Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson
|This story was originally part of "Raising The Steaks" in the June 2015 issue.
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Charcoal is a heavy hitting beauty trend that helps keep your skin clear and balanced. We spoke to Lizz Starr, executive director of Origins global product development to get details on the popular ingredient.
If you’ve been paying attention to the beauty biz, charcoal is trending. With all the environmental irritants and pollutants that we expose our skin to every day, it’s great to come home and make sure you can get rid of all those skin stressors. Here’s what you need to know about this powerhouse ingredient.
What is charcoal?
This natural ingredient is derived from carbon and has been used for many things other than beauty. Because of its powerful absorption properties it’s been used to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses by absorbing toxins in the stomach before they can be absorbed into the blood stream. It also can be used as a filter in gases and liquids.
In beauty, charcoal is used because it has large internal pores that trap toxins and prevent their absorption in the skin. “When environmental toxins, dirt and debris get under your skin, skin’s waste-filtering system (pores) becomes congested and pores get clogged, leading skin to look cloudy,” says Starr, “Charcoal is able to absorb many times its own weight in toxins and pollution and it can easily be rinsed away.”
Who should use charcoal?
“Charcoal is particularly good for blemish-prone or congested skin,” says Starr. Because we’re all in need of regular skin clearing (we have pollution to thank for that), everyone can benefit from a bit of charcoal in their beauty regimen.
Charcoal beginner? Try a mask.
If you’re new to the ingredient, Starr recommends introducing a charcoal mask to your beauty routine once a week. It’s best to not overdo it with charcoal however. “Charcoal should be primarily used when pores are clogged,” says Starr, “overuse can lead to stripping and drying your skin so we recommend once-a-week use.”
Here are the charcoal masks you should add to your routine, stat!
Bamboo charcoal and white clay absorbs toxins to reveal a radiant and refreshed complexion.
This sheet mask features activated Korean charcoal absorb impurities and spearmint extract for a pore-tightening effect.
This cleanser can also be used as a mark, helping to draw out impurities and balance oily skin.
This hydrogel mask includes bamboo charcoal for a deep clean that targets blackheads and whiteheads.
This mattifying mask soaks up excess oil and draws out debris to leave your skin feeling fresh and your pores noticeable refined.
©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com
Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.
These expert tips will help you find jeans that fit and flatter your curves.
“The key to finding the perfect jeans is to try on a lot,” says Jennifer Patterson, communications manager at Addition Elle. “Set aside some time and try on 20 different pairs so you know what looks best.” If you've been wearing the same cut of jeans for years, broaden your horizons and try on a range of silhouettes. You never know how a pair of jeans will look on your body until you try them on. Fabric is also important to consider. “Most curvy women love the power-stretch fabric because it moulds to your shape and stretches where you need a little more room.”
Keep these top tips from Patterson in mind the next time you go shopping for jeans.
If you’re heavier on top with lean legs
Patterson suggests going for a straight-leg jean. “It’s just a really nice, classic shape. They aren’t tight but they have a narrower leg so that balances your proportions,” she says. She also believes that if you love your legs, there’s no reason why you can’t wear skinny jeans. “It’s a great way to show off what you got.”
If you’re heavier on the bottom with a lean upper body
Try a straight or boot-cut jean that can give you a leaner look. Patterson also recommends the universally-flattering flare style for curvy and plus-sized women. “I find that flare can really elongate your legs and make your legs look ten miles long. All it needs is a great heel and it’s a fabulous trend for plus-sized women.”
If you’re on the shorter side
Some women who are short and curvy think they should steer clear of cropped pants, but Patterson assures us that it's ok to ditch this fashion rule. “The ankle is a very sexy part of the woman and anyone can show it off.”
Here are a few denim brands we recommend for curvy and plus-sized women.
We love Addition Elle for offering jeans for all types of curves; best part is they've added a size 26! The sculpting jeans are a fan-favourite because it lifts and sculpts in all the right places.
Levi's 300 shaping series is our favourite for offering all styles in regular and plus-sizes. They're made of a stretch heavyweight denim that offers tummy-slimming technology.
Siwy doesn't actually carry plus-sizes but it's great for women with curvy hips and legs. The Felicity jeans are made without a side seam to offer maximum stretch and maximum comfort.
There's something for everyone here! All styles are offered up to size 24 with a variety of inseams and best of all, three different body types: straight, defined curve and well-defined curve.