Fashion-able: Fall beauty, naturally

Here on the fourth floor we are
digging fall. Feeling good layering plush sweaters with soft leathers,
bringing cozy patterned and knit scarves back into rotation and adding comfort
and class to any look with our favourite boots (we love Rudsak‘s luxurious leather selection).

While we’re always watching the
runways to stay on top of fall fashion must haves (texture, shine and wine hues
are big this year – look for brocades, rivets and leather trimmed items) we
never forget the importance of putting our best face forward.

Fall runways featured vampy lips,
bright jewel hues and graphic eyeliner, but the biggest trend of all? Raw
natural beauty. Below we share our secrets, direct from an office full of
women, to getting the natural healthy glow that is so now and how to sport
other trendy makeup looks without looking like you’ve been unfavourably cast in
a Reitmans commercial.

The Natural Look:

We love Bette Franke looking naturally beautiful for Balmain. 
Image Sources: Face, Runway

The goal here is to look healthy
and youthful. The
basic rules of natural makeup still apply; numero uno: look like you’re wearing
none. Trending this season are big brows and barely there blush.

Brows: If you’re like us, you’ve been growing out your brows for a while now. However, even if you haven’t,
or if you’re stuck with sparse ones, don’t fear. A little eye shadow or a
brow pencil can help. To keep it looking natural resist the temptation to
overdo it and opt for a shade slightly darker than your hair colour.

Eyes: If you’re like us and live by
the motto ‘work hard, play harder’ you probably want to start with concealer to
brighten up the area around the eye and reduce the dark circles that sometimes creep up there. Sweep a neutral powder (close in colour to your skin tone) from
eyelid to brow bone and blend a brown toned shadow into your crease. Stay on
trend by selecting a brown with hints of bronze, gold or burgundy. Avoid liner.
To open up the eyes press black eye shadow into the outer half of the upper
lash line. Finish with mascara (for longer lashes sans mascara, try Peptalash).

Cheeks: Sable tinted blushes are
great with fall colours, but when selecting your blush, work off your lip colour
and skin tone. Most important here is blending. When you are done, there should
be a hint of colour on your cheekbones, like you’ve just returned from a crisp
fall hike.

Lips: Three signs of healthy,
youthful lips are fullness, colour and smoothness. It’s easy to keep your lips
smooth by applying a balm every night before bed. A lip stain or tinted gloss
can easily add a healthy touch of colour. Stick to natural red, pink and coral tones and veer away from mauve, magenta and really any purple hues. If you’re not endowed with big
smackers, a gloss or lipstick close to your skin tone is your best bet for
faking fullness. Select a matte nude lipstick to max out your pucker.

Skin: Smooth, even porcelain skin is super hot this fall. If you fear looking pasty (though we say, rock the pale), a bit of well-blended bronzer on the “3” zone looks lovely. The best
tip for good skin is the same as ever: wash your face every night (we loooove
Consonant’s Organic Foaming Face Wash!).

Complete the look: Braids, sleek side parts and tousled boho hair are big again this season. When it comes to nails anything goes so don’t be afraid to go long, short, pointed, square, bright or neutral (just stay away from the gel French manicure – try a reverse French manicure instead).

Vampy Lips:

While the heavy eyes and lips look great here, keep your eyes neutral for real life wear.
Image sources (clockwise from top left): light eyes, dark eyes, Fox, Bosworth

Deep red is huge this year! On the runway we saw bold, rich red lips take on a Gothic form: pale skin and bleached out eyes and brows paired with black-reds created an interesting bold-yet-fragile look. In addition to the Gothic look, this season’s beauty editorials also feature a daring combination of dark smoky eyes, bronzed skin and burgundy or Bordeaux lips. Deep red lips can absolutely be worked into daily life, but when in the office instead of on the runway avoid extremes in eye shadow. Stay on trend by keeping the peaks of your lips slightly rounded. Tip: buy a lip brush! It will make all the difference in application.

Jewel Hues:

Get inspired by these bold jewel tones, but wear them in a way that isn’t over powering.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): ruby, sapphire, amethyst and amberMcAdamsOlsen, Bell 

Many designers paired this season’s powerful prints and colour blocking with bright emerald, sapphire, amethyst, amber and ruby shadows. We love that it’s cool to express yourself through colour like fashion divas Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry but we like to keep it cool in the office with subtle hints of colour that highlight either the upper or lower lash line or crease, but don’t dominate. Remember to keep the lips neutral when playing up the eyes

Graphic Eyeliner:

Graphic designs inspire unique liner looks this fall.
Image sources (clockwise from upper left): linear, cat, graphic, artsy, Adele, Swift

Think of the trends you’ve seen in colour blocking and nail art but in beauty! Let your artistic side out with intricate liner detailing. For the slightly-less-steady of hand try cat eyes a la Taylor Swift or other blocky, punk or retro (think Adele), inspired liner designs. Once again, tone it down for the office (and don’t be discouraged if you can’t match the best beauty editorials – Photoshop helps a lot).

Under Eye Shadow:

This look is not for the timid!
Image source (clockwise from upper left): white and black swipes, liner, shadow

Seen most recently at London’s s/s 2013 fashion week, bold eyeliner and shadows under the eye are our new favourite trend. Nothing says you’re confident in your looks like purposely adding to the shadows under your eyes. To get the look simply add black shadow or Khol liner to the natural look described above. Warning: must be worn with confidence. That’s where true beauty lies anyway.

Rave: Best Skin Seminar – Summer Radiance

The lovely folks at Consonant Skincare regularly hold Best Skin Seminars out of their store (2479 Yonge St.), since education is such a huge part of their mandate. Along with producing innovative products, they strive to contribute to their patrons’ overall well-being. Held on what felt like the year’s first really sunny Monday, their latest seminar was aptly titled “Summer Radiance”. The seminar featured two experts — Marina Cortese (, a holistic nutritionist and Donna Bishop (, a green beauty expert and founder of Bamboo Magazine — each of whom applied their area of expertise to the theme of “summer radiance”. We’ve decided to share the knowledge with our faithful readers. 

Healthy Eating for Healthy Skin

With warmer weather comes the return of delicious, in-season produce. For many of us, this means that our diets naturally tend to integrate more raw foods. Raw foods are rich in enzymes, which are a great source of fibre, water and skin-beautifying vitamins and minerals, all of which are fantastic for your skin. 

Raw, delicious food. 

Hot weather also means our beverage consumption increases (and no, we aren’t talking about cocktails!). We’re sure you’ve heard it before, but water is your #1 beauty food. It makes up 75% of our body, and keeps skin and organs healthy by flushing out toxins. As the body’s largest detoxifying organ, water is supremely important to our skin and in the summer months it is essential to keep hydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink 1/2 your weight in water (for example, 150 lbs = 75 ounces of water) daily.

Alongside water, you should be drinking lots of fresh juices*. Juicing is a great way to deliver vitamins and minerals directly to your body, helping to energize you and support your body in cleansing. Think of it as a heroin injection of antioxidants. The combinations are endless, but the juice Marina brought was especially delicious: cucumber, celery, green apple, mint and lemon (she called it the “green zinger”, one sip and we could see why). 

Elixir of beautiful skin. 

To close out the seminar, Marina left us with her “Top 10 Food Beauty Tips”:
– Hydrate
– Chew your food (should be paste-like, to decrease the work for your digestive system)
– A juice a day keeps the doctor away
– Listen to your body
– Eat a variety of foods and rotate (don’t eat the same thing everyday)
– Eat organic, “happy” foods (think of meat as a treat, not an everyday staple)
– Eat nutrient-dense food
– Do some spring-cleaning
– Quit your bad habits
– Have fun and never feel guilty!

*We are not talking about Tropicana here. Juice means fresh-squeezed, no sugar added or from concentrate nonsense. And juice doesn’t just mean fruit – veggies are an amazing juice ingredient, too.

Healthy Makeup and Skin Care

Before launching into summer skin care, Donna gave us an overview of the cosmetics industry and, damn, is it a terrifying landscape. Donna compared it to the “wild west” — impurities and by-products don’t need to be listed on product labels, there’s no standardized testing of products before going to market, and companies often hide behind the guise of “proprietary information”. If we weren’t sold on organic products before, we certainly are now. 

Moving on to summer-specific skin care, Donna’s guidance was fairly straightforward — sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen. The sun is the #1 cause of skin damage, with 80% of damage happening before the age of 18. Yikes. She also gave us a general rule of thumb as to the difference between UVA and UVB rays: UVA rays age us, while UVB rays burn us. 

Lotion up!

During the summer months, especially with more of our bodies being exposed to the sun, we should always be wearing sunscreen. Donna suggests applying it after your shower as part of your morning routine to ensure you don’t forget. Curious as to how much you should use? A good guideline is using a shot glass full per adult. And steer clear of spray or powder sunscreens, as you end up inhaling just as much as goes on your body. Gross. 

Organic sunscreens get a bad rap. They tend to have difficulty blending into the skin and end up looking like you’re slathering a white paste all over. However, there are brands making great strides to be both good for you and easy to use. Donna’s tried-and-trusted favourite organic brands include Devita, Original Sprout and UV Natural

Donna’s favourite organic sunscreen.

When applying sunscreen this summer, try to put it on 30 minutes before going into the sun to allow time for it to absorb properly. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your forearms and hands daily. We tend to focus on our faces, while forgetting that our hands often belie our age first.  Finally, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by high SPFs. Studies show that anything above a 30 SPF offers only marginally more protection than a 30 SPF, so you should still reapply every 1-2 hours you’re in the direct sun.

Interested in learning more about your best skin? Upcoming Best Skin Seminars as as follows:June
4, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy Aging

June 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Summer Radiance
July 96:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy Eating for
Healthy Skin (Advanced Course)

July 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. – Healthy
Eating for Healthy Skin (Advanced Course)*

For more information, please call Consonant Skincare at 416.925.2855.

*tentative date, subject to change.

Rave: Our Favourite Bath Products

There’s nothing like a hot bath at the end of a long day, especially if you’ve spent the majority of it running in heels, as we often do. There’s no end to the lotions, potions and accessories we employ for an evening soak but we’ve highlighted some of our favourite essentials for the perfect bath time.

Getting ready
Before you dive in, smooth your skin with a dry scrub. It’s great for the lymphatic system and has been shown to improve skin elasticity and even reduce the appearance of cellulite (bonus!). We like Pure and Simple’s Korean Body Scrub mitt but you can use any kind of natural fibre brush. Don’t be afraid to give a good hard scrub.

Setting the mood
Pampering yourself calls for some serious mood lighting. Nothing beats candlelight (with a little lighting boost for those of us who love to read in the bath). Scented or unscented, there are so many kinds to choose from but here are a few of our top picks:

There’s no end in sight for the online love shown to this signature Diptyque candle. Warm and cozy, light it up if you want to feel like you’re bathing in a posh chalet somewhere in the mountains.

Coming down on the price scale, Pacifica makes quality candles. We love the Nerola Orange Blossom for its warm and slightly spicy scent.

For sensitive noses, nothing beats good ol’ beeswax candles. They last about five times longer than paraffin candles, too.

Bubble up
When it comes to adding bubbles to a bath, some people are for or against. Whatever you add, make sure it has natural ingredients – you don’t want your freshly scrubbed skin to absorb a bunch of yucky chemicals.

OK, we know we’re grown-ups but this plant-based bubble bath is nourishing and makes just the right amount of bubbles.

This mix of green tea, exotic woods, white orchid, ebony and vanillas will zen anybody out. But since scent is subjective, you might be partial to another of Tokyo Milk’s all-natural bubble baths. If only they made it in No. 13…

In lieu of bubbles, we like adding some natural oil to the bath to moisturize skin. A few drops of almond oil and you’ll be amazed at how soft your skin is après bath.

Inciting extras
Again, baths are a personal thing. Some people like to do nothing but unwind in the tub while others like to use the time to flip through books or magazines. Far be it from us to tell you what you need to read, but for true bath time indulgence, there’s Aqua Erotica, a completely waterproof book filled with short erotic stories based around the central theme of, you guessed it, water. 

For a true spa experience, do a hair or face masque in the tub. We shared a bunch of DIY recipes you can check out here.

To finish – towel off and lotion up. We love Consonant Organic Body Lotion because:


Meet Our Client: Bill Baker

Bill Baker is the president and founder of Consonant Skincare, a Canadian-based premium line of natural skincare products that recently launched their flagship store at 2479 Yonge St., near Yonge and Eglinton.

After working in advertising and brand management for years, Bill discovered the health benefits of natural skincare, leading him to venture on a new career path. Realizing that there weren’t any brands on the market that delivered the results he was looking for and felt good to use, Bill took matters into his own hands and developed Consonant Skincare five years ago. 

Find Consonant Skincare on Twitter and Facebook.
What do you do?
At Consonant, we set our customers free. We free them from the sensitivities associated with harsh and irritating skincare ingredients, from oppressive skincare regimens and from the outrageous cost of beauty products that over-promise and under-deliver. Most important, we give them the freedom to show their best skin, because Consonant Skincare is award-winning, 100 percent natural, organic and guaranteed to deliver results.

How long have you worked with rock-it promotions?
Not long enough! It has been about two months, but already rock-it has accomplished so much for us. We feel like their fit with Consonant is perfect – they understand our customers, they get what we are trying to accomplish and they’re making it happen. That they are a pleasure to work with is just a bonus.
What do you love most about your job?
I love making products that solve problems our customers have been having for years. I love it when they tell us they’ve been looking for us, and they’re glad they finally found us.

What do you like the least about your profession/industry?
I’m frustrated by the misleading claims being made by some of the big guys. They imply their products are natural when they are actually far from it. At best it’s confusing to customers, at worst it’s dangerous to their health.

What’s your next big goal?
We want to roll out the Consonant retail concept across Canada and beyond. Having our own stores is a great way for us to get closer to our customers so we can have meaningful conversations with them. We love hearing what they want and what they think of our products. And on the flipside, we love educating them on the differences between Consonant Skincare and conventional skincare.

Why is PR important to you (and what you do professionally)?
Strategic publicity helps build bridges between Consonant and key influencers in the marketplace: traditional media, new media, and everyday lovers of fashion, beauty and style.

A little more from the fourth floor:

I’m currently reading Damaged by Pamela Callow. It’s a page-turner by a Canadian writer living in Halifax who also happens to be the sister of a good friend.

Definitely fall. For the colours, the crisp air and the Canadian apples. 


Brilliantly executed global brands.

Strong, black coffee. Ideally French Roast.

Motto in two words? 
Passion (and) persistence.

Idea of perfect happiness? 
Breakfast on a patio beside a beach in Hawaii.

Used to be Blackberry’s, now it’s iPhone’s. (Sorry RIM.) 

Greatest achievement? 
Yet to be realized. 

Fashion-Able: Man Repelling Street Style

Last weekwe had the opportunity to go see the man repeller herself, Leandra Medine at the Holts Muse blog launch party. Guests mingled, drank, took lots of photos and generally looked uber stylish on the third floor of Holt Renfrew. If you’re not quite sure whether your outfit is attracting or repelling men, the technical definition from Leandra is as follows:
MAN·RE·PELL·ER1 [MAHN-REE-PELLER] noun: Outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include, but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.
We love the chance to try out new styles and experiment with fashion, despite what anyone thinks. Leandra may have said it best when she came to Toronto: “at the end of the day, you’re not dressing to repel men, you’re dressing to make yourself happy…” and we’re generally a pretty happy bunch. We grabbed our camera and snapped some shots of the style-conscious party-goers with our best man repelling highlights. 

Blogger Anita Clarke was rocking some harem pants and a mean arm party.  Man-repelling highlight: Neon nail polish. We’re into it, in a big way. 

Let’s get a close up of that arm party. Nice.

Ashley Rowe and Andie Riedel from the fourth floor.
Photo credit Ashley Rowe

Designer Ashley Rowe threw on some statement pants with Dalmatian print, a pair of wide-legged trousers from her collection. We’ve got our eye on those at the next sample sale. Man repelling highlight(s): Anything Dalmatian.

(left to right) Stylish Holt’s guest, Leandra Medine and Jen McNeely

Leandra Medine, Jen McNeely of She Does the City and guest gracefully strike a group pose. Man repelling highlight(s): Thick knit scarf, DANNIJO collar, bright lips.  We’d be inclined to wear all these items simultaneously.
Kristina Breckon and Kristin Nickolas

Consonant Skincare’s Kristina Breckon and Kristin Nickolas were rocking cozy chic looks with bootie + chunky scarf combos. Man-repelling highlight(s): It’s an even tie between the faux fur scarf and tapered harem pants.

Katie Polivka

Katie Polivka from Holt Renfrew wears a mesh skirt and fuzzy sweater. Love the mixing of textures. Man-repelling highlight(s): That leopard print clutch is amazing, but bow-on-head is an auto-win.
All photo credits belong to On The Fourth Floor, except where noted.