Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty: Melissa Nkomo of Savile Beauty

Vancouver Loves Natural Beauty is a semi-regular column that highlights organic and natural beauty and skincare brands founded in our fair city.

Imagine the luxury of custom work applied to the world of beauty, and combine it with a holistic green approach to cosmetics and skincare. That pretty much sums up Savile Beauty, where the possibilities are brilliant and bewildering.

Need makeup that won't irritate your sensitive skin? Craving an all-natural version of a lipstick shade you spotted in stores? Used up your limited edition lip gloss and simply must have a replacement? Founder and self-proclaimed "skinthusiast" Melissa Nkomo can answer your prayers, one hand-crafted product at a time. I caught up with her to learn more about the business of bespoke beauty.

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Product Review: Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Treatment

Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Treatment

I really wanted to like Korres Wild Rose Instant Brightening Eye Treatment ($45 at Sephora) because it sounds so good on paper. Not only is this eye cream from a reputable Greek brand specializing in natural skincare, the formula—which boasts wild rose oil, yeast, ruscus, and horse chestnut extract—promises to diminish dark circles, de-puff, and fight fine lines. In other words, it supposedly combats the three concerns I have about my undereye area, all while providing instant brightening benefits with its rose-gold toned brighteners.

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Dior Trianon Spring 2014

Dior Trianon Spring 2014 collection

I'm going to try my best to remain articulate in this post, which is no easy feat considering almost everything in Dior's Trianon collection for spring 2014 makes me want to squeal with girlish joy. The inspiration behind this limited edition collection is a modern-day marquise, and indeed, the soft pastels, dessert-inspired shades, and sheer prettiness of it all call to mind Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The Trianon collection is available at Dior counters now, but if past precedent is anything to go by, not for very long. Here's a look at my favourites.

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Latest Outfit: Get Real

Cozy layers: Plaid scarf and buffalo plaid shirt, black skinny jeans, long oatmeal cardigan, navy blue wellies and shoulder bag.
Madewell cardigan and jeans | J. Crew shirt | Scarf (borrowed from the boy) | Coach city bag | Joules wellies | Nails: Dior Vernis 'Bouquet'

So here I am, layered within an inch of my life, braving wet snow, and trying not to sneeze or sniffle as I pose for outfit photos. Whee! Cozy layers are all I want to wear these days when I'm not huddled under a blanket on the couch. I like how the matchy-matchy vibe of the two plaid patterns and all the navy, red, black, and oatmeal conspire to at least make it look like I tried.

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Product Review: Cover Girl Clean Whipped Creme Foundation

Drugstore foundations have come a long way in the last few years. I remember my mom in the early nineties, browsing through glass bottles and struggling to find one that wasn't too pink, too chalky, or too thick. These days better pigments, more diverse shade ranges, and HD finishes make drugstore foundations an affordable alternative to their department store counterparts.

So why do I have this lingering dislike against them? That was the thought on my mind during the last couple weeks while test-driving Cover Girl's Clean Whipped Creme Foundation ($9.99 at London Drugs) and confronting my prejudices.

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Miniaturize It

Replicating a popular bag in different sizes is a safe bet for designers, as far as accessories go. (See: Celine luggage totes, 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli satchels, Chanel 2.55.) But it still delights me to see that my two staple bags from this winter have been rendered in miniature form for spring.

After all, the full-size versions are great for Monday to Friday commutes to the office. But when the weekend rolls around, shouldn't she be able to tote just the essentials—phone, wallet, keys, lipstick—in a smaller version of a tried-and-true bag design? For spring, I'm especially partial to warm, earthy leathers in a lighter palette. All the better to pair with denim jackets, white or blush blazers, and army jackets.

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Latest Outfit: Radiant Orchid

J. Crew green sweater with embellished neckline, orchid wook pencil skirt, gold bangle; Beausoleil tortoiseshell glasses; Maison Martin Margiela texturized rubber booties in black; Roots 'Shirley' bag in gold saffiano leather
J. Crew sweater, skirt, and bangle | Margiela booties | Roots 'Shirley' bag (c/o)

One of the bright sides of closet purges is rediscovering hidden gems and finding out they go very well with new favourites. I bought this J. Crew pencil skirt two years ago and wore it to death in early 2012, but then it sat neglected in my dresser, its position as Favourite Skirt usurped by more recent acquisitions. Luckily, it's been resurrected just in time to pay homage to Pantone's colour of the year, Radiant Orchid.

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The Last Minute Valentine's Day Gift Guide

So you haven't blown it yet, but you're about to with the most important girl(s) in your life. Valentine's Day is tomorrow and you've forgotten to plan a romantic surprise. Or maybe it's completely slipped your mind that your BFF going through a rough break-up could use some cheering up, or your girlfriends or colleagues might appreciate a small token. If any of these scenarios apply to you, take these gift suggestions to heart.

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LOFT Giveaway

LOFT Canada x Solo Lisa $100 GC blog giveaway

Ready, set, spring! If you're anything like me, waiting out winter's last days is much more tolerable when you can shop the new spring arrivals in anticipation of warmer weather ahead. LOFT evidently feels the same because they're offering one lucky Solo Lisa reader a $100 GC. All the more reason to hop in your car and make the trip to Vancouver's first LOFT store in Park Royal!

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Latest Outfit: Lady in Red

Hanii Y blue and yellow silk blouse, J. Crew cherry no. 2 pencil skirt in double-serge wool, black Prada booties, black patent Saint Laurent 'Belle de Jour' clutch
Hanii Y blouse | J. Crew skirt | LOFT earrings (c/o) | Prada booties | Saint Laurent 'Belle de Jour' clutch | Lips: MAC 'Cherry' Lip Pencil & Fresh Sugar Cherry Lip Treatment | Nails: Revlon 'Copper Glaze Platinum'

"Ooh, lady in red!" the boy quipped when he saw this look. But then again, red seems like an inevitable choice this time of the year. Between Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, and cheering on Team Canada at the Winter Olympics, a little scarlet (or crimson, burgundy, or maroon) is bound to sneak into outfits.

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Product Review: Linacare Transforming Face Cream

Linacare Transforming Face Cream

So, how about that arctic chill hanging over Vancouver? A couple minutes outside is enough to sting noses and cheeks before skin subsides into complete numbness. I've been relying heavily on the moisturizing MVPs from this post, but I also added a new player to the roster. Meet the Linacare Transforming Face Cream ($58 at BeautyMark), aka the best thing to have happened to my skincare routine since I started using makeup cleansing wipes.

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#treatyoself: 5 Vancouver Destinations For Your Next Pampering Session

Blogger Lisa Wong of Solo Lisa getting a blowout at Black 2 Blond salon

Are you a working girl in need of some TLC? Or perhaps a beau pondering a beauty treatment GC as a Valentine's Day gift? Whether it's facials, brows, massage, reflexology, or haircare you're after, these destinations deliver. Oh, and they've all been tested by yours truly.

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Latest Outfit: Polka Dot Chambray

Fuchsia lips, black statement necklace, polka dot chambray shirt, Chanel WOC worn as a crossbody bag, and silver shoes
J. Crew Factory shirt | J. Crew necklace (c/o) | Gap 1969 Always Skinny jeans | 3.1 Phillip Lim loafers | Chanel WOC | Lipstick: Make Up For Ever #16 Fuchsia

If you've been following my Beauty United adventures and Instagram, you'll recognize this look: It's the same outfit I wore for the Grammy viewing party, but meticulously re-created and photographed in Vancouver over the weekend. As dedicated as I am to this blog, I wasn't about to risk frostbite and pneumonia to get well-lit outdoor outfit shots in Toronto! The chambray shirt is a recent acquisition and my third one to date. I can't seem to stop buying multiples of basics that work.

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