by ANEEKA WARD
ASHLEY WHITE, 28 YEARS OLD, MANAGER AT TD BANK
ON HER FIRST TASTES OF BEAUTY
“To me makeup is about looking and feeling your best. I personally have a better day or night when I feel confident with how I look. My first memories of makeup would be when I was a toddler in the early 90s. I remember sitting on a vanity holding my mother’s iconic pale green Clinique lipstick container, and deciding to eat the entire stick of red lipstick while she got ready beside me. My mom didn’t even flinch. Some parents might have considered calling poison control, but mine acted as if it were a totally normal way to learn about makeup! Even now I can almost remember the taste. After that experience I would always look forward to the times I could wear and play with makeup; like at family events or dance competitions. I was excited to look my best and thrilled to escape the monotony of being a fresh-faced child. However, as I grew up I became less interested in makeup and more obsessed with hair. At 12 years old I was diagnosed with Alopecia areata, which queued my never-ending need to be innovative with hairstyles, accessories and products.
ON MANAGING ALOPECIA AREATA
Alopecia areata has been a part of my life since I was 11 years old. It took my family and I one year and many doctors to finally determine my diagnosis. It started off as a dime sized smooth spot in the very middle of my centre part that eventually grew into about a quarter of a heads worth of hair loss, which included my hairline, ears and neck. This is when my need to become creative with hairstyles kicked in. Whether it was being strategic with my haircuts, headbands, bobby pins, hairspray or gels I have always been lucky enough to be able to disguise my bald spots with my remaining hair and make it work!
In terms of maintenance I have tried, and still try everything. Every 6 weeks I visit my dermatologist for cortisone injections directly into my scalp. Although painful, it has been a really successful technique for hair re-growth. Typically, within weeks of my injections I’ll see new hair poking through. I have also tried oral Prednisone, every topical solution under the sun like Rogaine, Minoxidil, etc., and even attempted a gluten free diet – but if you love food it’s not worth it, trust me! [Laughs] All of these products have helped with regrowth but unfortunately have not been successful in terms of prevention.
As a young girl, Alopecia was a really tough autoimmune disorder to cope with. My self-esteem and confidence was shot and on occasion I still struggle with those feelings. To this day, I consistently will have large patches and I don’t see an end to that coming any time soon. However, for those of you also coping with Alopecia, the sooner you become comfortable and unembarrassed by it, the happier you will be! Learn to love yourself and the way you look and the rest will fall into place. To some that might mean shaving your head completely bald, to others it may mean wearing wig, but you do whatever you need to do to feel happy from within. That is the most important piece of advice I can give you.
TOP 5 BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Every since I started using Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer I’ve never looked back. I use it every single day. I came across this product about 7 years ago during a stage in my life where I wanted to be tanned all the time. I was having difficulty finding a product that would help me achieve a bronzed glow without turning me into an Oompa Loompa. Hoola’s smooth brown undertones work so well with my skin tone. I can easily adjust the amount I use for either a night out or going to work for more or less drama. Once I apply my foundation and powder I put this product lightly on my cheeks, forehead, chin and neck. I will then use a contour brush to apply it underneath my cheekbones to get a bit more definition. This bronzer doesn’t leave my skin oily either, which is a necessity for me. I use this product more sparingly nowadays, but it helps me achieve a healthy looking glow, especially through our sunlight deficient winters. One Hoola Bronzer lasts me at least 6 months. I truly can’t remember when I bought my most recent one, but it definitely gives you excellent bang for your buck.
MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam 2 is my jam. To me a nude lipstick is a classic lipstick. Colours are fun but I always come back to my nudes, and Viva Glam 2 has a dramatic twist on that classic nude I just can’t get enough of! A makeup artist who did my makeup for my brother-in-laws wedding introduced me to this shade. I was instantly obsessed. I wear some variation of it everyday. In the summertime I mix it with “Pink Pout” by Revlon for a more light and bright look, but then come the fall it’s full on Viva Glam time. Since it is a matte lipstick it does tend to lean a bit more to the dry side. In order to counteract this I always prime my lips with EOS Lip Balm beforehand. This is a habit I have gotten into with all my lipsticks, as I tend to gravitate to matte shades. I purchased my last one just after Christmas, and I still have over half the stick left. Pretty incredible once you consider I use it everyday!
I have used Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner religiously for 10+ years. I rely on it to keep my scalp clean and to maintain the thickness of the hair I do have. It was recommended to me by a family friend who too was coping with Alopecia and had found success with this product. I was desperate to try anything that could help me so I started to use it. It’s an odd feeling to describe but this shampoo makes it feel as though my scalp is breathing. I feel confident when I use Nioxin that I am getting the deep root clean I need. A deep clean is important with Alopecia because you need to ensure your hair follicles are not clogged. Unfortunately, I wash my hair everyday, which I know is not advisable, but I can’t control myself! I use Nioxin every second wash. I purchase it from my hairdresser; however, it can also be purchased at Trade Secrets and beauty stores alike. It is a little pricey at $60 for the pair, but the bottles are 1L each and the protection I get from it is totally worth it. The product is sold by level of hair thinness and I have friends without Alopecia who use it as well.
I use John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo and Conditioner on the days I do not use my Nioxin. My hair is instantly brighter and blonder after I use it. Blondes all over the world know that the struggle is real! You pay big bucks to get your highlights done and they come out looking beautiful. 2 weeks later, your ashy tresses have turned brassy. This product keeps my blonde looking fresh and “white”. I love how this product makes my hair look great and saves me money. Instead of having to get my hair done done every 2 months I can stretch it out to 5 months. Sheer Blonde is an essential to my hair routine. If I go a week without using it, I can see and feel the difference right away. I am addicted!
I love the variety of colours I get from Maybelline’s The Blushed Nudes Palette. I saw it on display one day as I was walking through the aisles at my local Shoppers Drug Mart. It reminded me of a pricier eyeshadow palette I was considering buying at the time, so I thought to give it a try instead. This palette has quite a bit of range and can be used for both nighttime and daytime looks. I have to be honest though; I am not a wiz with makeup so I use this palette in the most basic ways possible. Each morning I’ll use the darker brown shades to fill in my eyebrows, the lighter blush shades on my eyelids to brighten them up, and then will apply the medium tones to my creases to create some drama. The price is also appealing as I am not nearly talented enough to make full use of some of the fancier and more expensive palettes out there. I get great value for price. I have been using mine since Christmas and have hardly made a dent in it.”