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    picture on how to layer skin care products for night time

    We get asked ALL the time, ” Is there a correct order to applying skin care? ” 

    Yep, there is!

    We cannot emphasis enough how super important it is to layer your skin care products correctly,  especially if your routine is as extensive as ours !

    Here’s why:

    1. Products won’t penetrate properly if the order is out of whack. If you’re putting water based or thin products on top of thick or oil based products, you’ve basically created a barrier and the thin products won’t be able to reach the essential layer of the skin to treat it!
    2. You may be causing harm to your skin or creating new skin ” issues”. Applying serums on top of oils could leave your skin dry and dehydrated, since not enough water is reaching your skin. If you’re applying oils or serums on top of your sunscreen, you’ve basically voided the sunscreens ability to protect you and you may be causing premature aging.

    Here’s the layering process we use for our night time routine, to ensure our skin is always radiant, healthy and free from pesky zits and blemishes ! Just remember, since everyones skin is vastly different you may not need to use all the products we’ve listed so adjust to meet your needs.

    OK? 🙂 


    picture on how to layer skin care products for night time

     1+ 2 Double Cleansing

    First cleanse is always a cleansing balm  to remove surface grime such as sunscreen, sweat, makeup, and other impurities that may have accumulated on the skin throughout the day. A  cleansing balm should have a good mix of anti-aging ingredients such as rose hip and açai fruit oils and should be free of parabens and formaldehydes. A cleansing balm comes in a solid form but when rubbed onto the skin transforms into a soft luxurious oil.

    Second cleanse ( hence why it’s called double cleansing) is always a water based cleanser that penetrates deeper into the pores to remove any dirt or bacteria caught in the pores. When using a water based cleanser, it’s best to cleanse for at least 60 seconds to ensure you are benefiting from the array of ingredients in the product. Don’t rush this step! 

    3 Exfoliating

    You should be exfoliating your skin at least 1-2 times per week to get rid of dead skin build up, oil and other impurities you may not be seeing in the mirror. Exfoliating also unclogs pores, smooths skin texture and enhances absorption of skin care products.

    Exfoliating really is the key to glow-y, luminous skin!

    There are two types of exfoliating products on the market: Chemical and Physical.

    Chemical exfoliating works from within pores to help loosen and remove dead skin cells, bacteria and other really gross stuff!

    Physical exfoliation uses grainy ingredients that slough off skin ( think back to early 2000 when EVERYONE was using St.Ives Apricot Scrub) . 

    We prefer to use chemical exfoliation every other day and only at night as the sun can irritate the skin. At times physical exfoliation is necessary when we notice our skin needs just a bit of extra T.L.C. that day !

    4 Toner

    We love toners over at Makeup By Maha Matar!  They really are a necessary addition to any routine and come with so many benefits;  restores your skin’s pH balance, is a great way to add active ingredients like retinoids, antioxidants and exfoliants to your existing products , and minimizes the look of pores! You do not need to wash off the toner, however,  you should let it dry before applying the next product. 

    5 Essence

    An essence is a cross between a toner + serum. Toners balance the skin, serums treat the skin and an essence product will hydrate/treat the skin. Essence products are super popular in Korean skincare and now have a massive following in the US and Canada. Korean essences usually contain an active ingredient that optimizes your skin’s natural cell turnover rate. A good trick we learned from our fave Korean website “SOKO GLAM” ; never apply the essence to a cotton pad as it’s fairly watery, instead, transfer the product to a spritz bottle and spray directly onto your face. Like toner, essences do not need to be rinsed off, however, should dry before applying the next product. 

    6 Serum

    Face serums are lightweight moisturizers that penetrate deeper to deliver active ingredients into your skin. Serums can boost the effects of other products you are using and tend to be pricier than other products because they can target specific concern and are full of powerful ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, and ceramides that deliver results. According to my fave online beauty site ” Into The Gloss” there are two types of serums:

    “You have the water-based serums and oil-based serums. Water-based serums go under the cream and they are so important. They nourish the inner layer of the skin because the molecule is very small so it penetrates. The oil-based serums (aka Face Oils)  go on top of the moisturizer because they have a bigger molecule. They’re supposed to keep the cream and whatever you put underneath moist during the entire day/night.”

    7 Eye Cream

    An eye cream is not really a necessity, however, can be beneficial if you use a product with a good mix of ingredients. We use eye creams that contain retinol or hyaluronic acid to combat the signs of aging .

    8 Treatment

    This is the step where you can treat specific concerns such as enlarged pores, wrinkles , and dark spots. You can use a product that contains, niacinamide, which is also an antioxidant, and treats pigmentation, wrinkles, acne, redness and dryness. Vitamin C for brightening, fading dark spots and even building collagen. Approach this step with caution as some ingredients do not mix well together so please ensure you research carefully.

    9 Retinol

    Retinol has been dubbed as a “miracle product in achieving youthful, radiant skin”. It’s a vitamin A derivative and works by increasing collagen production as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover.

    We wanted to highlight retinol as an individual step as there are so many questions surrounding this potent, active ingredient. We wanted to emphasize that you can use retinol after a moisturizer if your skin is extremely dry or even before a moisturizer as we have it listed. Retinol has been known to dry out the skin, so if you’re prone to dryness it’s a good idea to use after a moisturizer to prep your skin for reitonol.

    As well, many brands recommend you use a pea sized amount and only use it once to twice a week to start. Many skincare experts and doctors recommend you use Retinol at night as your skin can become uber sensitive to the sun. As well, it’s recommended that if you are using Vitamin C, then it’s best to use it in the morning and Retinol at night.

    Remember, these are active ingredients and if not used accordingly to manufactures instructions you can cause sever damage to your skin.

    10. Moisturizer

    A good rich moisturizer is an absolute necessity in a morning and night skin care regime! The well formulated moisturizer will boost hydration, prevent flaky skin from occurring, and creates a protective layer of moisture that hopefully lasts all day!

    11. Face Oil

    Oils are packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants. They penetrate the skin to protect and enhance while building a stronger lipid layer. We prefer to add a few drops of face oil in our moisturizer or serums. It’s super easy to go overboard with face oils, so use 3-4 drops max.

    With so many oils on the market,  how do you choose the correct one? This is another question we get asked a lot.

    Well here’s a quick rundown of oils:

    Agin Skin: Rose hip seed or Argan oil

    Dehydrated/dry skin: Argan, Jojob, Maracuja, or Marula oil (our fave!)

     Oily/acne prone skinjojoba, tea tree oil




    XO, MAHA


    9 Products That Will Get You Summer Sexy NOW!

    Summer Summer Sumertime, time to sit back and unwind…. Did you sing the song to the right beat? 🙂

    It’s that time of year again when the temperatures are high and days are long! I’m not complaining, I enjoy the sun rays on my skin and the good vibes that come with the season. July is when I start to feel that Summer is officially here in my hometown, so that’s
    usually when I start my search for beauty products that can transition me from Spring pretty to Summer sexy ! Everyone’s vision of sexy is different, of course, but my vision definitely includes iridescent soft skin, well manicured nails, long voluminous lashes and of course a killer smile! I thought why not share with all of you the products that make me feel amazing, sensual sexy, gorgeous …(you get the picture) in the Summer!

    This past year I started experimenting with tanning lotions because I wanted to deepen my already tanned skin. I have medium olive skin and I tan fairly easily but baking in the sun is a huge no-no, so I had to find another alternative to get my JLo’esque glow on! I really like the St.Tropez self tanning products as they are the only products that I’ve been satisfied with that offer a more natural and gradual looking tan. The Prep and Maintain moisturizer is the first step in preparing your skin for that sun kissed glow. The enhancing moisturizer also prolongs your tan and hydrates your skin.
    This is St.Tropez most popular tanning mousse. It’s to be used after the Prep and Maintain moisturizer. This mousse is very lightweight, streak free and simple to use. I’m a self tanning newbie and I didn’t find it complicated at all. St.Tropez products do not have that tanning salon smell that other tanning lotions have.The tanning mousse promises to give a streak free and natural looking tan. You will not look orange with this mousse and if you use it properly 
    you’ll experience a glowing tan for up to 10 days. It’s best to apply it with the St.Tropez tan applicator mitt to ensure you get a well blended tan.

    The good folks at Coppertone sent me this product to try out. The Clearly Sheer Face lotion is part of the new formulated line that  also includes lotion and spray for the body. I know what your thinking, how is sunscreen sexy? Well first let me tell you what isn’t sexy; sun spots and skin cancer! To protect yourself against the harmful sun rays, you need to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher, such as the Coppertone Clearly Sheer Face. It absorbs quickly into the skin and feels very light. I like that the formula will not clog my pores or cause breakouts and it’s specially formulated so it can be used on sensitive and acne prone skin. By taking a few minutes every morning to apply this sunscreen you’re well on your way in keeping wrinkles and dry patchy skin at bay. I was pleasantly surprised at how wearable this particular sunscreen was under my makeup. I didn’t experience any white cast on my face and when photographed wearing this sunscreen there wasn’t any flashback in the photos! If you want to see for yourself, check me out here ! I found out that Coppertone actually created this specific formula with women in mind to wear alongside their favourite makeup !It dries quickly to a matte finish and is so sheer and light you can actually mix it in with your foundation. As well, if you want to take a dip in the pool Clearly Sheer face and body offer 80 minutes of water resistant protection. 
    In recognition of their outstanding product Coppertone Clearly Sheer Face won Allure Magazines Best of Beauty award in 2015! After wearing it for 3 weeks straight I can defiantly see why it’s  a winner.

    During the Summer, I rarely wear foundation. Actually, I have been wearing foundation for the past 4 days but only because I’m reviewing a brand name foundation for the blog. If it wasn’t for the review I would be wearing this tinted moisturizer!.It glides on effortlessly because it’s a liquid formula but has a creamy texture and gives you a dewy finish. I love how it evens out my skin tone without “masking” my skin. The coverage is minimal with this tint and I LOVE this because I feel like my skin looks it’s best in the Summer months and I actually want to show it off! I don’t want to hide behind full coverage makeup. The Nars Pure Radiant tint will give you healthy looking skin but it will NOT cover imperfections. Another great tinted moisturizer that I LOVE to wear is this one.
    Lashes Lashes, Lashes!
     If you want to amp up the sultriness this Summer than invest in some lashes! Excessive Lash mascara gives you long, voluminous and and full lashes. The first time I used this mascara was at a recent night out with my husband and he actually commented that my eyes
    looked “bigger”!. I didn’t experience any smudging or clumping because of the heat that night but this is a Make Up For Ever mascara and these professionals know what their doing with pro-grade products! This is my go-to Summer mascara!
    Maybelline has once again come out with a winner! The Master Hi-Light Blush is a must in your makeup kit this Summer. Why? Well first off it doubles as a highlighter and blush. Yay! Cost savings!
    The soft milled powder feels creamy and applies like a dream. It’s buildable, meaning you can apply several layers until you reach your desired intensity without it looking cakey. It comes in 6 different illuminating combos. I’ve used Nude and Mauve! Mauve is by far my favourite!.Like I mentioned it can be used as a blush and a highlighter. As a highlighter it will not make you glow like a disco ball! That isn’t sexy to me ( my opinion only no need to be offended)! I apply the Nude shade above my cupids bow, at the high end of my cheekbones and temples. It gives me the right amount of highlight during the day and for night time I amp it up a bit with a few layers! As a blush, it offers a subtle fresh colour OR you can turn the heat up and layer it on!  All the shades can be worn with any skin tone. This product is gorgeous in daylight with the sun glistening on your skin. Side Note: Went to my local drugstore yesterday to pick up Pink Rose ( for the 2nd time now )but it still sold out the day it restocked!
    I received this stain in the shade “Energy Shot” as part of a gift that I won at an event. I wasn’t too thrilled with the colour as it was a bit too pale for my olive skin, but I was intrigued with the formula and the union of a lipgloss + lip stain. I ended up ordering “Preserving Passion” and “Long Live the Night”. I would categorise this product more of a stain rather than a lipgloss as the glossiness of a typical gloss (say that 5 times fast)wasn’t there, however the staying power of the stain is worth picking this product up! Because I wanted a bit more sultriness to my lips, I overlined   my lips a bit and added a coat of”Long Live The Night” and topped it off with a lipgloss. Wore it all night and received many compliments on it!
     A polished  manicure in the Summer is a must for me. Add a romantic hue to the nails,sandals, maxi dress,and a floppy brim fedora and you’re on your way to channelling the effortlessly styled Kate Hudson! I love wearing essie “spaghetti strap” because it’s a romantic pink peony colour that makes me feel girly and sweet! What nail colour do you reach for when you want to feel sultry and a bit wild?  Of course, classic red! I truly believe any red lipstick and fiery red nail polish can ignite a woman’s confidence, so no need to shy away from this powerful shade! Wear it with grit! I’ve been an essie lover since I first laid my eyes on their vast array of colours years back but lately I’ve been swooning over butter London nail lacquer. Come To Bed Red is one of their most suggestive names and is befitting of this gorgeous colour!

    Let’s talk about hair b.a.b.y! Let’s talk about you and me….
    I’m feeling really nostalgic while writing this post today. For all the millennial generation readers just ignore me! So I take great pride in removing every bit of hair , not on my head, off my body! I do it every 2.5 to 3 weeks. I like the feeling of having super smooth skin and I just feel so much better and cleaner.Ok, now I’ve shared a bit too much info but I told you I was going to share my secrets with you! I was sent the wax ready strips as a PR sample to try out and if I liked the product to write a post about my experience. What the good folks over at Nair don’t know is that this is what I’ve been using for a while now and this product is my go-to hair removal product. Because of my middle eastern decent, my hair grows really fast, I mean super lightning fast! I find the ready strips super easy to use as there is no need to warm up the product before use. The strips don’t dry out my skin at all and I don’t’ haven’t experienced any pain or discomfort when removing the strips(even in the most delicate areas but this may differ for each individual).The typical results last about 3-4 weeks. My results last about 2 weeks(remember super lightning fast hair growth)!. For the price point of the product you’re receiving 40 wax strips so you get a few sessions out of each box. If you compare Nair value vs salon value you’re spending $8 for half leg and bikini compared to half leg an bikini for the $70 at the salon(in Ontario). If your interested in trying the wax ready-strips, Nair has offered a $2 coupon on their site. I’ll link it for you here!

    What products do you use to get Summer sexy? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
    DISCLOSURE: The Coppertone Clearly Sheer Face lotion and the NAIR Ready-Wax strips were sent to me as a PR sample. I was not paid to discuss them in this post.The other products discussed were bought with my own funds. I am not affiliated with any brands discussed in the post and my opinions are my own.

    Part 1 : Summer Essentials – Skin Care Products

    Hi Beauties 🙂

    So I couldn’t decide what to write about for my first post!! Yes you read that right, this is my FIRST post on my blog and I’m so excited!! This blog has been a vision of mine for a very long time, but always found excuses to put it on the bottom of my TO DO list! Well this year I tossed that list out and made a new one……TO DO list for 2015….. get this darn blog up and running  🙂

    HERE WE GO………..

    Summer is just around the corner and I need to get my essential Summer products ready!!  I thought, why not share my list with ya all!  Instead of doing a long blog post, I wanted to break it down to 3 parts –  Skin Care – Makeup and Clothing /Accessories-.

    First Image is Summer skin care essentials that I constantly use and repurchase . The second image are Summer skin care essentials that I had heard so much about from other bloggers / friends and I wanted to find out what all the hype was about. Let’s just say I’ve been missin’ out on some awesome products.

    Keep reading to find out if you’ve been missin’ out too!

    Skin Care Products

    I have been using Paula’s Choice products for years now and I love them all,  especially the Daily Defense Moisturiser. It’s my every day moisturiser. It contains SPF 25 with protects your skin from sun damage. It’s lightweight and is loaded with Anti-Oxidants , so not only is it protecting your skin from sun damage, it’s also protecting your skin from other environmental stress factors. It’s lightweight and is best used if you have normal to dry skin. I would stay away from it if you tend to have oily skin.

    2.  Clarins Sunscreen for Face  SPF 50+

    I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear sunscreen!!! I have sunscreen in my moisturisers , my makeup and I also wear added sunscreen protection in the form of Clarins 50+ Cream.  This sunscreen is creamy and spreads really easily. It’s also provides broad-spectrum sun protection ( think anti-aging) and  works well for all skin types. This is the best, I would even say I found my HG of sunscreens!

    3. L’Oreal Sublime GLOW

    This product is unique in 2 ways . 1st way is because many people think of it as a full fledged tanning lotion… but it’s not. It’s supposed to be used everyday to give your skin gradual colour.  Sublime glow is a daily moisturiser to be used all over your skin, it’s enriched with mango butter , sweet almond oil and vitamin E. These ingredients condition and hydrate the skin. These ingredients work with you skins chemistry to give it a natural deeper tone and glow.The longer you use it, the more it enhances your natural skin tone. Don’t go thinking that your Snow White skin will look like supermodel IMANs’ skin after 2 weeks of use…it won’t!  It will , however , give you a nice gradual colour and glow 🙂 2nd reason this product is unique , is because it’s extremely hard to find it in Canada. Actually before Target closed down in Canada, that was the only place left where I could buy it. No other pharmacy that I have seen in Ontario sells it 🙁 When I travel to the Red, White, and Blue I stock up! I am not sure if L’Oreal is replacing this product therefore not restocking the shelves but if you do get your hands on it, give it a go… won’t be disappointed. If you want a similar product I would try This! I like This product and it does a good job.

    4. Avène Thermal Spring Water

    This is one of those versatile products that I love and you truly get your moneys’ worth. I use it to freshen up after a work out – a little spritz on the face and you look fresh and along with that natural work out flush , you have a nice glow. I, and many other makeup artists,  use it to set makeup. I’ve used it on clients and they love it. I’ve used it after shaving to calm any redness I may experience on my legs and underarms. After long flights, I use it to freshen up my skin so I don’t look tired. I know some ladies that have super sensitive skin use this product to calm their skin if they have been in the sun too long…as it’s used to calm and hydrate the skin quickly.  Love it! Love it! Highly recommend it for the upcoming Summer! If you can’t find this product at your local drugstore or department store you can try This .

     Skin Care Products

    1. Tarte Amazon Clay BB Tinted Moisturiser

    Tarte is an amazing brand. I would say I love 80% of their products and this one is at the top of my list. It’s a BB cream so it falls into skin care category but because it adds a bit of colour to your face it also can be considered makeup.  For those new to BB creams, it’s a moisturiser that hydrates, primes, protects, and camouflages your skin. Simply put it’s a foundation and moisturiser in one! Being a busy mom with 3 kids and a full time job I never  sometimes don’t have the time for my usual skincare/makeup routine ( post coming soon!!!) so I depend on BB creams to hydrate my skin and give me a bit of  coverage and colour. If you are a full coverage kind of gal, this won’t work for you. This is a lightweight oil free moisturiser ( think Summer heat!!) so it won’t clog your pores. I love that it also contains SPF. I first used this product when I took the kiddies out for a picnic. I was really impressed by the longevity of it and how it gave my skin even coverage. I don’t need to wear full coverage foundation but I still need a bit of coverage , so BB creams are life savers to me. The price point on the Tarte BB cream can be a bit steep so if your looking for an alternate BB cream, try my other favourites , Here and Here

    2. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser

    I never wear foundation without a primer,  NEVER EVER EVER. I’m extremely loyal to my Benefit
    The POREfessional primer on myself and my clients until……I ran out and needed primer for a client. I couldn’t‘ make it to Sephora so I ran to my local drugstore and grabbed  the Maybelline Baby Skin. Wow ! I was blown away. It’s really silky and it definitely blurs the pores away giving you smooth skin. Plus you can’t complain about the price! I still love my Benefit The POREfessional primer but in the summertime I’ll defiantly be switching to Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Eraser.

    Am I the only person in the beauty world that never tried these wipes before 2015? I just never knew they existed. I know, I know, what kind of makeup artist am I!!!! I honesty have been loyal to the Kirkland brand makeup remover wipes. I was stole from my sisters room gifted the MAC makeup remover wipes and I never looked back at my Kirkland brand. According to M.A.C, these wipes are
    “Over sized, luxurious, super-saturated with special M·A·C cleanser infused with protective vitamin E. Hydrates and nourishes highly efficiently. Extremely refreshing. Totally addictive. Slickly packed, re-sealable, ready to go!..” and I AGREE!!! LOVE THEM! One swipe and the makeup is off. They ARE over sized and do not tear if your a bit rough with your face taking the makeup off. You don’t have to wait for Summer time to use these babies, use them all year round! 
    Where have you been all my life! If you know me you know I love a good body scrub. I use my Clarasonic religiously in the shower for all over body cleansing and I never found a great body scrub, until I was gifted,  I didn’t steal it from my sister, the BLISS Lemon- Sage Body Scrub. I LOVE the smell. It wakes me up in the morning. You’re supposed to use this as a pre-shower scrub , meaning you can use it dry on your skin but I don’t like the way that feels so I use it with water. It exfoliates really well due to the small scrubbing beads. I like to exfoliate ( so important ) my body at least twice a week to promote new skin cell growth and ensure there isn’t dead cell build up on my skin! It’s time for me to repurchase this product , but I was a bit hesitant due to it’s price point, however,  I really love how my skin feels after I use it so I will buy it again as a treat for myself, but if you are being economically conscious these days, try THIS
    I hope you’ve enjoyed my very FIRST post! Stay Tuned for Part 2 : Summer  Essentials : Makeup
    Please leave me a comment if there are any products or beauty topics you would like me to blog about. 
    Don’t forget to check me out and follow me on Instagram : @MakeupbyMahaMatar 

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