking frizzy and dull, chances are have split ends. Some products on the market claim to salvage your split ends but truthfully, nothing beats a regular trim. “The only way to get rid of split ends is to cut them off. A haircut every six to eight weeks is best, especially for people with long hair,” says Pacheco. The best defense is a good offense when it comes to split ends, Pacheco suggests using heat-activated protecting products, which can help prevent damage caused by styling tools.
Image credit: Carlyle Routh
Crossing your legs will give you varicose veins: FACT
Sitting like a proper lady has it’s disadvantages. Crossing your legs can actually constrict the blood flow through the veins, “which may manifest itself overtime as varicose veins,” says Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist in Toronto. Kellett explains that these veins tend to crop up on people that have other risk factors such as obesity, history of leg trauma, family history of venous disease and occupations that require standing for extended periods of time. Standing makes the venous network work overtime, pumping blood from legs all the way up to the heart. If valves are out of whack, blood can pool, which leads to bulging veins.
The less you wash your hair, the healthier it becomes: FACT
Most women don’t have time to wash their hair everyday, but can this really improve the health of your hair? According to Luis Pacheco, master colourist and owner of Medulla & Co in Toronto skipping a few washes will help keep natural oils in your hair, making it appear healthy and shiny. “Excessive hair washing removes sebum from the hair and scalp,” says Pacheco. “ Sebum keeps hair moisturized and serves as a protectant against the elements.” If your strands are thin and oily you’ll need to wash your hair more frequently. Choose a gentle shampoo that doesn’t leave buildup.
Self-tanner makes your skin less likely to burn in the sun: FICTION
Sunless tanners give skin no additional protection from UVA and UVB rays. “Self-tanners give people a false sense of security,” says Cohen, who supports sunless tanners because they keep people away from baking in the sun. But even if you’re rocking a fabulous faux glow, all sun-exposed areas need to be coated with sunscreen and reapplied every two hours. Even though some self-tanners include an SPF, the protection only lasts for a few hours (the same as sunscreens), so you still have to reapply sunscreen too.
Image credit: Geoffrey Ross
Storing your nail polish in the fridge makes it last longer: FACT
Any cosmetics, particularly chemically based ones, always benefit from being kept in a cool, dry place. The chilly environment helps ward off premature clumping in polishes. According to Lisa Hughes, Education & Esthetics Manager at Toronto’s The Ten Spot, it can help prolong the quality of the product, but no need to stockpile enamels in the refrigerator. To put an end to goopy polish, she suggests adding a few drops of polish thinner into the enamel to restore it to its original consistency.
Waterproof mascara will make your lashes brittle: FICTION
On the contrary, many waterproof mascaras contain just as many vitamins as regular water-soluble ones. Most mascaras on the market are gentle and even have conditioning ingredients in the formulas. The problem isn’t what is in the waterproof mascara, it’s how you remove it that can leave your lashes damaged, says Graveline. “If you’re not using the right product, this can cause problems from too much pulling and rubbing,” he adds. He recommends only swiping your lashes with waterproof formulas for special occasions or on the most humid summer days.
H&M, Asos, Urban Outfitters
Everybody needs a go-to holiday sweater!
Whether you're headed to an ugly Christmas sweater party or just feel like looking festive this time of year, here are ugly Christmas sweaters—and a few pretty ones—to pick up.
Women's Ugly Holiday Sweater, $25,
Reindeer Turtleneck Blue Ugly Sweater, $140, etsy.com.
Curve jumper with bow, $60, asos.com.
Pugly Christmas Sweater, $34.50, ardene.com.
Lili’s Closet Starland Pullover, $128, anthropologie.com.
Light up Rudloph sweater, $39.50, ardene.com.
Boohoo Plus Gingerbrad jumper, $36, asos.com.
Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal Sweater, $30, blnts.com.
Girls Santa with Fuzzy White Beard, $30, blnts.com.
Ecote Starry Night Sweater, $72, urbanoutfitters.com.
Striped sweater, $75, gapcanada.ca.
Red Velvet Sweatshirt, $30, zara.com.
Reindeer sweater, $40, oldnavy.ca.
Urban Renewal Holiday Cardigan, $42, urbanoutfitters.com.
Urban Renewal Holiday Sweater, $42, urbanoutfitters.com.
Whoopi Goldberg Light up Christmas Tree Sweater, $179, thebay.com.
Printed Christmas sweatshirt, $13, hm.com/ca.
Whoopi Goldberg Alien Family Sweater, $179, thebay.com.
Boohoo Two Person Jumper, $44, asos.com.
Tired of the same old mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring! Add a burst of flavour to your mash with these 10 flavourful mashed potato recipes!
Sweet potatoes are a well-known superfood and an excellent addition to any holiday dinner. This dish can be assembled a day in advance. Just sprinkle it with streusel at the last minute and pop it into the oven.
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Mash With Pecan Streusel
If you're making this recipe ahead of time, choose a large shallow ovenproof dish, which will decrease the time needed to warm it in the oven while the turkey is resting.
Get the recipe: Crunchy Parmesan-Topped Double Potato Mash
The secret to crispy salmon skin is cooking the fish 90 percent of the way through on the skin side, in a nonstick pan! Don't try to turn the salmon too early; if it's sticking to the pan, it's not ready to turn. Potatoes mashed with spinach, tarragon and horseradish make the perfect accompaniment!
Get the recipe: Crispy Salmon on Braised Vegetables and Spinach Mash
This twist on shepherd's pie features smoky, spicy chorizo and flavourful Oka cheese. A casserole this large will take several days to thaw in the fridge, so don't worry if it's still a bit firm after thawing for a day. The partial thawing just allows it to reheat a bit more evenly.
Get the recipe: Pork Pie With Oka Mash
Korean cuisine is renowned for its spicy fermented cabbage (kimchi) and beef dishes. Here, juicy beef tenderloin and creamy potatoes mixed with pungent kimchi use that inspiration for an East-meets-West entertaining meal that's as special as it is tasty. Serve with crisp stir-fried vegetables.
Get the recipe: Soy-Ginger Tenderloin Steaks With Kimchi Mash
Take mashed potatoes (a favourite comfort food) to soaring new heights with the simple addition of goat cheese and garlic. You might want to make a double batch for a crowd – it will fly off the table.
Get the recipe: Garlic Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
We boost the flavour of this potato purée with olive oil and fresh parsley. On another night, make this dish with fresh sole fillets or scallops instead of the salmon, and call it the catch of the day. Serve with lemon wedges.
Get the recipe: Lemon and Caper Salmon With Herbed Potato Mash
Looking for a change from plain old mashed potatoes? Spruce up your holiday table with this seasonal side dish. Buttermilk and Dijon mustard add pleasant tang and creamy texture (without the addition of cream). To avoid a gluey purée, do not overmix. Fresh chives add a festive hit of colour.
Get the recipe: Parsnip and Potato Puree
Rutabaga, also called turnip, is an often overlooked (but tasty) root vegetable. With a texture similar to potatoes, rutabaga is delicious mashed or roasted. It is available year-round and stays fresh thanks to its waxy skin. You can use a sharp knife to peel the skin away, or buy the vegetable already peeled and cubed.
Get the recipe: Pan-Fried Steak With Horseradish Rutabaga Mash
Slightly sweet and peppery turnips hold their own in this extra-creamy mash, adding a welcome hit of flavour to the classic comforting side. Make it ahead and simply pop the dish in the oven to reheat before your meal.
Get the recipe: Roasted Garlic Potato and Turnip Mash
Combat uneven tone and texture with a small but mighty skin-saver: glycolic acid.
What is glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid is one of several alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are naturally occurring chemicals found in foods such as sour milk, sugarcane, apples and citrus fruits. The glycolic acid in skin care, however, is uaually the synthetic form, which is more stable, ensuring better delivery to the skin. (Naturally derived formulas often go rancid or lose their potency faster than synthetic ones.) Glycolic acid's molecules are the smallest and lightest of all AHAs, so they're able to penetrate the skin more easily. "You don't need a major concentration to have long-lasting efficacy," says Pascale Mora, the scientific communications director for Vichy International. Using even a small concentration (three percent or lower) can yield results. With continuous use, glycolic acid can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone and lessen breakouts, leading to younger- and healthier-looking skin.
In the simplest terms, glycolic acid acts as an exfoliant, removing dead skin and stimulating skin-cell renewal. "It helps reduce skin dullness, unclog pores and reveal radiant skin by getting rid of older cells at the surface of the skin," says Eric Dupont, the founder of IDC, a Quebec-based skin-care brand. The results? Glycolic acid leaves skin soft and smooth; over time, it works at the cellular level, boosting collagen production.
Finding your formula
Products containing glycolic acid may cause itchy, tight or red blotches for some people (usually those with sensitive skin). According to Dr. Dennis Gross, a New York City-based dermatologist and the founder of Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, "Irritation is directly related to the concentration of the acid." But no matter your skin type, Dr. Gross recommends mixing a lower-concentration glycolic acid with other anti-aging ingredients, such as malic and lactic acids, instead of jumping to a higher concentration of glycolic acid on its own. Start with a more quickly absorbed glycolic formula, such as a peel, an exfoliant or a toner, with a concentration of 10 percent or less.
Glycolic acid is most effective when paired with other active ingredients. To fight acne and reduce shine look for a product containing both glycolic and salicylic acids, or brighten an uneven skin tone with a mix of vitamin C and glycolic acid. For an extra dose of anti-aging benefits, pair glycolic acid with either lactic acid, malic acid or lip hydroxy acid, which unblocks pores so that exfoliation is more effective. There's room to play. The two rules to follow? Moisturize your skin generously and apply sunscreen daily. (But you should already be doing that.)
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): A group of water-soluable acids—including glycolic, citric, lactic, malic and tartaric acids—that are found in foods and can remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
Glycolic acid: With the smallest and lightest molecules of any AHA, glycolic acid easily penetrates the dermis, making it the most effective AHA for skin-care purposes.
Lactic acid: An AHA derived from sour milk, lactic acid is best known for lightening and brightening the skin.
Malic acid: Found in fruit, particularly apples, this AHA helps minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Salicylic acid: A lipid-soluable beta hydroxy acid best known for its ability to fight acne.
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C promotes collagen production in the skin and is a potent antioxidant.
This triple-action mask exfoliates with mechanical (physically abrasive), enzymatic and chemical actions. Add it to your skin-care routine once per week for radiant, smooth skin.
Perfect for blemish-prone skin, this cleansing gel unclogs pores and promotes cell turnover with salicylic and glycolic acids.
Brighten dull skin with this mask that contains glycolic acid, rejuvenating papaya enzyme and brightening Viniferine for an instant touch of radiance.
Five-percent glycolic acid, this toner also has soothing aloe vera and skin-renewing ginseng for revitalized, glowing skin—at a seriously affordable price.
This overnight treatment contains glycolic and salicylic acids and niacinamide (an anti-inflammatory); the combo helps unclog pores and tackle blackheads while lifting away dead skin cells.
This two-step peel is ideal for sensitive skin and first-time glycolic-acid users. With a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, it fights three signs of aging: fine lines, enlarged pores and uneven skin texture.