The trouble with “young and beautiful”

What’s up with our fixation on female youth?

Three years ago, I was terrified to turn 18. Now with my 21st birthday approaching, I’m completely unbothered. In those three years, I’ve been able to unlearn what made me so afraid to get older. 

When I was 17, I was painfully aware of the fact that the world affirmed that this was the most desirable age to be. With songs constantly drilling lyrics like “Well, she was just seventeen/ You know what I mean” (“I Saw Her Standing There”) and “Young and sweet/Only seventeen” (“Dancing Queen”) into my mind, I easily jumped to the conclusion that the moment I turned 18, I would be deemed a spinster. In Lana Del Rey’s lyric, “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?” the two adjectives are fundamentally linked: young and beautiful must go together. 

This mentality is one we’re introduced to in early childhood. Disney is (as always) the main culprit: the heroine is the young and innocent princess, and the villain is the old witch who is jealous of her younger counterpart’s beauty. “By reinforcing this binary in popular culture, the media capitalizes on the association that old women are ‘bad’ and young women are ‘good’” writes Reese Martin in The Michigan Daily.  

Point-blank, this mentality is just creepy. The fixation on female youth is indicative of a massive psychological issue with what society considers desirable. Youth is linked to beauty partially because the innocence of youth is linked to naivety. In a male-gaze dominated society, it’s hard to overlook the fact that someone who is naive and demure is more malleable and obedient. Coincidence?

As always, women are held to a completely different beauty standard than men. Female celebrities are constantly scrutinized for aging like normal human beings, whereas male celebrities are applauded and revered for becoming “silver foxes” (gag). Female actresses also get phased out of film roles much faster than their male co-stars. When Maggie Gyllenhaal was 37, she was deemed “too old” to play the love interest of a 55 year-old man. This is because women are taught that their youth is intrinsically tied to their beauty, and their beauty is deemed to define their worth. 

Another aspect of the fear of growing old is the pervasive belief that these are the “best years of our lives.” Countless coming-of-age films affirm that these are the years we should be having unforgettable adventures, making life-long friendships, and falling in love. Supposedly, we’re in our prime. For women, this is especially ingrained due to the “biological clock” that dictates we must marry and have kids by a certain age.

On the contrary, life doesn’t have to follow this timeline. The whole notion of a “prime” is backward, as people are constantly evolving. Valuable experiences don’t have an expiry date, even if you do decide to “settle down.” Life is rarely so linear. 

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last three years: there’s no rush. I’m still young, and besides, getting older isn’t a bad thing. I’m not going to cater my self-worth and life trajectory to some twisted notion of what youth represents. The years will pass regardless—might as well embrace them. 


The controversy behind talc-based makeup

Talc-based makeup is not as dangerous as you think.

Have you ever thought that makeup might be potentially harmful to your health? Talc-based makeup products have raised safety concerns due to potential contamination with asbestos. The HBO Max investigative documentary Not So Pretty explores the danger of talc, a chemical ingredient found in most of our daily makeup products, and its link to cancer. 

The first episode on makeup introduced the sensational stories of two women—- Corrin Otillio, who believed that her makeup is contaminated with, and a mother who exposed Claire’s makeup for having asbestos in their kids’ makeup sets. 

Otillio sent all her makeup products to the laboratory after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma. The results showed that 10 out of the 25 products had traces of asbestos. Surprisingly, the directors of this episode invited lawyers and a journalist to support the case of Otillio, rather than having a cosmetic chemist and a toxicologist speak on this case and educate the audience on the potential risks of chemical ingredients in makeup.

I think that the documentary is clearly biased due to the lack of scientific evidence presented and their choice of experts. Another point that I find intriguing is that an episode that is strictly supposed to focus on makeup, was mostly spent talking about the case of Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder, a case that has way more solid evidence of causing harm than makeup.

India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner, a Concordia student in art history and studio arts, says “I have heard of talc being dangerous due to a Johnson & Johnson lawsuit, but I or anyone I know has never had any reaction to talc from makeup.”

A lot of women who have decided to eliminate talc from their makeup routine have been using TikTok as a platform to raise awareness, by posting videos of themselves throwing out their makeup products using #notsopretty. This shows how this documentary has successfully influenced much of its audience into buying clean beauty products. 

It is important to mention that at the end of the episode, there was a list of recommended applications that makeup consumers could download to scan their products and find out whether their ingredients are harmful. I find that the controversy over talc-based makeup products is just a marketing technique that clean beauty brands have implemented to make their way into a highly competitive market.

In reality, there hasn’t been enough evidence to prove that the level of talc in makeup products is high enough to cause cancer. This means that the anecdotes about women who blame their ovarian cancer or mesothelioma on makeup are just outliers. 

Besides, people who contract diseases from asbestos are those who work in construction sites or environments that contain high levels of asbestos particles. I think that Not So Pretty is a partial documentary that simply wanted to promote clean beauty products by capitalizing on makeup consumers’ fear of being diagnosed with cancer.

Girls, are you on-air ready?

Female broadcast journalists and their efforts to be noticed for their work

It turns out that the “effortless beauty” exuded by female broadcast journalists takes a lot of effort. Waking up and washing your face isn’t enough to be considered on-air ready.

As far as Laura Casella, anchor at Global News Montreal is concerned, “The Laura Casella who walks into work from bed with [her] hair tied up in a bun and no makeup … that Laura can’t necessarily go on TV.”

For female broadcast journalists, physical appearance plays the biggest part in one’s success. These female anchors are the liaison between viewers and the news station, but their journalistic talents are often overlooked.

Laura Casella speaks on behalf of all female journalists when discussing how she wants to be recognized for her hard work and talent within her profession. She wants people to watch her for her stories, not her good looks or wardrobe choices.

So, you noticed my hair but you didn’t hear anything I was saying? I want people to pay attention to the context of my story like they do with male anchors,” Casella adds.

Double standards between men and women are very prominent in broadcast news, according to Caroline Van Vlaardingen, anchor for CTV News Montreal. She believes that male anchors are easily forgiven. Whether they are balding, carrying extra weight or even wearing the same clothing day in and day out, men are not criticized.

Van Vlaardingen continues, “In fact, one Australian male anchor proved it by doing just that, wearing the same suit every day for a year while his female co-anchor changed her outfits every day, and no one noticed.”

Karl Stefanovic conducted this experiment because his co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson was receiving unsolicited critiques from viewers on her appearance. After a year dressed in blue, Stefanovic wasn’t surprised to see that no one ever commented on his wardrobe choices. His experiment confirmed that he is judged on his journalistic talent while his co-host is not.

There are some observations that can be made among the female anchors at both Global and CTV News. To name a few, heavy makeup is an essential part of the ‘getting ready’ process, as well as tighter clothing.

Through observation of 16 women who appeared onscreen on Oct. 23 on CTV and Global News Montreal, every single woman was wearing makeup and jewelry. 75 per cent of these women were white and approximately 65 per cent were blonde and thin. More than half of these women were under 35 years old.

“Acceptance of aging among women on the air is … a challenge,” says Van Vlaardingen. “The sad irony of this job as a woman, is that just as you step into your most experienced years and feel your most confident, your body and face begin to show your age.”

According to Van Vlaardingen, women who gain weight or develop wrinkles as they age tend to disappear from high-profile on-air jobs. Those that manage to stay on-air have a lot of work done to maintain their desired look. Botox, consistent hair colouring and dieting are common ways that female anchors preserve the youthful look.

Kim Sullivan, weather specialist at Global News Montreal, states that she never felt pressured to look a certain way by the management at Global.

“In my first year at Global, I gained 40 pounds because I was going through fertility and never once did I feel that I had to lose it.”

On the other hand, Sullivan does feel as though she doesn’t fit the look of the ‘ideal weather woman’ but emphasizes that this was a pressure she imposed on herself.

There’s one dress that all weather women have to have, so when I started my job at Global I bought it as a joke. It’s called the ‘weather girl dress.’”

There are underlying standards women must adhere to when considering a professional career in media. Huda Hafez, Journalism student at Concordia University, is an aspiring news anchor. Hafez explains the criticism these women receive in regards to their appearance makes her uncomfortable.

“I want to be a hard core journalist, not a piece of eye candy. I’m definitely aware of what I’m getting myself into, but we are a growing society and I’m hoping that things start and continue to change once I get on the air.”


Graphic by @the.beta.lab


The stigma of coily hair and the lack of diversity in salons

Racial segregation of Black people continues, and it’s in the hair salons

From more than 200 years of slavery in Canada, to the racial segregation in schools, employment, housing, healthcare, and more, the Black community continues to be segregated today. Racial inequality has become an important and prevalent discussion in our current political climate. One instance that racism can still be seen in contemporary Canada is through beauty standards, and we must address this.

Our premier denies systemic racism’s existence here in Quebec; however, this is highly questionable. Systemic racism refers to the ways and ideas that perpetuate white supremacy. Suppose systemic racism didn’t exist in our province — why then, for example, are Black women required to go to different hair salons specializing in coily, kinky, and natural hair because they can’t be properly serviced at “regular” hair salons?

Five months ago, Nancy Falaise, a hairdresser who owns a salon in Plateau Mont-Royal, started a petition demanding change. In her petition, she insists that the Ministry of Education and Higher Education revisit the Hairstyling Program Standards of Quebec and mandate that all hairstyling institutions include the education and training on Black textured hair. Let’s normalize all hair types and put an end to the disparity found in hair salons.

This is strongly discriminatory, and evidence that there’s still racial segregation in our modern day. It is not fair that someone like me, with type one (straight) hair, can walk freely into any hair salon and get service, whereas Black women with their natural hair have to go to specific hair salons. When did we normalize this kind of everyday-segregation?

Isabelle Joseph , who works in the beauty industry, notices the stigma around Black hair. She says women often enter the store and buy products that different hair stylists recommend but are damaging for their hair type. Joseph emphasizes that even at her job, they don’t get training for her hair type.

“You cannot call yourself a hairdresser or a hairstylist if you have no ounce of knowledge about hair types that are not the typical hair type,” stated Joseph.

She said that anyone who works in a hair salon who can’t work on Black hair should not advertise themselves as a hairstylist. Instead, she suggests hairstylists claim they are specialists in straight hair or even loose curls.

“You can’t claim that term because you are excluding us,” points out Joseph.

Joseph explains that by saying you’re a hairstylist, without even considering a whole group of people whose hair you can’t work on, is problematic.

“It’s really frustrating for me. I live outside of Montreal, and if I want to get my hair professionally done, I would have to drive an hour, whereas women with any other hair type can easily walk in any salon,” said Reyanne Desir, who has tight, corkscrew-like curls (type 3C).

“I don’t bother going to any hair salons because I don’t trust hairdressers to touch my hair if they don’t know anything about my hair type,” shared Elisabeth Ndeffo.

The stigma and discrimination around Black hair in beauty salons is unjustifiable. Black women should have the same opportunity and equal treatment as all the others with type one to two (straight to wavy) hair regardless of their natural hair type. The Black community has long faced injustice, and it’s time we take action and address all the areas where they continue to face discrimination.


 Graphic by @the.beta.lab

Student Life

Cruelty-free beauty pt. 2

Back in November, I challenged myself to replace some of the items in my beauty routine with affordable, cruelty-free alternatives (I made a list of my favourites that you can read here). Well guess what, people: I’m still broke and I still like animals, so I’ve kept up with it!  

While I’ve still got a ways to go, the items on my vanity are looking a lot different than they did a few months ago, and I’m happy to say that finding these products is becoming easier and easier. From skincare to makeup to hair care, there are tons of options out there for the conscious consumer on a budget.

Here’s another list of inexpensive, cruelty-free products I’m loving at the moment. 

Niacinamide Serum:

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%$5.90 for 30 millilitres 

Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 that works wonders for the skin by reducing inflammation and balancing oil levels. So, if you have skin that is sensitive and/or acne-prone, then this serum from The Ordinary is definitely worth trying. The texture is light and a little goes a long way—just make sure to seal it in with moisturizer afterwards!

Comparison: Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster — $63.82 for 20 millilitres


Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Butter Bronzer—$21.99 for 10.8 grams

This bronzer from Physicians Formula is my favourite of all time, hands down. The texture is smooth and blendable, so there’s none of the patchiness that bronzers can sometimes cause. Also, since the shades have a slight coolness to them, it won’t leave you looking like Donald Trump after a day at the tanning salon. Plus, it smells amazing! 

Comparison: Benefit Hoola Bronzer—$40.00 for eight grams


The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants$9.70 for 50 millilitres 

Sunscreen is something we should all be wearing daily (even in winter, folks). Luckily, this SPF from The Ordinary is an inexpensive option that sinks into the skin quickly and doesn’t leave your face feeling oily throughout the day. I will say that, since it’s a mineral sunscreen, it does leave a slight white cast on the skin. This doesn’t matter much for me since I’m literally the colour of drywall, but anyone with a deeper skin tone might have to experiment with it a bit. 

Comparison: Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42—$44 for 30 millilitres 


Covergirl Simply Ageless 3-in-1 Liquid Foundation—$19.49 for 30 millilitres

This foundation from Covergirl has a unique, almost mousse-like consistency that feels lightweight and comfortable, but provides surprisingly full coverage. What I like most about this foundation is that it doesn’t separate and become patchy throughout the day, which, in my case, even some of the most expensive foundations tend to do. It’s easy to layer and easy to blend, so the finish is nice and natural. 

Comparison: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation—$55.00 for 30 millilitres

Lip Gloss 

Essence Shine Shine Shine Lipgloss—$3.99 for 4.5 millilitres

This $4 (!!!) lip gloss from Essence is as shiny and glossy as they come. This stuff seriously rivals some of the fancier glosses on the market, and it comes in a surprising number of shades. It’s good stuff. 

Comparison: Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer— $25 for nine millilitres 

Leave-In Conditioner

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Reparative Leave-in Conditioner—$13.49 for 325 millilitres

As someone with really dry, damaged hair, the leave-in conditioner has been a game-changer. I love this one from Shea Moisture because it thoroughly hydrates my hair without weighing it down. It also smells amazing and helps to define my waves.


Photo by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil/Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

If size doesn’t matter, neither should length

What’s with the whole world hating on women with short hair? More importantly, why do people think they have the authority to do so? What does it matter to you if a woman has short hair? She probably doesn’t care that you prefer it longer. Maybe she deals with hair loss and having short hair is the only way she can wear it. What if she just likes having short or even no hair? Do you know how much of a hassle it is to maintain long hair? And lastly, why do you care so much?

I’ve had short hair most of my life. When I was around five years old, my hair was cut to right under my ears and I had bangs—you could probably describe it as a long bowl cut. As I grew older, I remember having long hair. In every school photo, I had longer and longer hair, and it changed to being very curly when I was in the sixth grade. 

In seventh grade, I cut my hair to my shoulders—everyone had an opinion about it. I then let it grow out and started colouring it with blonde streaks. One time turned into a few times and I was soon a semi-blonde. Then, I started using heat on it almost every day and it was fried so far beyond repair—so I chopped it all off. I was left with a boy cut at 14 years old and, once again, everyone had an opinion about it. Guys told me they preferred girls with long hair. Family told me that they liked me with long hair because now I looked like a boy. 

After that, I once again let my hair grow out, which was a horrible, ugly and tedious process. I then cut it off again in Grade 11, right in time for my high school graduation pictures to showcase a short blonde bob. 

If you haven’t caught on yet, my hair journey has included a lot of cutting and growing and bleaching (and some bangs were thrown in there at various times too)—bar the few months where I had orange hair, but that’s not important. While my hair has changed vigorously over the years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is people telling me they prefer me, or women in general, with long hair. 

While I do miss having long hair sometimes, when I look back at photos when I had long, wavy hair, I just don’t feel like that’s me. The short hair I have now, which hasn’t grown past my shoulders in the last two years, makes me feel the most like myself. The comments, especially coming from men, about how long hair is preferred on women, need to stop. Even though I don’t listen to them, it can really affect how women with short hair feel about themselves and no one needs that negativity in their life. 

So women with short hair, I see you and you look amazing. 


Photo by Laurence Brisson Dubreuil

Student Life

Affordable cruelty-free beauty

The global cosmetics market will reach a value of US $863 billion by 2024, according to a report from Zion Market Research. 

Let me say that again: 863. Billion. Dollars.

I might sound surprised, but I really shouldn’t be. The average foundation from Sephora costs somewhere between $45 to $60, for crying out loud. To top this, social media and influencer culture mean that, nowadays, we’re being advertised to from every angle.

Thankfully, as the cosmetics market has grown, so has the demand for cruelty-free beauty products. In recent years, major brands such as CoverGirl and Glossier have become Leaping Bunny certified, meaning they do not test on animals at any point in their manufacturing process, distribution or sale. A brand doesn’t technically have to be Leaping Bunny certified in order to be cruelty-free, but the certification can serve as a useful tool for consumers.

Despite all this, there still aren’t as many cruelty-free brands as you might think. While many brands don’t involve animal testing in their manufacturing process, they still sell their products in mainland China, where animal testing is required by law. Whether they care to admit it or not, these companies profit from practices of animal cruelty, and China is no small market.

Recently, I took a long, hard look at my beauty collection and decided to do some major decluttering. Left with only the essentials, I vowed to replace them with alternatives that were a) cruelty-free and b) affordable. Easy, right?

Not so much. Sadly, finding quality cosmetics that are both cruelty-free and affordable isn’t always easy. However, after some serious digging, I’ve managed to find some cheap, cruelty-free items in makeup, skincare and haircare. I even made a list! I compared the cost of each of these products to their best selling equivalent at Sephora. These products might not necessarily work in the exact same way, but you get the idea.



Essence get BIG! LASHES volume BOOST mascara — $3.99 for 12 ml


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara — $32 for 8 ml

This mascara is great for adding volume to my sad, short lashes. I also love that it’s clump-free and doesn’t transfer to my under-eye!


Eyebrow pencil: 

Covergirl Easy Breezy Brow Micro-Fine + Define Pencil — $8.99 for 0.09 g


Benefit Precisely, My Brow Pencil Ultra Fine Shape & Define — $32 for 0.08 g

This eyebrow pencil is amazing for drawing in precise lines that add definition and texture to my sparse brows until I look like friggin’ Brooke Shields (just kidding, I wish). I find that some brow products are either too waxy or too creamy, and this one sits perfectly in between.



Annabelle Perfect Cream Blush — $10.99 for 6.2 g


NUDESTIX Nudies Matte Blush & Bronze Stick — $38 for 7 g

This blush is the SHIT. I seriously cannot get over how much I love it. It is so blendable and natural looking, and also looks amazing as a lipstick. For real, go buy this blush.


Hyaluronic acid serum: 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 — $6.80 for 30 ml


Caudalie Vinosource SOS Deep Hydration Serum — $64 for 30 ml

Hyaluronic acid is an amazing ingredient for dehydrated skin like mine. It draws in moisture to the skin, improving overall texture and plumping fine lines (which yes, I am already starting to notice). I’ve tried all kinds of fancy hyaluronic serums, and this product from The Ordinary works just as well, for a fraction of the price.


Argan oil: 

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil — $6.80 for 30 ml


Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil — $64 for 50 ml

Argan oil does an amazing job of keeping my skin soft and supple without clogging my pores. It’s an awesome source of vitamin E that can also work wonders for your hair! Just a heads up — argan oil has a weird smell to it sometimes, which is totally normal. You’ll get used to it.



Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo  — $11.49 for 385 ml


Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo — $47 for 473 ml

This shampoo is great because it’s sulfate-free, meaning it doesn’t dehydrate my extremely thick, dry hair. The added moisture also helps bring out my waves and curls, which I love.



Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Conditioner  — $11.49 for 385 ml


DevaCurl One Condition Original Daily Cream Conditioner — $32 for 355 ml

Like its shampoo equivalent, this conditioner is great for those with wavy or curly hair that tends to be on the dry side. It’s silicone-free, which means there is very little product buildup on the hair. Product buildup tends to weigh curls down and make your hair look limp and dull. Oh, and it also smells amazing.


Note: Maui Moisture is owned by the parent company Johnson & Johnson, which does sell some products in mainland China.

Photo by Laurence B.D. / Graphic by @sundaeghost

Student Life

Skin to skin: Acne-prone combination skin

Skincare. You’ve heard so much about it, but what actually works? The Koreans have the 10-step-routine. Southeast Asians use a lot of turmeric and natural products. North Americans use a lot of chemicals. All swear by their remedies, but not all products work best for every skin type.

This might be a story you know all too well: baby soft pimple-free skin before puberty, explosive acne during puberty, and now your skin is either too dry, too oily, discoloured or texturized. We haven’t quite figured out how to take care of our skin once the pimple phase is over because we’re all so different. 

I’ve battled with my skin since hitting puberty, and it’s only recently that I’ve figured out the recipe for my skin success.

Acne-prone combination skin

Often, people with combination skin types think their skin is too oily when, in fact, according to the Epiderma esthetician I consulted, our skin can produce more oil to help combat dry skin. This makes you believe the issue is excess oil but, in fact, it’s not enough hydration. In this case, the biggest mistake someone can make is to cut out moisturizing from their skincare routine. The reality is that the better moisturized the skin is, the less oil it will produce to compensate. 

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association’s website, acne occurs when dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores, resulting in sebum accumulation – a substance produced by oil glands. Bacteria within the pores can then contribute to those blockages and inflammation. The site indicates many causes and triggers of acne: cosmetics, food, sweating, overwashing, hormones and more. The site’s cited board-certified dermatologists suggest shopping for oil-free cosmetic products and washing your face twice a day.

To help treat your acne, it’s recommended to wash sheets and pillowcases often. What also helps is letting your skin breathe by not wearing makeup a few days a week, washing your face twice daily, not picking your pimples and washing makeup brushes. The main takeaway is wash your face delicately, exfoliate once or twice a week with a gentle scrub (to avoid micro-tears) and moisturize religiously. 

Combination skin types usually get the worst of it and textured skin is common. After my teens, I saw a decrease in the amount of acne I had and just got the occasional hormonal breakouts. But I noticed something different on my skin that I couldn’t quite understand or fix. This was texture — there were tiny little flesh-coloured bumps all over my cheeks. They weren’t your typical pimples and I didn’t think they were until I picked at them and saw they resembled whiteheads. 

Instead of consulting an aesthetician, I took matters into my own hands and started exfoliating so much, my face was filled with micro-tears which made everything worse. I caved and consulted a medical aesthetician at Epiderma. She explained that this texture occurred because of dehydration and clogged pores. I started moisturizing more, but I didn’t see enough of a difference. I turned to hyaluronic acid and it quite literally changed my skin. After a month of using the chemical product, I saw a significant difference. 

Hyaluronic acid is a substance created by the body, according to an article on About half of the hyaluronic acid in your body is in your skin, where it binds to water to help retain moisture. As a result of hydrated skin, it reduces the appearance of wrinkles and, according to the article, makes skin appear smoother. 

It is recommended by several companies like  Drunk Elephant or The Ordinary to use hyaluronic acid after washing your face and before applying moisturizer at night. 

Above all, in order to have beautiful, healthy skin, medical experts like the Canadian Dermatology Association still recommend starting with a change in diet to see a difference in your skin by avoiding sugars and increasing your water intake.


Photo by Laurence BD

Student Life

What outfits will you be wearing this upcoming spring season?

Both bold and muted trends are in for spring 2014

As the warm weather approaches, that lingering desire to turn over a new leaf pervades our thoughts as our closets crave a new look. This spring calls for risk-taking as last year’s trends travel to bolder grounds and take on a wilder personality.

Graphic by Jenny Kwan

Nargisse Akyuz, local Montreal designer for fashion label, Nisse, takes us through each of these fashion trends, offering advice on how to wear them and telling us her own opinion of these statement makers.

The Crop Top

Your blouse shrunk in the wash? Don’t fret. It happens to be the latest spring 2014 fashion trend. From Jill Stuart to Vivienne Tam, the crop top is this season’s favorite child. Whether worn with a full skirt or high waisted pants, it dominated the runways, provoking multiple street style imitations. According to Akyuz, “the crop top is a stylish statement this season.”

Pop Art

Eager to take your wardrobe to bolder territory? The pop art trend demands your attention. According to Oscar Wilde, “you can either be a work of art or wear one.” This spring, you’re invited to embody this quote with pop art designs that give ordinary prints like stripes and polka dots a run for their money. Reigning at Prada and Chanel, these designs remind us of the powerful connection between fashion and art. “Pop art can be a form to communicate,” says Akyuz. “I love hidden messages in apparel. It’s like a story that I’m telling you just by wearing it.”


Dropped your dress in the shredder? No need to panic. Fringe happens to be the latest spring trend to rule the runways of designers such as Altuzarra and Emilio Pucci. Say goodbye to last year’s feminine frills and release your inner cowgirl as fringe takes center stage. With the 90s resurrection, it should come as no surprise that distressed dressing is being translated through a variety of forms, from ripped jeans to Great Gatsby fringe dresses. Akyuz describes herself as a big fan of the fringe trend. “Fringe is always sexy and their appearance is like a feast of movement,” she says.

Head-To-Toe White

If you happen to be a classist, head-to-toe white is calling your name. In a city like Montreal where the weather is unpredictable and a sudden downpour can annihilate your look, this trend may seem daunting, but there’s nothing more refreshing than the clean and minimalist quality of a head-to-toe white outfit. Akyuz suggests updating this look with extra volume and feminine details. Using white throughout her new spring 2014 collection, she describes it as “a breath of fresh air.” The collection combines flowy white skirts juxtaposed with structured pieces and dashes of colour. “I was inspired by the highly structured with whimsical softness and the flow of whirling dervishes,” she says.

Are you inspired? Ready to play with the latest spring trends? On your mark, get set, shop.

Check out our roundup of the top Spring beauty trends:

Student Life

Spring ahead of the beauty game

Both bold and muted trends are in for spring 2014

This winter has been unbearably harsh, with last-minute snow storms and that dreaded polar vortex. But fret not, for our suffering has not gone without consideration as we will soon see a transition in weather, bringing forth warmer days. With the change in forecast comes a change in routine and I do mean beauty routine. Spring allows for fresh looks from head to toe so let’s get started.

Photo by jamelah, Flickr

Let’s take it from the top, literally. In terms of hair, thick headbands were spotted on the runways, from Balenciaga to Valentino. Both design houses adorned models’ heads with bands covered in studs and knots. Then there was Lupita Nyong’o who, on the other end of the spectrum, wore a pretty, dainty, diamond headband at the Oscars. Whether your inspiration comes from fashion week or awards night, this trend is on point so get your head in the game.

With the emergence of spring, cool girl hair — meaning I-woke-up-like-this waves — is also making its debut. Warm temperatures mean air-drying your hair becomes easier and playing with your natural texture is a departure from the structured looks we tend to go for during the colder months.

Now, it’s time to give face. All that glitters is definitely gold. Lashes, eyelids and eyebrows were gilded at Gucci and Dior and even a gold-painted part in models’ hair was spotted at Dries Van Noten. Want to add a touch of glimmer to your eyes? Urban Decay’s eyeshadow in “Half Baked” gives you the Midas touch.

An unsurprising trend was the use of a pastel palette on eyes, lips and nails. This is a more traditional way of interpreting spring, in terms of beauty, and shades of light pink, baby blue and lavender were seen on the runways of Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, and Holly Fulton, respectively.

If you prefer to play up your pout, the season’s brightest trend is orange lips. Numerous designers opted for this sunny shade which is also obvious for spring but refreshing at the same time. It is the easiest way to elevate your look, day or night. One of MAC’s best-selling shades, “Lady Danger,” is an orangey-red that flatters most complexions.

As of late, plenty of emphasis has been placed on nails — just try going through your Instagram feed without spotting a killer pair of claws. Rita Remark who works for Essie Canada and was seen painting nails backstage during Toronto Fashion Week, curated spring’s top manicures. They were demure, simple but not boring, and a departure from the crazy nail art we’ve been seeing (which she says is so 2013). Pale colours or nude polishes were forerunners, whether they were opaque or sheer, and either matte and shiny finishes completed the neutral nails.

And there you have it, folks. Designers, makeup artists and celebrities gave us a clean slate to start the upcoming season. With these trends in your beauty arsenal, you’ll be shining brighter than the extra hour of daylight.


Transcending to new heights of BEAUTY

The trailer is evocative and languorous with haunting close-ups of everyday objects and a soundtrack, simultaneously atmospheric and energetic, that gives everything a dream-like quality. It operates under the maxim ‘less is more’ and you don’t quite know what’s going on. But it draws you in nonetheless.

BEAUTY press photo.

So what is going on? Concordia alumni and director Colin L. Racicot is giving you a peek into his new science fiction film (or, as he explains it, metaphysical short film) BEAUTY, centered on the transcendental metamorphosis of protagonist Michael after his encounter with an alien presence billed as “the world’s most beautiful thing.”

It’s the germination of a long-dormant idea finally being given form.

“The original concept of the story has been haunting me for years, but it only took shape a few months ago, as I started writing a script,” said Racicot. “Ten billion drafts later I had a script so I sent it to my friend Simon Allard, with whom I studied at Concordia in film production. Days later, he was the producer of the film.”

Evoking influences of science fiction gods like Ridley Scott (Blade Runner), Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris), and Chris Nolan (Inception and Memento), among others, should give you a fair idea of what this movie will be like.

“I don’t want to stick too much to reality. Reality is there every day in our lives. I want to lift the audience in a world that isn’t ours, but that could be ours, as if it was a nightmare, a lucid dream,” said Racicot. “These filmmakers knew how to portray an idea poetically, while taking advantage of the infinite possibilities of the cinematic medium.”

Racicot further explains saying, “the audience will be lifted into this intense ride, move from an extremely boring representation of reality to a surreal and overdosing crystalline world.” Interested?

Racicot hopes you are, because successfully creating BEAUTY will cost a pretty penny, and it goes without saying that providing for everything – rentals, sets, equipment and supplies, vehicles, distribution and production, etc. – takes money.

To pull off this feat, Racicot has engaged the services of Kickstarter for the crowdsourcing of his film. By soliciting help from anonymous and the not-so-anonymous alike he hopes to raise the $7,500 budget within the next four weeks. As anybody who’s had to pitch knows, selling an idea is hard.

“Perhaps what is most challenging about the kickstarter phase of the project, and what is really the challenge for any crowdsourced project, is convincing regular consumers that your product is worth investing into. You have to sell the dream before the dream exists,” said Racicot.

And he certainly has ambitious dreams.

“BEAUTY could be the beginning of a big adventure. I don’t see this film as a single short; we could easily develop this into a mini-series or even a feature film. I’ve always been kind of reluctant to the TV-series format, but after watching Breaking Bad… what can I say… I feel like the possibilities are endless.”

So, Concordia, check it out and give a former Concordian’s vibrant creativity the support of your eyes. It may be the prettiest thing you’ve seen all day.

If you’d like to view Colin L. Racicot’s BEAUTY, the teaser is now on Kickstarter. Pledgers, depending on the donated amount, will receive exclusive material and other perks in appreciation.

For more info, please visit:


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