I met Heather Allin a number of years ago when I was asked to create a makeup look for her to attend the Actra Awards (Canada's Film and Television Actor's Union). The Actra Awards are part of the television and film awards season culminating in The Screen Actors Awards (formally known as the Gemini and Genie Awards).
Heather is the president of Actra Toronto.
Part of the fun of my job is working with celebrities and creating looks for them. Many people don't realize actors are part of a business machine, and Heather has an integral role in the protection of these workers within that corporate environment.
A performer and actor in her own right, Heather represents thousands of performers ensuring that they have access to insurance, health benefits, credit unions, and, of course, that they are paid for their work on time and in full by production companies. What most people do not know is that actors are considered contracted entities (on most film and television sets) and, without the work of their union, could find themselves without the many employee benefits most corporate employees enjoy. Additionally, without their union charter, they would have to wait many many months to receive payment for their services. Heather's work is integral in the support of performers having the ability to earn a living.
Heather is uniquely qualified for this role. As a performer herself, having appeared in TV shows such as Rookie Blue (GlobalTV), Degrassi: The Next Generation (MTV), Witchblade (TNT), Flashpoint (BRAVO), and Millenium (FOX), she knows the special concerns of this workforce.
Recently, I asked Heather what beauty means to her:
"Beauty to me is about confidence and generosity. I feel most beautiful when I’m nourishing myself creatively. That means when I’m accessing my creativity.
Beauty is about making sure I feel good about what I look like, how I dress, how I do my hair and make-up. It’s also about the inner feelings. A lovely bubble bath, make-up that makes me feel look my best, dressing for both style and comfort, these are things that help to make me feel and share beauty.
I’m in a business that is all about how one looks, how young and beautiful you are, but also about how interestingly you can present a character on a screen. Those factors do influence my choices, yet, it’s important for me to reveal my personality, my values, my flare and joy. It’s about finding my beauty and making the most of those qualities."
Heather just finished filming episodes for Degrassi: The Next Generation, and she is currently writing a script, which she describes as "about a mature woman who has lost her creativity and searches for ways to reconnect with it."
Check out more amazing women who are redefining beauty.
They are everywhere right now—gel eye liners. This incredibly popular type of eye makeup has been used for years by professional makeup artists, and now has hit with mainstream consumers.
Personally, I love gel eye liners.
They are incredibly versatile to use providing all the ease of pencil eye liner with the durability of liquid. Gel eye liner is incredibly easy to apply, and unlike liquid, it can blend beautifully into eye shadow to create definition and "smoke." What also makes gel eye liner amazing is that while it is highly blendable, it also sets to a smudge-proof, water-resistant finish.
Truly, this type of eye liner is something I think everyone should keep in their makeup collection.
Maybeline Eye Studio Long Lasting Drama Gel Eye Liner ($8 for 15mL)
Highly concentrated pigments
Intense, long-lasting colour
Available in 4 shades
Bobbie Brown Long Wear Gel Eye Liner ($24 for 15mL)
Looks like liquid liner
Will not smear or crease
Available in 14 shades
Daniel Thompson Beauty The Gel Liner ($36 for 15mL)
12 hour wear without touch-up
Available in 3 shades
The only downside to gel eye liner is the requirement of a brush with which to apply. Once you get the hang of using a brush to apply liner, you will love how these gels wear.
Newbeauty.com published an article last week with a list of cosmetics ingredients "on their radar." To be fair, the website did not pass judgment or offer an opinion on the efficacy of these ingredients, they simply published a list of ingredients, the products in which they are currently found, and the claims the manufacturers make regarding the use of these ingredients.
The following are the most egregious offenders for claims that simply cannot be supported.
Every single one of these products is over-hyped, over priced, and simply not worth buying:
1. Chantecaille Gold Energizing Eye Recovery Mask ($195 for 19g)
Star Ingredient: Fine Silk Crystal Gold Complex
Claims: Anti-inflammatory, anti- bacterial, anti-aging, hydrating, promotes collagen production
TRUTH: Fine Silk Crystals are being used in many cosmetics formulas as a carrier for active ingredients. These crystals are a fibroin protein (means insoluble), which can bind water to the skin without using emulsifiers in the formula. These crystals interface with air, water, and oil with ease. In nature, this is the type of silk thread created by spiders and moths. The crystals can have many different active ingredients suspended within, and gold is one being used currently.
The problem with gold, however, is it does not make for a good skincare ingredient. In fact, in 2001 it was listed as the number one allergen for skin by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, and there is absolutely no research to show it can stimulate collagen production in the skin. It is simply being included because it is considered "luxurious" and "rare." It has no use as a skincare ingredient.
2. Teadora Nourishing Body Butter ($45 for 220mL)
Star Ingredient: Buriti Extract
Claims: Effective sunscreen
TRUTH: Buriti is the fruit from a palm tree that grows in South America. This plant does have some amazing skincare benefits, but SPF is not one of them, and this product should not be used in place of a recognized sunscreen. This ingredient is packed with vitamins A, C, and E, and will protect from free radical damage while providing the skin with all the required nutrients to stimulate regeneration, but it will not protect from UV light! Any claims that it will are without merit. Health Canada recognizes only 22 ingredients as sunscreens and buriti is not on that list.
3. La Prairie Cellular Eye Cream Platinum Rare ($365 for 15mL)
Star Ingredient: Platinum
Claims: Maintains skin's electrical balance, tightens skin, brightens skin
TRUTH: Platinum is another precious metal with no substantiated research to prove it has any benefit in a topical cosmetic. Yes, it's rare. Yes, it's precious. Yes, it's expensive. None of that means it does anything for the skin. There is no topical product that can "tighten" the skin, as this is simply not biologically possible. Cosmetics, by definition of law, cannot change the physiological nature of the skin. Yes, this will brighten the skin, but that is a simple cosmetic affect from the reflective nature of the metal. Any reflective material will achieve the same result.
4. Darphin Stimulskin Plus ($295 for 50mL)
Star Ingredient: Sea Emerald
Claims: Firms skin, stimulates collagen production
TRUTH: Sea Emerald is neither rare nor exotic. Looking at the INCI list, for this product the only ingredient derived from the sea is algae extract. There are over 20, 000 varieties of algae, all with very similar properties. They are great emollients, water-binding agents, and great sources of proteins, vitamin A, sugar, starch, vitamin B1, iron, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and calcium; however, none of this means the ingredient can firm skin. In fact, no topical product can do that. Also, vitamin C, required for the production of collagen, is not present in algae.
Don't believe the marketing hype—before you purchase any Lancome Genifique products, read this.
Find out why cosmetics words like "all-natural" and "hypoallergenic" do not mean what you think they mean.