Beauty Fix: Lash-enhancing serums, the best eyeshadows for green eyes and how to master the art of contouring without looking like a Kardashian

Are eyebrow-lengthening serums safe to use? Curious about mastering the art of contouring without looking like a Kardashian? Can the same tricks that keep your face looking young also help your hands? From grooming to makeup, there’s an endless amount of questions that can arise when considering how you take care of you face. But don’t fret—Beauty Fix is here to help! This week we’re taking on these questions and more to keep you looking your best all summer long.

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Is it important to use professional makeup brushes? I’ve always just used the ones that come with the products I buy.
This is probably common practice for a lot of people who buy cosmetics, but so often we find the applicators and brushes that come with products are subpar at best. A set of brushes can do wonders for the application of makeup, and the value of a good set should never be underestimated! The best news is a set of brushes does not have to cost you a small fortune—there are a multitude of options available at every price point. While most makeup brands have some sort of makeup tool offering, some of my absolute favourite brushes that I reach for daily were found at the drugstore. To get started, try this set from Quo ($20, at Shoppers Drug Mart), which features super-soft synthetic bristles and comes packaged up in a pouch. These brushes are extremely cost-effective given how well they perform, and because they’re not made of natural hair they won’t shed or, even worse, irritate your skin.

Is it safe to use eyelash-lengthening serums?
Lash serums have become an interesting alternative for people who have extremely thin or sparse lashes who generally want a more natural and hassle-free option for lash enhancement than false lashes or lash extensions. Who hasn’t seen advertisements for prescription-strength serums with their celebrity spokespeople? While results are generally quite good when using a prescription-strength lash-lengthening serum, the results are not without side effects, which can range from darkened eyelids and irises to leaving your eyes prone to irritation. Another downside is that once you stop using it, your lashes go back to their original state. If you are in the market for a lash-lengthening serum that isn’t prescription strength but will still give a boost, try the just-released Peptalash ($25, at Shoppers Drug Mart). It combines three peptides that lead to longer and fuller lashes and comes with none of the side effects of similar prescription-strength products.

For round-faced girls, contouring can seem like a bit of an uphill battle–without contouring, faces seriously lack definition, but contouring can also often lead to that overly done look à la Kardashian. Are there any ways of creating definition without taking it too far?
While the Kardashians are a lot of things, subtle with makeup application is not one of them. Contouring is an ingenious way of manipulating light and shadows to sculpt one’s face, and you’re right—it’s a challenge to contour well. I firmly believe blending and using the appropriate tools is a really essential part of contouring, as well as applying products with a light hand in order to not go overboard, especially if you’re fair-skinned. Always use a matte powder, such as Benefit Hoola bronzer ($36,, for the most unobtrusive contouring effect and start with a very minimal amount of product. It’s always easier to add more for an intensified effect as opposed to removing product once it’s been applied. Lightly apply the bronzer to the hollows of your cheeks (just below your cheekbones), your temples and beneath your jawline. Blend out the bronzer with a duo-fibre brush to make sure the end result is a more refined version of yourself with no harsh streaks to be found. If you’re heading out, tap a bit of illuminating powder, such as Stila All Over Shimmer Duo ($29, on the tops of your cheekbones for a subtle glow that won’t leave you looking overdone.

I love everything about the way my mother has aged, except for her hands. I don’t mean to sound like a horrible daughter, but what can I do to prevent this? Should I start applying my anti-aging face cream to my hands?
They always say the first two spots to show aging are the eyes and the hands. While we’re pretty adamant about grabbing a pair of sunglasses to throw on when we’re out and about every day, how many people can say they stop and think to apply sunscreen to the backs of their hands? Our hands go through a lot every single day, but environmental stressors such as sun exposure really take a toll on how the skin appears. Luckily, hand creams are entering the market that are equipped with sun protection and many more beneficial ingredients to prevent your hands from looking beyond their years. First up to plate is Clinique Even Better Hand Cream SPF 15 ($42, at department stores), which is an addition to the Clinique Even Better range that focuses on treating discolouration of the skin. This product contains Vitamin C, the brightening antioxidant we all know and love, and rice bran extract, a free radical that prevents the formation of dark spots. Another great brightening option with SPF is from a brand very well known for their hand creams, L’Occitane. Their Immortelle Brightening Hand Care ($32, at L’Occitane boutiques) has an SPF of 15 and contains bellis perennis, which reduces pigmentation marks already developed in the skin, while immortelle extract corrects wrinkles.

How can someone with fair eyes do a smoky look without overpowering their peepers? There seem to be a lot of colour options for girls with blue, brown or hazel eyes, but those of us with green eyes are always just pointed in the direction of purple shadows. Are there any other shades that create high impact for green eyes and are more wearable for day than purple?
What a fantastic question that probably plagues a lot of fair-eyed beauties! I personally am East Indian with brown eyes, so my number one concern in regards to choosing eyeshadows is the level of pigmentation. However, for anyone who has fair skin and lighter eyes, darker or heavily pigmented shades can pack way too much of a punch, leading to a look that makes you appear punched… literally. Two pointers: first, having the right tools on hand can make a huge difference in how eyeshadow looks on the skin. Always have a flat shading brush and a fluffy blending brush on hand. The shading brush will allow you to lay the colour down on the eyelid where you want it and the blending brush allows you to diffuse the colour and eliminate harsh edges (i.e. smoke the shadow out). Secondly, don’t feel the need to gravitate towards purple if you have green eyes (though it is a lovely option, in my opinion)! If you’re really over stronger violet tones, give some shades of grey a whirl. If I had to suggest four shadows to start with, they would be: Satin Taupe (a shimmery silvery-taupe), Copperplate (muted, matte mid-tone grey), Smut (muted black with slight shimmer), and Trax (a shimmery burgundy plum), all from M.A.C Cosmetics ($18 each, While the last shade I just mentioned is indeed a purple tone, it makes green eyes absolutely sing and is highly appropriate for daytime!