BeautyMark will always hold a special place in my heart. My relationship with the Vancouver-based beauty boutique first began in 2010, when their PR emailed me about trying a vegan nail polish line they carried at the time. (Remember, this was before beauty blogging became huge and brands working with bloggers was still relatively novel.) Over the years they've introduced me to labels like Tata Harper and Consonant, as well as best-in-the-biz pros like Chris Funk (with whom I collaborated on a blowout tutorial here) and Kathryn Sawers of Collective Skincare (my facialist extraordinaire and a wealth of information when it comes to pre-wedding skincare strategy).
Given such a long working relationship, I go to BeautyMark's annual holiday media preview expecting to re-acquaint myself with the aspects of the store I already adore, but this year's event blew me away with the unprecedented level of new stuff to see, learn about, and experience. Longtime fans of BeautyMark and those new to the store are in for a treat. All the details after the jump!
Ponytails are not exactly a new hairstyle for me, but they take on a refined effortlessness in the capable hands of Chris Funk, who was there that night to demo Oribe hair products and a few tricks for quick, easy party-ready hairstyles. Would you believe my hair was completely flat at the roots and in a sad butterfly clip before this? Chris separated the front sections of my hair and put in a side part, then backcombed the crown with a bit of hairspray. He gathered the back section of my hair into a low ponytail and then crisscrossed and pinned the front sections to cover up the elastic.
The genius, life-changing secret Chris showed us was all about the ponytail elastic. Use a small elastic or two and slide two bobby pins onto the elastic(s). Gather hair into a ponytail and twist it, then slide one bobby pin straight up into the middle of the twist. Take the other bobby pin and use it to stretch and wrap the elastic around hair, bungee-cord style, and slide the second bobby pin into the centre of the ponytail to crisscross with the first. You can see him demo the technique above, which works for any type of ponytail or hair and results in a secure but not-too-tight ponytail that won't ruin any volume or smoothness at the crown.
BeautyMark just started carrying the cult fave French brand Caudalie, which joins their already impressive array of natural and free-from skincare lines. I'd heard great things about Caudalie in the past, particularly how they use different parts of the grape and grapevines in their natural formulations. That evening, I learned about the anti-oxidant polyphenols (extracted from dried grape seeds), viniferine (a skin-brightening sap from grapevines that's been stablized at its bio-active, most potent peak), and firming resveratrol.
Vancouver-based CBeauty just launched their line of body oils made of high-quality virgin coconut oil from the Philippines and scented with lavender, ylang-ylang, or chamomile. They're solid at room temperature and do need to be warmed up before use; the founder places her blue bottle in a hot water bath while she's showering so that the oil liquifies by the time she's done.
Butter Babes is also a new Vancouver label; their all-natural body butters come in a reusable, handmade, sustainable bamboo container. A little goes a very long way: I took what I thought was a sufficient dab for my hand and it turned out to be enough for my whole arm! The generous-sized jar should last the whole winter and beyond, even if you have impossibly dry skin.
While waiting for the Butter London presentation to begin, I spotted these Glitter Scrubbers textured remover wipes ($15) which I thought were pure genius. How many times have I sat at home scrubbing bits of glitter off my nails and wishing the cotton pad in hand had a more abrasive texture? These would be great stocking stuffers for nail polish aficionados.
Beauty lovers, take note: Butter London's cosmetics line—which includes refillable and customizable "clutch" palettes that can hold any combination of face, cheek, and eye colours—is new to and exclusively available at BeautyMark in Vancouver. And yes, their packaging and colours are just as covetable as their nail polishes.
Upstairs at Collective Skincare, Kathryn walked us through her own Even Tide Botanic Alchemy Everything Mask ($28), a launch so new the website on the back of the packaging doesn't even work yet. The powdered blend of kaolin clay, oatmeal, rose petals, and tea tree and juniper essential oils lives up to its moniker by doing everything skincare-wise: it hydrates, soothes, purifies, detoxes, rebalances. The powdered mixture can be combined with water or raw honey for extra hydration. Kathryn already had a bit of mask mixed up and ready to go (just half a teaspoon of powder is more than enough) and brushed a bit on the back of each of our hands. The results were immediate, noticeable and astonishing: the skin on the masked hand was visibly brighter and felt better hydrated when we wiped away the product. Beautiful minimalist branding, ethically sourced ingredients, locally made, affordable, effective—really, what's not to love? Even Tide Everything Masks are available for purchase from Collective Skincare.
Finally, Dermalogica reps were there to walk us through the new Charcoal Rescue Masque and Phyto Replenish Oil. In the video above, brand rep Tia demonstrated the Dewy DIY facial massage techniques that help relax facial muscles and wrinkles, promote radiant skin and make the most of the Phyto Replenish Oil (although if you have a facial oil at home, you can certainly use the techniques with that too!).