Fashion-able: Natural beauty products

While we do love the occasional shellac, and we can’t
honestly boast that the majority of our day-to-day beauty products are all
natural, we do like to try and use natural beauty products when possible. Whether it’s for sensitive skin, dry and brittle nails or any other sensitivities, we’ve found that switching over to natural products can be a
pretty quick fix. And while the selection doesn’t always compare to
conventional products, your body will thank you.


Consonant Skincare
Consonant Skincare, a line of Canadian-made 100% natural, chemical-free skincare products just recently came out with 100% Natural Matte Finish Sunscreen. Because it’s matte, non-greasy and leaves no white residue, it’s perfect for every day use on top of moisturizer, and makes for a great make up primer.

Consonant’s moisturizer is also a great summer product because it’s light, but also effectively moisturizes and hydrates skin that spent just a little too much time in the sun. 

Another great natural brand is Kiss My Face. Their line of cream and spray sunscreens are available in SPF 30 for the body and SPF 50 for the face. Their sunscreens also contain aloe which soothes and moisturizes skin while protecting it. We also love the Sport Lip Balm in SPF 30, because if you’ve ever burned your lips, you will never make the same mistake again.

Hair care

With a collection that includes six shampoos and four conditioners, not only do Aesop products use the finest natural ingredients, they smell amazing as well. Unlike a lot of natural shampoos, Aesop’s products actually cater to different hair types with options like volumizing, colour protection and equalizing shampoo. 

Green Beaver
Another line of delicious smelling shampoos and conditioners is Green Beaver. This line which includes scents such as Cranberry Delight, Fresh Mint, and Lavender Rosemary is perfect for a summer shower in the lake, or just to stay smelling fresh on hot, humid days. And because no natural line of products is complete without a gluten-free option, Green Beaver offers gluten-free shampoo (we are as confused as you are).


We have holistic nutrionist and owner of Joyous Health Joy McCarthy to thank for this great find. Her favourite product (and one we plan on buying) is RMS lip2cheek. Essentially a lipstick and blush in one, this convenient beauty product combines hydration, protection and mineral colour for a casual, simple look. Another great product they have is a cream eye shadow. We recently fell in love with cream eye shadow for it’s foolproof application and lasting power, so bonus that we’ve found a natural option!

Pure Anada
Made in Canada, Pure Anada has a great selection of completely natural makeup products and brushes. From foundation to tinted moisturizer to eyeliner, there is a product to suit every makeup need.

Nail Polish

We were delighted to find out that Zoya nail polish is toxin-free! We have used many of their 300 colours (and four seasonal collections) in the past and will be using them a lot more now. They also have a great 3-in-1 nail polish remover that is gentle on nails and smells like lavender.

Priding themselves on being “the cleanest nail polish on the planet”, Suncoat is water-based and available in over 30 colours. They also sell a completely natural nail polish remover, so while there aren’t as many colour options as most conventional nail polishes, this polish and remover combination is extremely gentle on your nails. 

While we’ve only listed a couple products from each brand, many have entire lines of natural products. So if you try their shampoo and love it, why not see what their moisturizer is like?


Rants and Raves: DIY Spa Services

If you’ve been reading our blog long enough, you know by now that we enjoy pampering ourselves every now and again (more now than again in some cases).
We don’t however, enjoy paying astronomical amounts of money for things that we can easily attempt to do ourselves, or at least modify to fit our needs.
With that in mind, we decided to have a girl’s night in to try out some of our all time fave DYI spa treatments. Be warned, some of these are so ridiculously easy to replicate, you may give up on going to the spa.
The Beach Look
Are you tired of frizzy hair that has no shape during the summer months? We’ve got the solution for you. This hair treatment will leave your hair looking like you just spent a day at the beach, sans sand in your knickers or scorched skin.
½ cup of water
2 ½ tbsp of sea salt (kosher salt will do the trick too)
1 tsp of your go-to hair gel
Mix ingredients in an empty spray bottle, and spray freely to very damp hair. Don’t brush through, instead use your fingers to comb through your hair.
Once done, scrunch to form curls, or leave it be and let dry naturally. Voila! You’ll be rocking some serious beach hair in the city.

Kate Hudson rocking her signature look.
Foot care
Most people tend to have dry feet, which is especially true during the summer months. Walking around in sandals also leads to dirt making a home on your feet, leaving them feeling dry and rough. To aid this uncomfortable and unappealing dryness, we really dig this recipe.
½ cup of moisturizing lotion
½ cup of moist sand (a little bit from a local sandbox will do, or a good excuse to go to the beach)
5 drops of essential oil. Your choice of scent, we love adding lavender or orange.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and apply from mid calf to your feet. You have to make sure to get the scrub in between toes and around your heels to ensure you are exfoliating your skin as much as possible.
Rinse, use a towel to pat dry, then let air-dry. Once skin is fully dry, moisturize again using a creamy body lotion. Anything thick and with shea butter will work beautifully.

We love sand in our toes. Just not dry feet.

Because the sand is a little rough on your skin, we recommend this foot/leg treatment no more than three times per month. Be careful not to scrub off too much skin.
Skin care 
This tip comes to you courtesy of one of our Grandma’s. She’s got beautiful skin, so we are vouching in the name of tradition and family-tested tips.
2 tbsp of body moisturizer
1 tsp of sugar – brown or white will work. Brown sugar is a little coarser, so just be careful if you have sensitive skin. Tip: If your skin is really sensitive, Grandma recommends using oatmeal. If you do so, double up on all ingredients to allow the oatmeal to soak up the moisturizer.
1 tiny drop of lavender oil (it will add a bit of scent and some natural oil)
Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Apply to skin thoroughly, and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse, and pat dry, then let air-dry. Your face will be silky smooth.
If you want to try this recipe as a facial cleanser, substitute regular moisturizer for facial moisturizer, use white sugar or oatmeal anvoilàyou have yourself an exfoliating facial.

This is what we looked like when we had our home-spa party. 

Hope these at-home treatments are as much fun for you as they were for us.
Do you have more DIY spa tips? Tweet us @rockitpromo.

Media, Darling: Paul Aguirre-Livingston

Paul Aguirre-Livingston is an editor with Viva magazine, a women’s health and lifestyle publication distributed primarily though Loblaw and its affiliates, and Canadian Jeweller, a trade publication for the jewellery industry focused on design trends and business strategies. From producing 16 issues a year since 2008, to freelancing whenever he’s not knee-deep in copy, he works with way too many (mostly lovely) publicists daily from L.A. to Mumbai. He’s also very opinionated, as you’ll read. (Which we love him for!).

Twitter: @pliving

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
It all starts with a name. Every morning I go through my emails quickly (which can reach 200 to 250 daily, depending on the time of year) and flag ones from contacts I recognize. The best part, however, is that these people generally don’t need to pitch me because we’ve created a dialogue and they throw out ideas they think I might be interested in. If I don’t recognize a name, the subject line is equally as important. Because of our strong emphasis on health, your revolutionary new fat loss pills will probably do me (or, more importantly, my readers) no good.

Another way I get ideas or a great way to bounce ideas off me is to approach me in person at an event or chat me up if I swing by to one of your product launches or previews. I personally respond well to interpersonal communication that isn’t via phone or email (especially not the phone: I don’t have time to sit and chat randomly or extensively between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and if you do catch me, I’m probably only half-listening – sorry!). At this point, I’d probably be more receptive to a tweet asking for a chat (maybe it’s a generational thing).

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
I like people – and I like working with people – who embody these qualities (that, I’m swiping directly from H&M, where I worked once upon a time):
– Own Initiative;
– Teamwork;
– Being Straightforward;
– Fast Pace and Constant Improvement;
– Common Sense.

These points really do speak for themselves, and they’ve truly become pillars I try my best to work by.

Notably, I want to highlight teamwork and being straightforward. I have readers, you have a client; reps and editors need to remember to work together in the best interest of these people. Yes, you get client feedback, but I get reader letters, so this whole cycle isn’t even about us in reality. If either is unsatisfied or feels betrayed, you better believe we’ll hear about it. Being straightforward also means letting me know what the status is on a certain project, interview, photo request: don’t blow smoke in my face by not responding to my emails or telling me you’ll check and get back without actually getting back. That’s just common sense. 

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make? 

I seem to have either the best or the worst luck when it comes to dealing with PR professionals. We all make mistakes (myself, daily), yet I seem to run into these challenges most often:

1. Honesty. I appreciate honesty (some would say it’s synonymous with being straightforward). Sure, I like to share dual responsibility in the follow-up process, but when I do it twice and you still can’t give me a straight answer, chances are I’ll stop chasing you and probably take a break from working with you for a few issues. As embarrassing as this may be to admit, I was actually mislead by a rep about an annual event thrown by a very high-profile company that I feature regularly, only to find out that the agency had invited another editor in our office. When issues like these come to light, it makes everyone uncomfortable. The agency or the brand has every right to choose whom they want to invite, but we’re all adults here, there is absolutely no need to pretend “it’s not happening this year.” Not cool – and not professional.

2. Short-sighted. Yes, we all love blogs, bloggers and websites. But remember: I work for a magazine, and we try to work as far in advance as possible. If I’m running on schedule, then chances are something I ask you for today won’t appear in print for another two months. So that “now now now” attitude I see developing – and it is global, to some extent – needs to be toned down just a little bit.  

3. Recognizing opportunities. Further to my last comment, when it’s not online, some reps groan and drag their feet because you’re not one of the “big” magazines. I’ve actually been asked ridiculous questions like, “What value is it to us to have the magazine attend X event?” or “What coverage can we expect if we allow you to attend?”. Relax, you’re not planning the Met Gala. If I’m actually emailing you about something, then chances are I have my reasons and something has struck an interest. Regardless of whether I just tweet about it or give you a full-page feature, I try my best to absorb and make something useful out of everything I see or attend. For example, I was recently invited to the opening of a new event space. On the surface, it’s just another party and has no direct interest or coverage to the publications I write for. However, I was so taken with the space that, at time I’m writing this, it looks like we’ll be shooting our six-page fashion spread there for our winter issue.

4. Know an outlet’s brand and ask for information if you don’t. Get to know a publication’s (or a website’s) mission and readers before you pitch us or deem it not part of your “media strategy.” For example, when I started at Viva, I sent out a mass email to the reps I’d worked with and the good ones got back to me admitting they’d never heard of us and wanted to know more. In fact, we have a circulation of 220,000 copies across Canada in the country’s largest grocery chain – pretty substantial. The publication reaches consumers who wouldn’t normally pick up a Glow, Elle Canada or any of the other “big” publications for various reasons, but we feature a lot of the same things (in different ways), so they still get the same information without even realizing. Reps fail to recognize that, and I’m sure the same is true with various other outlets that aren’t household names.

What happened to that saying “all press is good press” – or is that just another “spin” invented by some rep?

Your pet peeve (pertaining to PR)? 

1. Yes, you’ve got to do the grunt work. Nothing annoys me more than receiving two (or four!) of the same press release. From time to time, it’s not a bad idea to go through your media list and update it, ensuring names, addresses and phone numbers are correct – and this includes deleting duplicates. I once got a package addressed to me at the right address, but saying that I was with Elle Canada. I’m sure there’s a bright-faced intern who would gladly go over these details for the chance at agency experience.

2. Know what is magazine-appropriate when it comes to images. If you don’t know what we mean when we say “high resolution, 300 dpi” you’re in trouble. Nothing is worse than getting a cheery “Here’s your image!” email only to find a 55KB attachment. Get real and get in the know. Also: no, shots with your digital camera of cheesy portraits on a couch (although high-resolution) will not work either. Think about the aesthetic and quality of any given magazine or simply ask yourself: “Would I submit this picture to Vogue?”.

3. Professional courtesy. Every new issue, I try my best to send a written note to the rep and a few copies of the magazine, especially if it’s something that took a lot of work or an (unfamiliar) agency I’m trying to build a better relationship with. The least you could do is send an email back acknowledging the package, particularly if I email you to see if you received it. The same goes when getting introductory emails from new editors or writers; it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge the fact that they’re reaching out to you and asking about your clients.

Doesn’t that make your life easier?

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?

Dear Editors: Let’s remember to acknowledge the PR Wins from time to time. These firms and their reps not only work hard to get our attention, but also work hard for us when they do. We’re not nearly as quick to share our gratitude and mutual success, as we are our disappointments or frustrations. (And why not give it some hashtag love: #prwins).

P.S. I’m happy this column exists. It’s important for us to talk constructively about an industry that we’re all a part of so that we can grow, evolve and continue to produce great things.