Ep 44 Facialist to First Lady Michelle Obama, Jennifer Brodeur (a.k.a. JB Skin Guru)

Facialist to both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Brodeur (JB Skin Guru)

Facialist to both Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Brodeur (JB Skin Guru)

Is the facialist to Michelle Obama quite possibly the most influential skin expert in the world? Heads are nodding in Breaking Beauty’s sound studio where yes, we sat down with Montreal-based Jennifer Brodeur—dubbed JB Skin Guru by the mighty Oprah Winfrey, another star client. You’re definitely not going to want to miss Jennifer’s stories about tending to the skin of the entire Obama family in the private quarters of the White House!

Jill is obsessed with Michelle Obama’s new book, Becoming. Should we buy her the t-shirt?

Jill is obsessed with Michelle Obama’s new book, Becoming. Should we buy her the t-shirt?

Plus, find out which product from Jennifer’s all-natural skincare line for sensitive skin, Peoni, the former First Lady called out on People.com’s holiday gift guide this year. (We’ve also got the scoop on a brand new line coming in hot off of the production line from JB Skin Guru called Lumi, designed to brighten dullness with all the luminance of freshly fallen snow.)

The facialist’s newest editions to her all-natural product line, Lumi, designed to brighten dull skin

The facialist’s newest editions to her all-natural product line, Lumi, designed to brighten dull skin

You’ll hear some of Jennifer’s somewhat radical opinions, like why she never recommends exfoliating (say what?!). We also get some choice tips on how to get your skin red carpet ready for your own holiday events this season. And finally, the skin pro divulges the secrets to detoxing your complexion from the inside out post-holiday.

But wait…! Jennifer mentions which humectants to look for and which to avoid in a deep dive on good-for-you ingredients. She promised us specifics, and we promised to post the document we were sent over:

Humectants (hygroscopic) work by pulling water from the dermis to the epidermis. This process increases the level of moisture in the stratum corneum. If the humidity is over 70% humectants can even draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin.

They are added to products to mimic the role of natural hydrophilic humectants in the stratum corneum. The unique structure of the stratum corneum of the skin contributes to its function as a barrier to water loss and the external harsh environment. The injury to this barrier by the environment and common irritants with the resulting loss of water from the skin is the main reason for the development of dry skin or irritant dermatitis. Moisturizers containing humectants can help to increase the hydration of the skin and possibly repair/restore the barrier through use of chemicals that are similar to the skin’s natural moisturizing factors or occlusion of the skin to prevent water loss.

Synthetic Humectants

Synthetic humectants are able to lock in moisture; however, they don’t provide any nutrients or benefits to the skin. In some cases, they can end up drying the skin over long- term use. It’s always a question of percentage and use.

  • PEGs

  • Silicones

  • Butylene Glycol

  • Urea

  • Tremella extract

  • Sorbitol

  • Dicyanamide

  • Sodium PCA

  • Sodium lactate

There is a large variety of very different compounds providing moisturizing effects

including proteins, acids, polysaccharides, and various small molecules (e.g. glycerine,

sorbitol, urea, aloe vera etc.).

Natural Humectants

They serve as a dual purpose, drawing moisture to the surface of the skin while enhancing the skins own hydrating ability. (It can be confusing as glycerin and hyaluronic acid may be derived from animal sources, although most are vegan synthetic versions).

  • Lecithin

  • Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5)

  • Glycerin

  • Hyaluronic acid

  • Aloe Vera

  • Honey

  • Seaweed

  • Beeswax (often used in lip balms)

Products mentioned in this episode: Peoni Le Nettoyant cleanser; Peoni L’Extrait; Peoni La Crème; Lumi Gift Box; Clarisonic; Jane Iredale; Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Ep 43 GlamGlow Co-Founder Shannon Dellimore on Glitter Mask Logic, Cult of SuperMud and Is The Best-Selling Mask Getting Sisters?!?

Jill Dunn with GlamGlow’s Shannon Dellimore and Carlene Higgins inside Glam Land Los Angeles.

Jill Dunn with GlamGlow’s Shannon Dellimore and Carlene Higgins inside Glam Land Los Angeles.

Pinch us! In this Hollywood edition of Breaking Beauty, we sat down with Shannon Dellimore, co-founder of the one and only GlamGlow. One of the fastest growing indie beauty brands around, GlamGlow launched in 2011 with just one product: a mysterious mud that had been passed around from celebrity to celebrity in unmarked jars to clear up imperfections and create a spa-style glow in 15 minutes flat. (Check out an early prototype of the packaging designed by her daughter, below, cuuute.)

An early packaging prototype courtesy of Shannon and Glenn Dellimore’s daughter

An early packaging prototype courtesy of Shannon and Glenn Dellimore’s daughter

The final packaging as you see it on store shelves and Instagram posts today

The final packaging as you see it on store shelves and Instagram posts today

But this isn’t just a studio recording y’all. We were lucky enough to be invited into Glam Land—the posh HQ housed in a 1920s mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Find out the hidden secrets behind the Tudor walls, as Shannon reveals the star-studded story behind how the original YouthMud came to be. Then we go deep on the beloved follow up—SuperMud Clearing Treatment Mask—that earned a spot as Sephora’s top selling mask for three-years straight, not to mention being awarded Allure’s Best in Beauty three years in a row thanks to its activated charcoal formula blended with six (!) acne-obliterating acids.

Your co-hosts enjoying some natural filters and palm tree photo ops courtesy of GlamGlow

Your co-hosts enjoying some natural filters and palm tree photo ops courtesy of GlamGlow

GlamGlow broke onto the scene with its laser focus on instant, transformative results—a ‘masking’ brand before K-Beauty sheet masks were even a glint in any self-care enthusiast’s eye. It broke the internet, too, with a mind-blowing Sonic the Hedgehog collaboration that would lead to many more glittery… greats or gimmicks? Shannon answers that precise question, and lets us in on GlamGlow’s next move, including a hint that a certain cult-product may soon have some little sisters in store.

Leave us a review in iTunes to let us know what you think!

Products mentioned in this episode: GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliant Treatment; GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment; GlamGlow GlowPowder

Ep 21 Biologique Recherche's Dr. Philippe Allouche, from the Founding Family of P50 Lotion

Biologique Recherche's Dr. Phillipe Allouche with Breaking Beauty's Carlene Higgins

Biologique Recherche's Dr. Phillipe Allouche with Breaking Beauty's Carlene Higgins

In partnership with Biologique Recherche

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We are so excited for our very first sponsored episode!! Because the more partnerships we do, the more damn good stories we can bring you about the best-selling beauty products lining store aisles. And great news, we partnered with the holy grail of all skincare peels, for reals!

AHA’s, BHA’s, glycolic, salicylic—acids are back, baby! Just when it feels like everyone is talking about peels these days, we chat with the O.G. of the at-home acid peel, Dr. Philippe Allouche, whose family invented the iconic—nay, MYTHICAL—Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 back in the 1970’s. Even with the scores upon scores of peels promising to obliterate acne, wrinkles and visible pores today, this breakthrough beauty product still ranks number one by the likes of YouTube skin expert Caroline Hirons and among glowing model faces like Paloma Elsesser today. In this episode, you’ll find out exactly why it's deserving of its cult status.

Model Paloma Elsesser demonstrates her 3-minute glow routine on vogue.com

Model Paloma Elsesser demonstrates her 3-minute glow routine on vogue.com

And you know we love a good backstory. Find out what led Dr. Philippe Allouche's parents, Yvan and Josette, to develop the balancing exfoliating formula in the first place, and what kinda gross product used to be their number one seller until it was banned back in the 1990’s. Plus, Dr. Allouche junior reveals why skin health isn’t just marketing jargon Biologique Recherche throws around (medicine is seriously in this family's genes, people). And, he shuts down those rip-your-face-off formulas, revealing why they could even lead to the death of civilization as we know it (no joke!)

And lastly, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS the tale of Dr. Philippe Allouche’s wild days living in New York City, including what he's been experimenting with behind-the-scenes with some surprising, A-List collaborators. Listen right through for the serious scoop—it will be worth it, we promise!

Products mentioned in this episode: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50T; Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Capillaire; Biologique Recherche Shampooing Traitant VIP 02; Glossier Solution; Omorovicza Acid FixPixie Glow Tonic; Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads

Ep 16-The Glow Down: The Top 7 Beauty Moments In 2017 Ft. Fashion Magazine's Beauty Dept. & What's Next in 2018

This episode is brought to you by Smashbox Canada. Listen here.

Fashion Magazine beauty editor  Souzan Michael  (left) and beauty director  Lesa Hannah  (right)

Fashion Magazine beauty editor Souzan Michael (left) and beauty director Lesa Hannah (right)

In this rollicking episode, we are joined by Fashion Magazine’s supes smart and hilarious beauty team, beauty director Lesa Hannah and beauty editor Souzan Michael, to recap the biggest beauty moments in 2017. Which feel-good beauty moment was the cushiest in one beauty editor’s eyes? Which WTF beauty trend should defs stay in 2017? We’ve got the hot takes! Plus, find out what’s coming down the pike in the year ahead, in a forecast by cosmetic chemist Stephen Ko.

Glossier's winning Body Hero 2017 campaign

Glossier's winning Body Hero 2017 campaign

Prototypes of what's around the corner in 2018

Prototypes of what's around the corner in 2018

Ep 04: Caudalie Founder Mathilde Thomas

Mathilde Thomas in L'Appartement Caudalie in New York

Mathilde Thomas in L'Appartement Caudalie in New York

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Parisian women are world-renowned for having that je ne sais quoi—rumpled hair that lands just so, barely there makeup and healthy-looking skin synonymous with classic beauties like Francois Hardy, Brigitte Bardot and modern day muses like Lea Seydoux and self-taught makeup artist and YouTube star, Violette. When you think about the French lifestyle (noshing on cheese and croissants and drinking red wine daily) without ever gaining a pound, you know they're on to something. 

In this episode, we explore that very French Paradox with Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of Caudalie Paris.  (The woman has literally written a book on the subject!) For the uninitiated, Caudalie is an all-natural skincare line started in 1995 at a centuries-old vineyard that Thomas' family owns in Bourdeaux, France called the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.  The star ingredient, a polyphenol called resveratrol, is extracted from the seeds and skin of grapes. A natural antioxidant, the active has been proven to be even more powerful than vitamin E (whoa!). Much the way drinking a glass of reservatrol-rich red wine a day has been known to help stave off heart disease, so too does applying the cream have benefits for your skin.

Twenty years after its birth, Caudalie's most iconic product, Beauty Elixir, sells every 30 seconds around the globe. Discover why celebrity makeup artists have been relying on it to create a dewy glow for the past 20 years (they basically built a cult following.) Editors and fans clamour for the brand's luxe spa services, too, like the cabarnet body scrub. Available on almost every continent, Thomas is now launching a new concept spa that will re-invent the treatment experience. Titled L'Appartment Caudalie, the first location, in the Upper East side of Manhattan, is a four-cabine skincare sanctuary where you might even brush shoulders with a supermodel. Find out who we encountered on our day at the spa, what Jill did to mortify herself during the interview and more inside secrets in episode 4.

Products Mentioned in this Episode: Caudalie Beauty ElixirCaudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum; Caudalie Concentrated Brightening EssenceProvince Apothecary Custom Facial; Skinceuticals Resveratrol B E; Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick.

The stunning interior of L'Appartement Caudalie in New York 

The stunning interior of L'Appartement Caudalie in New York 

Mathilde's book "The French Beauty Solution." 

Mathilde's book "The French Beauty Solution." 

A custom light fixture, fashion to look like a grapes cluster

A custom light fixture, fashion to look like a grapes cluster

Sister Pact: The Aussie Twins Taking Green Beauty Brand Dr. Roebuck's From All-Purpose to Ultra Bespoke

Dr. Roebucks sisters

There are lots of words you expect to read on a "green" beauty product label like: natural, ethically-sourced, paraben-free, etc. But "custom," "anti-aging" and "clinically-tested" usually aren't among them. That's what makes Dr. Roebuck's, a family brand cooked up in Sydney, Australia so special.  

Dr. Roebuck wanted a salve to soothe the eczema that afflicted his identical twin infants, Zoe and Kim. It was compounded by a local pharmacist and kept in the fridge for the whole family to use.

Fast forward nearly four decades later, and those very same daughters are upgrading the range from simple, skin-soothing, hand-crafted salves to potent anti-aging serums, eye creams and custom treatments slick enough for the ultra chic counters of Holt Renfrew.

Sitting down with Kim and Zoe who finish each other's sentences (not surprisingly!), the first question is obviously what it's like to work one's sister. "We keep each other going - it's a lot work right? So much respect to those ladies who did it on their own - like Bobbi Brown and Jo Malone and women like that. Kim is Marketing Director and I am the Creative Director so we don't step on each others toes. But we do have to go to dinner and say - ok, no work talk!" 

In honour of Earth Month, the twins launched a luxe pop-up shop at Holt Renfrew in Toronto where you can custom-blend your serum tailored to your skin type (it's expected later this year in Vancouver - stay tuned). Fill out a digital survey and on the spot you get a customized serum, hand-crafted by one of their skin therapists. "You'll also get recipes that can help heal any skin ailments like inflammation or redness," says Kim, drawing from their own hyper healthy upbringing–like only being able to eat carob instead of chocolate. 

Staying true to their real simple roots, the brand's R&D has an equally homegrown feel. "All the formulations are created five minutes from my house," says Zoe, who notes there's a minimum of nine active ingredients in each serum. "We know the supply chain, where it's being refined and what's in it. For instance, Rosehip oil can be bought synthetically and cheaply but not in this case – our father's name is on the box so we would never do that." 

Dr Roebuck Custom Serum Holt Renfrew Jill Dunn
Dr Roebuck Custom Serum Holt Renfrew

Meet The Woman Who Invented My First Beauty Crush, Solange Dessimoulie, Founder of Decléor Paris

Decléor neroli oil

It was probably around 2010 when I discovered my first beauty crush. I may have been wearing a pair of Uggs at the time. I was a newb beauty editor at a major fashion mag and this was long before oils were a thing. I was experiencing a heavenly Decléor aromatherapy facial at The Bay in Toronto. The waft of neroli oil—a warm orange blossom—had me hooked on the first nostril hit, and I treasured the little frosted flask of the Aromessence oil serum every time I'd pack for a press trip. Post-flight, I would pour out a few drops onto my palms, spread it around and press it onto my face, giving my skin a miraculously non-greasy glow and my spirit an instant boost (neroli is also known to aid in anxiety, so no joke it was a travel must for my finicky system).

Truth be told I never thought about who created that first love of mine until I was invited to meet the founder a couple of weeks back—didn't even know that person was still part of the company! Turns out she is, and her name is Solange Dessimoulie. She reminded me of a French Betty White. Besides the physical resemblance, I loved how this 70-something woman gave zero effs about what it was that she was supposed to say, instead speaking her mind because you know, she’s earned it. Of course, I didn’t understand much of what she said as she chatted on in French, but thankfully, I had an interpreter who worked hard to condense five sentences into one.

Decléor Aromessence Neroli Oil

In 1976 Dessimoulie was a beautician studying aromatherapy at the University of Bobigny in France. It was then that she met up with an aromatherapist thirty years her senior named Caroline Colliard. Taking one look at the ‘energy’ in her face, Dessimoulie said, “You have a secret I want.” Together, they went on to pioneer the introduction of aromatherapy in skincare, something many of us spoiled spa-goers may take for granted today.


“The most difficult thing is to mix different essential oils and plant oils because of the complex molecules,” says Dessimoulie. “To retain good smell and good results, is truly a savoire faire, otherwise it can irritate or even burn the skin.” In the forty years since she started, essential oils are about as common today as a poké bar, but on both fronts, freshness of ingredients count, as does the proper recipe. The gold standard is a blend that mimics your skin’s natural pH and oil consistency so it penetrates rather than leaving a slick layer.

Equally as remarkable about Decléor though is its sparky founder, who has stayed close by even after the company has changed hands three times in her lifetime (in 2014 it was purchased by L’Oréal), and even as Dessimoulie floats through her Golden years. “I’m a dolphin in the industry, because I adapt and dah dah dah, dah dah dah,” she concludes, her hand gesturing as though it’s leaping through waves. No translation needed. – Carlene