"Every woman needs a perfect true-red lipstick," says Grace Lee, lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York Canada. It's the little black dress of your cosmetics bag: classic, elegant and versatile.
Perfect pairing: Let the lipstick do all the talking. Keep the rest of your makeup simple, with defined lashes, or classic, with a feline flick of eyeliner. Lee recommends a bronze eyeshadow if your lids are begging for a dusting.
Finish and texture: Steer clear of shimmer; reflection should come from the moisture in the lipstick formula.
Technique: Red is a high-maintenance hue, so start by smoothing bare lips with a scrub. Though you can never go wrong with a defined pout, today's crimson lips don't require clinical precision. Starting at the centre of the mouth, apply lipstick with a brush, then blend it out, keeping the edges soft. Lee suggests blotting the colour with a tissue to set.
Lips: Jaclyn Locke, Swatches: Joe Kim
Find your match! (From left): L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipstick in Red Passion, $11, lorealparis.ca. Maybelline New York Colour Sensational Lip Colour in Red Revival, $10, maybelline.ca. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red, $38, charlottetilbury.com.
Narces Fall 2015 at Toronto Fashion Week; courtesy Maybelline New York
Beauty Inspiration: Lauren Bacall meets Dita Von Teese
"Narces is very old Hollywood, so I wanted to create a look that matched that glamorous vibe," says Lee. By applying concealer to the lips as a primer, you get the true cranberry colour of the lip liner and lipstick. For a rich matte texture, Lee blotted the lips with a tissue to remove excess moisture.
You know the glee with which you first rebuffed parental admonishments to blow dry your hair or pull on a scarf before heading out on a wintery day?
Research had proven that cold weather per se won’t make you sick. It was the close quarters of the season that were to blame for the spread of all those viruses and bacteria, we thought. Alas, mom may have been right after all. In a new study out of Yale, researchers have discovered that when it comes to our immune systems, cold temperatures can allow the common cold to flourish in our bodies.
"In general, the lower the temperature, it seems the lower the innate immune response to viruses," said senior author and Yale professor of immunobiology Akiko Iwasaki in a Yale News piece on the study.
Instead of looking at how temperatures affect the rhinovirus — the main culprit in causing colds — Iwasaki and her colleagues looked at how cold temperatures might depress our immune system's ability to cope with the virus.
They sampled cells taken from the airways of mice, which were chilled to 33 degrees Celsius, four degrees lower than the mice’s core body temperature. At the lower temperature, the immune response was "impaired," they found, and the virus fared better.
Sure, the research at this point remains mouse-centric. But for the 20 per cent of us who host the rhinovirus in our noses as any given time, according to the Yale News piece, this is a clue as to how we might curb the virus in the future.
For now, a nose-concealing scarf is not a bad place to start, especially during the deep-freeze much of Canada is enjoying this season. Maybe your mom will even be kind enough not to say "I told you so."
Fruit gets a bad rap when it comes to weight loss. Here's why avocado, dragon fruit, coconut, kiwi and even banana—yes, banana—are all diet foods.
Fruit can be a real pleasure when you're cutting back on calories—it's wholesome, nutritious and provides a sweet hit of pleasure. A few surprising fruits even come with weight loss benefits.
Dieters tend to steer clear of bananas because they're considered a high carbohydrate fruit. But almost-ripe bananas contain resistant starch. "This starch is not digested the same way as most starches," explains Amanda Li, registered dietitian at Toronto's Wellness Simplified. "It passes through the intestine unchanged as an insoluble fibre so you absorb less sugar from it." Insoluble fibre also helps control hunger pangs. Tip: Snack on green bananas that are just starting to turn yellow. Eat with cereal or yogurt to mask the hint of bitterness.
There are two reasons why dieters should add fresh—not dried, packaged—coconut meat to their fruit salad and fruit smoothies. "There's the satisfaction factor," says Li. Coconut meat's high in healthy fat, which helps slow down digestion of the sugars in the other fruits, keeping you feeling fuller longer, she explains. Plus, it contains medium-chain triglycerides, a type of dietary fat that's processed by the body for a quick source of energy rather than stored as fat. Tip: Don't want to crack one yourself? Look for freshly frozen coconut meat in health food stores. Some grocery stores also prepare fresh coconut meat.
Yes, avocado is technically a fruit, and Li says it's a terrific diet food because it contains high percentages of both healthy fat and fibre (seven grams, in fact, in one fruit). "The fat and fibre work together to keep you feeling full longer," she adds. Bonus—avocado's fat is chiefly monounsaturated, which offers protective heart benefits. Tip: Guacamole's an incredibly satisfying snack. Dig into Edamame Guacamole with toasted whole wheat pita chips.
"I love dragon fruit. Not only is it pretty looking, it's got good volumetrics," says Li. She's refering to the diet principle created by Dr. Barbara Rolls that substitutes deprivation for lots of healthy foods you can feel full on. Dragon fruit fits the bill, according to Li, because one whole fruit contains just 60 calories and only eight grams of sugar. "That's terrific compared to other fruits, she adds, pointing out that one apple is 80 to 100 calories. Tip: Cut the dragon fruit in half and scoop the pulp—seeds, too—straight out of the shell with a spoon. "It's refreshing, like cucumber, only sweeter," adds Li.
Kiwi is a handy diet food because it's portable. "You can throw a couple in your purse and go," says Li. And because you can eat the skin along with the flesh, you're getting five grams of fibre per fruit, says Li. Kiwi is also loaded with vitamin C and contains a natural enzyme that helps the body digest protein. Tip: Kiwi is a great diet snack on its own, but also delicious on salads and in meat marinades.
We're a culture with a seemingly endless appetite for quick fixes, but could embracing the long way lead to happier, more productive lives?
Lindsey Lam considers herself Type A. Rather than shying away from challenges, she has always been determined, continually pushing herself to take on more. After graduating from the University of Alberta, where she majored in both English and women's and gender studies, Lindsey switched into high gear: She worked a full-time job, started a brand-consulting business with a friend and, if that wasn't enough, continued to volunteer as the communications chair on the board of her Rotary District. To help get through her lengthy and ever-growing to-do list, Lindsey used a few hacks to help schedule her time. Some she found helpful, like using visualization to mentally map out a stressful day; others, like using a complicated task-list app, turned out to be a bust.
Hacks (also known as shortcuts, tips or tricks) play on the idea that a wee shift in the way you do something can cause a dramatic increase in your productivity and allow you to do more with less: less energy, less time—you name it. "Hacks are fast, simple and novel ways to save time, money or effort that are fun, harmless and, at times, quite useful," says Dr. Janine Hubbard, a registered psychologist in St. John's, N.L. "There's great appeal in feeling successful quickly."
The Internet certainly agrees. Lifehacker.com, for instance, a website that describes itself as "the expert guide for anyone looking to get things done," has about 22 million monthly readers worldwide. And the site is hardly the sole online source of hacks; we're talking scores of beauty blogs, career websites and even the venerable New York Times, all publishing these seemingly helpful tricks. Not bad for a concept that's really only existed since 2003, when Danny O'Brien, a tech journalist, first blogged about a new project he was undertaking to document the clever shortcuts the computer programmers he knew were using to make their lives run more smoothly.
Now, the term "life hack" has evolved well beyond O'Brien's initial tech-focused collection of planning and organizing advice. Articles regularly promise things like a new job by the weekend, instantly well-behaved children or the ability to meet any goal you set in half the time, outcomes that seem a little too good to be true. But what makes these shortcuts so compelling, when many of us instinctively recognize an unrealistic claim? It all comes down to time. We know hacks are rarely as life-changing or easy to implement as they're made out to be, but with schedules, budgets and attention spans stretched to the limit, shortcuts sometimes seem the only way to get the most out of life. Carl Honoré, author of The Slow Fix: Solve Problems, Work Smarter and Live Better in a World Addicted to Speed, believes this kind of thinking is a trap. "We see time as the enemy, something to be conquered and exploited to the fullest extent," he says. "We seem to think that the best way to use time is to squeeze more and more into every minute."
Honoré is a proponent of the slow movement, one that (despite its name) is not about dragging things out or being inefficient. Instead, it promotes the idea that tasks should be completed at a speed that allows the participant to enjoy, savour and learn from the experience. Honoré believes that our lives are stuck on fast-forward, to the detriment of our health, relationships and personal development.
It's hard to disagree. Studies have suggested a link between mental health issues and our constant use of smartphones, tablets and computers. Though most hacks today don't depend on computer programs, as in 2003, there is still a strong focus on technology, especially when it comes to improving our productivity at work—and with the sum of the world's knowledge at our fingertips, it's easy to get caught up in looking for quick solutions to the challenges we face, rather than taking the time to think, reflect and finally act on the best course of action. Though Dr. Hubbard can see the appeal of hacks, she, too, believes in the value of slowing down. "Engaging in problem-solving helps shape cognitive skills such as reasoning, decision- making, critical thinking and creativity," she says.
Slow living takes on many forms, but whether it's slow reading, slow parenting or slow travel (to name a few), the concept remains the same: dialing down the pace to enjoy, rather than rush through, the experience. Even the corporate world seems to be coming around to the idea; some companies are adding nap rooms to their offices, offering on-site yoga classes or limiting emails sent to employees during off-work hours. The benefits? More refreshed, productive and engaged employees.
Still, hitting the brakes isn't for everyone. Some personalities, careers and lifestyles thrive in the fast lane. And, as anyone who has managed to double the storage space in her closet can tell you, hacks can be helpful, as long as you maintain reasonable expectations about what they can actually do for you. But "they're generally not realistic for larger goals or achievements," says Dr. Hubbard.
In the end, perhaps Honoré says it best: "Whether it's a fine wine, a happy family or a successful career, the good stuff takes time and effort." It's a reminder that, ultimately, it's often what you put into something that determines what you get out of it.
Ready to slow down? Here's what to do:
Take a pass
Too much going on? Learn to focus your energy on the things that matter to you by saying no to things that don't. If you find yourself put on the spot, try multitasking maven Lindsey Lam's tip: "Rather than saying yes right away, buy time by saying, 'I'll get back to you.' " That way, you're not forced to decide under pressure whether it's something you want to commit to. And when you do reply, "be sure it's with a definitive yes or no," she says.
Change your mindset
Proud of your packed, hectic schedule? "Being crazy-busy should not be a badge of honour; it should be a warning sign that your life is spinning out of control," says author Carl Honoré, a proponent of the slow movement. Remember that life will not be extra fulfilling just because you're extra busy. Take pride in time spent well: Do things you enjoy, connect with friends or work toward your goals.
Think you're doing more? Dividing your attention makes you less efficient and more prone to errors. If something, or someone, is important enough for you to spend time on, give it the honour of your full attention.
We know that cleaning out your beauty kit can feel like a chore, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming thanks to our quick and dirty guide to de-cluttering.
When to toss old product
You have to let go of the old to make room for the new—and there are new products being released every day. Remember that beauty products do expire, especially the liquid ones like foundation, mascara, and skin-care. There should be a guideline on the packaging (it will look like a cream jar with a number on it—that number is the amount of months after opening that the product is good for), but if you can’t find it or don’t remember when you opened it, here are a couple of things to look out for.
Look for changes in consistency. Lumpy formulas or a separationof oil and pigment are red flags. If the smell resembles something rotting or the colour has darkened or oxidized in the bottle, it’s time to throw the product out.
If there’s a bad odour when you open the lid or the product is crumbling and breaking apart, you probably shouldn’t use it. Also, if you constantly have to scrape off a top layer of grime, throw it out.
If you detect a bad odour or if your lipstick is drying out or applying patchy, toss it. If your lip gloss is goopy and coming out in lumps, you don’t want to put that on your lips.
Quick tip: If you live in a warm climate, it's a good idea to keep your skin-care products in the fridge to preserve freshness.
Canadian Living x L'Oréal Paris present Perfect Age: Winter Beauty
After having heart surgery at age 25, Barbara was told her life expectancy was 30. She's now 51 and living life to the fullest. Learn more about her inspiring story and what being beautiful over 50 means to her.
There are times when you find yourself not using certain products because they’re stored in the backs of your cabinets or drawers. Out of sight is out of mind so get those products back in sight. Try pulling them out the night before and keep them on your vanity or dresser so you can remember to add the items to your rotation.
When to give away perfectly good product
If you’ve got products that are as good as new but you don’t find yourself using them, take a moment and ask yourself: Why did I buy this product? Why did I stop using it? Can I add this to my makeup routine or skin-care regimen?
Chances are if you haven’t used it yet, you probably won’t. Perhaps pass it along to a family member or a friend who might get better use out of it. Or even take a box full of your unused items to a women’s shelter. If you are going to donate, make sure your items are in clean and sanitary condition.
How to sanitize your beauty products:
For powder compacts, wipe the powder with a piece of Kleenex to remove the top layer. Then, take a new piece of Kleenex—fold it or cut it down to the right size—and place over the powder to avoid bacteria from getting into the fresh layer. If you threw out the box, seal with tape; no one but the new owner should be opening it. This works for face powders, blushes and eyeshadows.
For lipstick, lipgloss and other stick products, wipe them down with a piece of Kleenex sprayed with the cosmetic disinfectant. Once again, seal boxes or the products themselves with tape.
Always use a mini spatula for products that are in jars so you’re not dipping your fingers in there. Also, don’t throw away the plastic divider that covers the cream. When you want to give it away, all you have to do is seal the outside with tape.
Cosmetic sanitizers can be found at most beauty stores and makeup artistry stores. Always keep a sanitizer and a brush cleaner on hand.
Over 50 and fabulous? Our guide to aginggracefully helps you choose the skincare, hair and makeup products that are right for you.