How a Beauty Editor Gets Ready For Fashion Week and TIFF

What I do so I don't feel like a troll.
Michelle Villett
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What I do so I don't feel like a troll.

Here's a little insidery fact: If you're a beauty editor, the first week of September, directly after Labour Day, is hands-down the busiest, craziest week of the year. It's kind of cruel, because you're just coming off a long weekend and still wanting to savour what's left of the warm weather as we cruise into fall. Instead, you're jolted into madness, since a) an entire month of Spring Fashion Weeks kicks off, starting with New York, b) the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes over our fair city and c) BECAUSE OF a) and b), a very large number of companies want to get in on the excitement by hosting beauty events during this time.

And so, I've had to violently pull myself out of summer mode—which, let's face it, might be just a tad slack-ass on the grooming—and channel a more polished, presentable, red carpet-ready version of myself. (Even if I'm not walking any actual red carpets.)

You may wish to do the same. In fact, I recommend it! Just like I urged you to examine the fall beauty trends and think about what looks you want to go for this season, I also think it's important—probably MORE important—to deal with the foundation. Not the cream-to-powder kind, silly, but all of the underlying things like your haircut, and hair colour, and skin and nails and brows and more. I do all of these things in early September (because mentally I can't let go of that "back to school" thing) and it feels like a million bucks. I swear. So here's a little random rundown of what I've been up to, and recommend. Fun!

I got my hair cut and coloured.

By different people, obviously, since (no offense) I would never let my colourist near me with scissors. Yeah, I've got trust issues. (The man who cuts my hair, Bill Angst, has done my colour in the past but he's expensive. He always tells me if he approves of other people's work—and right now, he does.)

Our favourite hyper hair colour-aware commenter, Thomas, will be disappointed that I didn't try anything crazy with my colour... I just got my roots attended to and had a toner put through to give it that slightly dark, reddish-blonde je ne sais quoi that I'm digging lately. And this, I think, is enough to rejuvenate your summer locks if you're one of those risk-averse people. Toners are so underrated, especially for blondes. Here's an approximation of what my colour is like, seeing as I can't take a well-lit picture of it to save my life.


Not as red as an Amy Adams or an Isla Fisher (my twin redhead obsessions), but just enough to make it different from those billion icy, ashy blondes everywhere. The takeaway message: try a toner! Dewit!

As for the cut, well, I always revert to this pic since I have a cowlick that tends to separate my bangs in this fashion:


But Bill told me it would really be a better idea if I just grew them out and started again. (I've cheated with too many hairdressers and so the line is not quite right. Again, this is why I always kick myself for succumbing to the lure of a free haircut.) He also said he's really feeling my deep side part, so this is what I walked out with:


Except, you know, I WISH I looked like Emma Stone.

I got an oxygen facial.

Ever had one? I'm not one for facials in general, but I like this treatment because you really do get results. Seriously, for up to five days post-treatment (although I think it's mostly in the first 24-48 hours), you really can see that your skin is more plumped-up and hydrated-looking. Celebs get these done all the time before big events. In a nutshell, how it works is via a little hand-held device, which blows pure oxygen into your pores and helps push your serum of choice deep into the dermis. I've had the Intraceuticals a few times in the past, but the Windsor Arms Hotel in Toronto (a LOVELY place, really) was kind enough to treat me to the Luzern version, which is more like a traditional facial with the oxygen part at the very end. SO GOOD. The best part is that they can customize it to treat whatever skin concern you have, so it's not just for anti-aging purposes but also hydration, acne or sensitivity.

Another great thing about Luzern is that you can buy the very same products for at-home use. There's none of this "professional-grade" stuff that the estheticians get to enjoy but you can't get your hands on. You can buy it at the Windsor Arms too (as well as a whole bunch of other fab lines including SkinCeuticals, Deborah Lippmann and more).


I had my eyebrows trimmed, tweezed and threaded.


That's right—the great Irena (at Robin Barker in Toronto) worked her magic and I'm a convert (after this lengthy discussion on my fear of new eyebrow people). I've said it before and I'll say it again: eyebrow shaping is just one of those areas where 99 percent of us require professional help. It's a great idea to seek said help as part of your September rejuvenation program. Personally, I always have to book eyebrows and hair appointments in the same week because I feel like the new hair is never complete without the eyebrow hair looking groomed as well.

I got an (organic) faux tan.

I know, it's September. Why a spray tan? Well, it's not quite tights weather yet—but my pale, bare legs cry out for cover in the form of colour, at least. Especially with the fancy schmanzy TIFF event circuit.


That said, I've always shied away from the whole spray-tanning business, and not just because I choose not to look like I live at Jersey Shore. I'm also a bit reluctant to have every inch of my body sprayed with whatever is in those tanning formulas... even though they're technically "safe," I'm not in any rush to load up on parabens and the like. And so I was over the moon that Pure + Simple in Toronto will soon be offering an organic spray tan sans harmful or toxic chemicals, dyes, alcohol, additives, perfumes and artificial colours. (I was lucky to get an advance test drive.) The ingredients in their solution are purified water; dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which is derived from plant sources such as beet sugar; cane sugar; aloe vera; and benzoic acid. Fantastic, right? The whole process takes about 15 minutes, the colour is really natural and the results last between seven to 10 days. (You can help it last by exfoliating beforehand and then when showering, not using anything abrasive and patting yourself dry instead of rubbing.)

If organic spray tans aren't offered in your city, check out some of these self-tanners for at-home use.

I got my nails did.

This one is VERY important because walking around in flip flops all summer encourages yucky dry feet and callouses and such. I tell you, if there's one aesthetic service that is 100 percent worth it, it's a pedicure. Those girls deserve every penny for scraping the gunk off people's gross feet. Anyway! The big decision, obviously, is colour... because hopefully we've still got a few more weeks to get away with wearing sandals. I hear that nude polish pedis are a big thing in NYC these days, but I can't quite get on board with that one, so I'm currently rocking this colour:


It's called Lucky, Lucky Lavender and it's certainly paler than the bright corals, reds and pinks that I tend to wear on my toes. But you know what? I love it. I feel like I'm part of the trend but there's still just enough colour to not look like mannequin toes.

And that's pretty much the extent of my shameless primping! The result: I no longer feel like a troll who has no business advising others on beauty. And on that note, stay tuned for my usual runway reports next week on all the exciting spring beauty trends coming off the catwalks!

In the meantime, tell me:

Do you agree that it's important to give onself a September beauty revamp?
What have you been doing to get beauty-ready for fall?
Have you ever tried an oxygen facial or an organic spray tan?