Each season I try loads of  new beauty products, some of them I hate, some of them I like enough to finish that one purchase, and others I love and would be willing to purchase all over again!  Vasanti  Cosmetics is one of those brands that has become a personal favourite.  Contrary to popular belief, Vasanti Cosmetics is a brand aimed at women of all ethnicities in every skin tone.  The brand is popular with South Asian  women because its founders are of South Asian descent, however their foundations, lipsticks, shadows and the like come in a range of shades and formulas for ALL SKIN TONES!  With affordable prices and great quality Vasanti should become  a part of your beauty bag too.

Here are my faves:

1. Face Base in V4

Vasanti Face Base in V4

The Face Base Oil-Free Powder Foundation in V4, $25.00, is a part of my daily beauty regimen, the colour matches my skin and feels light on my face despite its even coverage. The powder is available in 10 shades, so no matter what you’ll find your perfect match.

2. Sweden Ultra-Luxe Lipstick with Peptide Technology

Lipstick in "Sweden"

This ultra rich lipstick is a nude pink that is great to wear every day because the shade goes great with so many things! I fell in love with Sweden, $15.00, when makeup artist Kavita Suri used it on me on my wedding reception this past September. From then on it has stayed in my purse!  The lipstick’s main ingredient is Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, which helps  increase lip volume, reduce the appearance of fines lines and smooths the lips surface so you’ll be doing your pout some service when wearing it!

3. Lip Liner in Thames

Lipliner in "Thames"

Thames Ultra Creamy Pencil is a lip liner that  doesn’t feel dry when applied. Again, this is a nude pink with a hint of brown so it is a daily favourite as well.  For only $13.00 you can’t go wrong.

As some of you might already know, I wrote an article entitled The Beauty Blogosphere in the September/October issue of Anokhi Magazine, the awesome South Asian publication that I just recently joined as Junior Beauty Editor.

When the Beauty Editor, my boss Denise Wild (also the founder of The Sewing Studio and Love Sewing Magazine), assigned the article she advised me on the importance of balancing South Asian Beauty bloggers with mainstream beauty blogs that had a strong presence online. Together the two of us decided I should interview Janine Falcon, founder of Beautygeeks.

Being a South Asian woman I still find Beautygeeks a really informative, engaging and fun read.  After all, you don’t have to be South Asian to be featured in a South Asian mag or blog, you just need to be informative to the audience in  question!  Janine was a pleasure to interview for the article and she was also happy to help me out with this post.

Check out my Q&A with Janine!

As a former magazine editor for Canadian Living and Homemakers what made you start thinking about getting on the online blogging bandwagon?

I never thought of blogging as a bandwagon I was hopping onto. At the time beauty blogging was relatively new in Canada. I know, it’s weird to give it geographical boundaries, but at the time there was only a handful of Canadian-run sites who had established themselves (Lipstick Powder n Paint, Canadian Beauty and Sugar Shock Beauty). I knew only of Lipstick Powder n Paint, but I’d read a little about the growing blog pool in the US.

That said, what really drew me to the blogosphere was how much fun I’d been having doing quirky status updates on Facebook, back when the update format forced users to work around an “is” construct, as in, “JANINE FALCON is….” The challenge to write something complete and amusing within that construct was irresistible for me. It also made the idea of blogging relevant to me — stat updates are mini blogs.

What is a beauty geek? Where did the idea of beauty geeks originate?

I’ve referred to myself as a beauty geek for years. I’ve always been a geek for all kinds of details, from application techniques to ingredients to how some products are uncannily similar to how others are unique. I’m interested in the stuff about beauty that make other folks’ eyes glaze over. Most beauty editors with a passion for their work are like that.

In 2009 P&G awarded you with the best beauty blog, describe that experience and how it might have made a difference for you as a beauty blogger and beauty expert.

I have to clarify that in fact the award was given by a panel of industry judges unaffiliated with P&G. The company’s name is on the plaque, but they don’t make the decision on who gets one. That’s important to note because a prize is worthless if it appears to be in exchange for some kind of payoff.

Winning a P&G Beauty Award for Best Fashion or Beauty Blog was a huge surprise. I was in very good finalist company. Second, it was a huge surprise! The thing about doing your own thing is that you have to trust your own instincts every step of the way — there is no boss to tell you you’re doing well or to give you an encouraging raise. You work really hard 24/7 and hope you’re hitting the mark at least most of the time, fingers crossed. Taking home an award given by a team of industry experts, most of whom you don’t know, have never met, is brilliant encouragement not only to keep doing what you’re doing, but in fact to do it better and better. (No pressure.)

From the other side of the computer screen, I think the award boosted BeautyGeeks’ credibility. After all, specifics regarding who bestowed it aside, an award from a juggernaut industry leader is a sign that says “Hey, we take this seriously. Just sayin’.”

What credentials or knowledge do you have to be writing about beauty and to be a beauty authority online?

I’ll tell you what I generally look for from the sources I trust, whether online, in print or in conversation:

1) Critical thinking.

I need to know the person sharing information is thinking for herself, truly evaluating something on its actual merits and even doing a bit of research rather than blindly accepting or regurgitating whatever the press material says or endorsing it because a) she got it for free and/or b) it’s pretty.

2) Context.

There can be no real evaluation of something if you don’t know what came before it and what else out there might be similar (or exactly the same). Take waterproof mascara. We all know it’s been around for ages. So how much value would you place on a review from a person who thinks the new release she just tried is the first waterproof mascara ever and is therefore groundbreaking beauty technology? Context.

3) Access to credible experts.

Where’s your information coming from? If you’re getting quotes on acne treatment from a doctor known for her research and knowledge on the subject, great. If you’re getting the information from BuyCheapZitStuffHere.com, not so much.

4) A good handle on the language.

I’m a beauty geek, yes, but I’ve been a grammar geek for much longer. Competent writing skills are key to getting a point across clearly and correctly. I can handle errors such as “it’s” in place of “its,” “your” instead of “you’re,” and “alot” instead of “a lot” a bit better now thanks to the very funny hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com. But such mistakes, as well as repeated misspellings and faulty punctuation, are still rather an insurmountable turn off. Not for everyone, but definitely for me.

How have your previous experiences as a magazine style editor and makeup artist helped you in running your website?

As an editor, I became familiar with the industry, learned how to produce stories, met key sources of expert information, made valuable contacts and absorbed a huge amount of beauty-related information I would not have had access to otherwise. I also made wonderful friends who have offered unwavering support — that’s so important. My experience as a makeup artist fuels my interest in cosmetics and techniques gleaned from the talented artists I’ve met and continue to meet.

If you had one piece of advice for other beauty bloggers still making their name online out there what would it be?

Be real.

As a beauty blogger what kind of impact do you think bloggers are making in the beauty industry for consumers and average women?

The same as a friend who shares your beauty loves and challenges. She has an opinion and advice you can appreciate.

Name one of the most satisfying aspects of being a beauty blogger that motivates you  to keep imabeautygeek.com going when you are going through a stressful time.  


Well, it’s fun!

What is the most memorable story in relation to your experience as a beauty blogger or a specific post you’ve done that you would like to share?  It can be about a specific interview you did, a challenge you overcame, or a post that caused a lot of discussion etc.

Honestly it’s the dorkiest thing. I had an opportunity to interview Chris Noth and take a buddy photo with him. A number of people commented that they were to Photoshop themselves into the image in my place. I thought that was a great idea, so I turned it into a contest and had readers vote on their favourite “Photoshop yourself with Chris Noth” entry. See? Fun!

What does beauty mean for Janine Falcon?


As a young girl, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

A grown-up.

Who has been a role model or mentor in your life that has motivated you to become the Janine Falcon you are today?

I don’t think I should blame anyone for that. *grin*

PSSST, if you liked this post, you may want to check out my feature article in Anokhi’s September Fashion and Style Issue. Read it online, or better yet buy a print copy and check out my beauty trend report featuring some of the hottest beauty looks from the fall runways.

This is what is looks like, for easy finding on the newsstand!


Cultural beauty is seen at its best when you learn about rituals, belief systems, clothing, food and the history of a group of peoples. But the wacky side usually comes out when you look into the superstitions of a culture (no offence intended, after all I am Punjabi I can make fun of myself right?). Born and raised into a Sikh Punjabi family, I’ve had my share of “OMG are you for real?” moments when a random auntie, or better yet, my mom informs me of things I should or should not do, simply because somewhere back in the day someone decided it was bad luck.

The irony of most superstitious beliefs is that they often go hand in hand with some religious beliefs. Although I don’t believe this, some atheists or opponents of organized religion view a belief in a higher power as a mere “superstition” that provides humanity with a false reason to justify their being. My opinion: God is a big deal and since I’ve been raised in a Sikh family the religion actually provides me with meaning and explanation for most things in life, but of course others can think as they feel.

A majority of superstitious beliefs were created in order to fight a societal fear or powerful group within a community that the leaders in question wanted to keep in check. For example, in the Victorian period widowed women were deemed as outcasts in English society and in some accused of being witches. Once their husband passed on she became financially in charge of his estate, finances and property. These newly independent women caused  much anxiety for the patriarchal legal system, often resulting in these women being ostracized by those in power.

But on a more light-hearted side, I also just think a lot of fed-up mom’s with undisciplined children created these sayings in order to crack the whip and discipline their children from misbehaving.

A classic example of my second hypothesis that I was told as a child by my grandmother:

“Don’t rattle your keys at night, its brings negative energy in the home!”

This was usually told to me as a child as my grandmother had a look on her face that I was clearly disturbing the higher spiritual order and risking harm to my personal safety with my key jingling.

My translation: “My child is being a pain and keeps jingling keys, while people are trying to relax and sleep, so yes I am going to instil some good old fear into her.” Okay I know this is a bit extreme, especially because I was one of the favourite grandchildren to my Nanni, but I am thinking of a really disgruntled and exhausted mother who just wants to go to bed.

Women as community leaders and creator’s of belief systems

All of this has led me to come to the conclusion that the ancestry of women is really important to the identity of a cultural group, because no matter how outlandish a superstition appears to someone (either a member of the group like myself, or a cultural outsider) at the end of the day, those superstitions become a part of a larger belief system that governs the rituals, special occasions, and important moments of an individual person’s life. And lets face it they are called “old wives tales” for a reason, women are a source of wisdom, authority and oral history in most cultural groups.

SAS’s List of Punjabi Superstitions

That being said, here are some superstitions I’ve grown up with; some outlandish, some beautiful and some that I stand by myself:

  1. A black crow outside your house means you will be getting guests to your home.
  2. Don’t wear white on happy celebrations. White in South Asian culture is worn at funerals and is symbolic of mourning.

  3. If you are a woman and your right eye flickers, it’s a bad omen. For men, the left eye means bad things are coming your way.
  4. Don’t step on books, they are sources of knowledge and givers of wisdom, so they should be respected and cherished.
  5. Don’t play with money. In the Sikh religion gambling is also considered a taboo.
  6. Don’t sweep the floor or do the laundry on the same day after a happy occasion in your home. You’re sweeping away your joys by doing so. Enjoy the moment.
  7. “Achoo.” You just sneezed, now you can’t leave the house right away, it’s a bad omen!

Do you have any cultural superstitions to share? I’d love to hear about them and your thoughts on them, is the belief you shared ridiculous or simply another representative of cultural beauty?

My Bridal Makeup Trial and a Short Q&A with Award Winning Makeup Artist Kavita Suri

Photo courtesy Kavita Suri Spa

How long have you been working as a professional makeup artist and where did you receive your training?

Gosh, I feel like I am aging when I think about “how loooong” I have been working as a professional. At the same time, I will let you know how long I have been working professionally.  I have come a long way, I have been a professional for 13 years. There I said it!
As a make-up artist the word artist is really what it is for me. I was self taught and love the field that I am a part of  because I am constantly creating, whether it be with my bridal clients, teaching and educating others, or marketing my business.

When creating a look for a bride, what do you take into account?

Bridal make-up is my forte, especially makeup for Indian brides. The colours and outfits I get to work with are  inspiring and  so much fun.  I can play up colors with the eye make-up and lips…it’s allowed.

The top three things I take into account are:

1) What the bride WANTS,
2) Her Outfit, and
3) Her personality.

What made you pursue a career in the beauty industry?

Nothing really “made” me pursue my career in the beauty industry. Honestly, it was a journey with trials and successes. It is true, when you love what you do nothing else matters. I just kept on going and I’ve been very blessed with all that I currently have in my life and all the people that show their love and support. I couldn’t be more THANKFUL. ( I sound like I am giving a speech at the Grammy’s, smile).

Name one of your achievements that you are the most proud of or currently excited about?

2010 has been a whirlwind and we are half way through the year, I wonder what God is planning next for me. If it has to be one achievement: I have dreamed of being a role model for girls that always wanted to be a make-up artist! You can do it, it really is possible. You just have to believe in yourself and have the right people around you to support you through it.

Tell me a little about the Kavita Suri Beauty Academy:

It was time for me to share my experience artistically as a Make-up Artist, therefore I started Kavita Suri Beauty Academy in 2008 which allows me to professionally train and certify individuals to enter into the field with confidence. The training is scheduled within 2 weeks with a photo shoot. The best part: it’s  one -on- one, so the student really gets the special attention they need to mprove their skill.

I was approached by the owner of Toronto Aesthetics & Hair Academy this June to provide my professional training with their academy. I was very honored and excited, so of course I accepted with a BIG SMILE. From this Fall onwards, I will be training at both their Scarborough location and their new Brampton location. Of course, my one-on-one training is still available at the Yorkville location.

So ladies sign yourself up if you know you have a make-up artist in you!

How does Kavita Suri define beauty?

To me beauty is what you have inside, your personality and the way you live on a daily basis. It’s not how light your skin is, or how full your lips are, it’s about your beautiful personality.

What is your must-have beauty product that you carry with you all the time?

My must-have is Tahiti Tinted Lip Balm by Vasanti Cosmetics. The perfect trendy chap stick with a hint of color.

As a young and successful entrepeneur, what advice would you give to other young women and girls trying to make it out in the beauty industry?

The first piece of advice that came to my mind when I read this question is “keep your head up.” This industry can be very challenging if you don’t have the right direction. If you know where you want to be in 5 years then keep at it and eventually you will get there.

Anything special you’d like to share with readers of SAS?

I wanted to thank you SAS for doing this piece on me and I wish your blogging adventure to be a continual success.

Thank you Kavita for being the amazing woman you are and taking the time to do this for SAS! Your work and success continues to inspire and motivate other South Asian women to follow their dreams. Make sure you check out her website Kavita Suri Spa and interested brides book her now for your big day! You won’t be disappointed.

If you are a bride who needs some convincing, here’s the beautiful job Kavita did for my makeup trial for my upcoming wedding reception:

Here is the look that I was inspired by from a bridal magazine and here is the jewellery and blouse I'll be wearing at the reception!

Kavita applying air brush makeup

The End Result: Kavita and I were ecstatic, I love it! Be sure to check out my blog after the wedding at the end of September!

How not to look like a washed out hippy when you grow-out your hair

Recently I wrote an article for 29secrets.com on tips for growing out your hair.  I was honoured to interview celebrity stylist  Stuart Phillips from the UK. With over 15 years of experience, Phillips has styled hair for big names in the entertainment business including Ivana Trump, Serena Williams, Jean Christophe Novelli, Suzanne Shaw, David Hasslehoff, Ana Ivanovic and Jean Claude Van Dam!

The idea for the article came from my own personal experience (or shall I say struggle!) with growing out my hair for my wedding, which takes place this September! After struggling with anti-frizz treatments during the humid weather this summer in Toronto and experimenting with time saving hairstyles, this topic really interested me.

So for all of you ladies thinking about growing out your locks, here are some tips from an expert in the beauty biz before you decide!


Beauty Review on 29Secrets.com

Want to know how to make your blow-out last longer?  Check out my review for the Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Blow Dry Perfection Smoothing Kit on 29Secrets.com

This is what the Garnier Blow Dry Kit looks like once you take it out of the packaging: instructions, two tubes of product, and plastic gloves are provided. I used the wide tooth comb for even application.

As you’ll learn when you read the review I tried out the kit right before  my weekend in NEW YORK with my girls for my bachelorette! It was scorching humid, we melted! But my hair did pretty well due to the Garnier  kit.

Here are some pics to prove it:

Day 1:
This is right when I blow dryed my hair and hadn’t flat ironed it yet (keep in mind my hair is super curly so it take a lot of effor to get it this smooth.

The Garnier Blow Dry kit results after blow drying.

Then this is what I looked like when it was  flat ironed, we were doing a pre-wedding ceremony at my fiance’s house, so I am rocking the desi in me!

Day 2:
The next evening in NYC after we survived a day of sightseeing in the big apple in the rain and humid hair. Considering the craziness my hair looks pretty smooth (I didn’t rewash it before we went out because I wanted to truly test the kit).

Day 3:
The next morning (Saturday) I was dead tired, so I just swept my hair into a side braid. And despite the usual loose strands that come with a side braid my hair resisted the frizz factor well. You can see for youself in this group shot (the tank tops were a cute surprise – my friends and sister bought them and surprised me that morning with the bride top).

Posing on 5th Avenue in front of Tiffany & Co in the hot sun

The kit also says that you can change from  curly to straight styles easily without having the smoothening serum affect how the curl is held in your hair. So for Saturday night I wore it with waves, this is what it looked like. They held very well too.

Loose waves for the nigt out in NYC with the ladies!

Day 4:
The last day of the trip due to a late night of dancing  my hair was in a pony tail, but it was still easy to stretch out my hair when I blow dryed my hair the next time. Check out my review to hear the deets on the blowdry kit now.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve tried Garnier’s Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine Blow Dry Perfection Smoothing Kit!

Congratulations Farah Bolalia of Facesbyfarah.com, you are the official winner  of the  Annabelle and Marcelle Starter Kit! Be sure to check out Farah’s blog, she’s a professional makeup artist and wonderful beauty blogger.

To get my winner excited here’s a quick snap shot of the products you’ll be enjoying:

The Contest Goodies from Annabelle and Marcelle

These products are mine of course, our friends at Annabelle and Marcelle will be sending out the goodies to you in the mail, so please be sure to send me your mailing address.

For all other contenders, thanks for  your readership, I sincerely appreciate your support. Stay tuned for another contest sometime this month sponsored by Shoppers!

Stay Informed and In the Know at South Asian Sensation,

Follow me on Twitter @PreetsD

So most of you know that I am currently planning my wedding with my fiance, keeping that in mind I was inspired to write this article for 29Secrets.com where I discuss the main factors a woman should consider before she says yes to her long-term love when he pop’s the question. This one is dedicated to my one and only, soon-to-be husband Raj.

Check out my article “Is He Marriage Material” on 29Secrets.com, who knows maybe it will help make you realize your current man is really THE ONE.

So apparently everyone wants to add more oomph to their lips, although I have never really felt driven to buy a lip plumping gloss on my own, when Annabelle and Marcelle sent me their lip plumping glosses for reviews I’ll admit I was a bit excited as I always wondered what the deal was with lip plumpers.

Does this stuff really work?

First off, all beauty buffs and makeup addicts should know that lip plumping glosses do not have a permanent lip plumping effect – to get that you’d have to get collagen shots and all that scary cosmetic surgery stuff EEK! Lip plumping glosses work by temporarily swelling the lips through  ingredients such as capsacian, which cause a tingly feeling.  At the same time other lip plumpers contain  ingredients that hydrate the lips, therefore the swelling occurs because the hydrating ingredients attract the build up of moisture in the lips. However, when the gloss comes off, so do all signs of plumping. In my opinion, this is okay as that’s the job such products are supposed to do. If you expect anymore from a volumizing lip gloss then you are asking for unrealistic results!

To cut to the chase here are my product reviews!

Annabelle’s Volume Lip Plumping Gloss vs. Marcelle’s Vita Lip Plumping Gloss

                LEFT: Sweet Tweet Swatch                     RIGHT: Cherry Coke Swatch  

The lip plumper's squeeze tube: a little tough when applying to the lips

As you can see to the right, of the two colours sent to me, Sweet Tweet – a milky baby pink- just wasn’t ideal for my skin, since you can’t see it much on my hand. But that’s okay- I am sure other women may like the shade!

If you are feeling adventurous I would definitely recommend the <font color="blue"Cherry Coke– it’s a fun vibrant red that isn’t as scary to use if you aren’t used  to a lot of colour on your lip because of the glossy texture. The sheered out colour is still concentrated, but not IN YOUR FACE as a MATTE finish red.

One thing I didn’t love was the packaging of this product: the tube is really stiff and so to get enough of the gloss on your lips it takes a while. For someone like me who often applies my lip gloss as I am walking on the street- it just takes too long! But, GOOD NEWS apparently Annabelle is looking into revamping the tube so its more flexible and easier to apply!

Here’s how the Annabelle lip plumping gloss looked on:

I’ll admit I am not too enthusiastic about posting such a large closeup  of myself,  but  this way you’ll know what the RED TINT actually looked like on my brown skin.  So excuse all visible “beauty glitches” – it was about  6:40am when I snapped this shot above back in JUNE  before work and since it was a bad-curly-hair day,  I got lazy and just slicked it back. You be the judge of if the product is worth a try for you. The formula’s thicker consistency allowed the gloss to stay on for a while, it felt a sticky when on, but I really liked the tint. I am not sure that it made a really big difference on the size of my lips because it didn’t tingle.  Feel free to also check out Anjali Handa’s review of the Annabelle Volumizing Gloss in Sweet Tweet on her blog Rock that Look!

This is what the VITA-LIP GLOSS looks like on:

I really liked the VITA-LIP PLUMPING  GLOSS for three reasons:

1) Its a pretty neutral peachy-pink shade called Organza that goes with everything and  is flattering for most shades of skin,

Swatch of Vita-Lip Plumping Gloss in ORGANZA, catches the light so beautifully!

2) The formula is super moisturizing and since my lips chap easily I LOVE that,

3) The gloss actually made my lips look more poutier, the glossy texture and shine reflects a lot of light and the tingly feeling is slight so its not irritating like some harsher formulae that may cause peeling of the lips in the long run. I now carry this gloss in my purse daily! Plus, the squeeze tube is very use to use when applying to the lips. So if you need a reasonably priced plumping gloss for your next hot date, or a dinner with friends the VITA-LIP PLUMPING GLOSS is a choice for you to consider.

As you can see above, Chatelaine’s beauty editors loved this gloss in 2009, so it must be worth it!


Enter to win an awesome Annabelle and Marcelle Starter Kit with $45 worth of beauty goodies. Check out my contest details and who know’s maybe you’ll be sporting KISSABLE LIPS without the surgical scaries when you WIN! Today is the LAST DAY of the contest, so ENTER NOW!

In June I had an awesome beach vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico at the Riu Palace Pacifico.

Here are the must have items that I think any girl or woman should pack when heading south for some sun!

1. Vichy’s Capital Soleil Sunscreen Cream SPG 60 with Mexoryl XL and other sunscreen filters. Although some darker skin beauties may believe they don’t need sunscreen, the higher levels of Melanin in brown and black skin mean we are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Vichy’s SPF 60 helped me get the right amount of colour and didn’t feel greasy on my skin.

2. My awesome HUGE grey-blue sun hat that I scored for only $16.99 at Winners, get a true hollywood glam beach look with a hat like this, oversized shades and a floral one-peice bathing suit with a cutout back and roushing on the sides. Add on short frilly skirt for when you are out of the water or grabbing some lunch for a complete look!

3. Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: A great beach read is always key for the days you don’t feel like being active on the beach or in the pool. This classic girl-book by Austen was just the thing I needed on the beach since the waves in the Pacific were too intense for me to swim in the ocean!

4. Dior’s Sunset Cafe Palette 440: For obvious reasons I don’t wear makeup during the day on beach vacations, but for dinner and evenings out a warm and neutral palette complements your new tan. This 5 colour eyeshadow palette by DIOR allows you to create more playful sun kissed looks or bolder dark eyes because of the mix of gold, deep browns, and shimmery pinks.

Well those are my must haves for your next beach vacation!

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