Jennawae McLean’s Five Beauty Essentials

Share this with your friends

I have experimented with a lot of looks.  In high school, I cut off all my hair because I thought I would look nice with a Pixie-cut à la Anne Heche.  I found out pretty quickly that my facial features were not as delicate as I thought, and that I do not like the shape of my head (it’s flat in the back—my mother obviously didn’t turn me enough as a baby).  I simply don’t have the “skull definition” such an extreme haircut demands.  I’ve tried every colour of the rainbow for my hair, and with maturity (and after spending countless hours at a salon) I realized the best “most natural” colour for me is my own.  It’s the same with make-up—most colourful colours look garish and theatrical.  I’m not a fussy chick—I just want to look like me!  Now my goal isn’t to experiment, it’s to play the hand I’ve been dealt!  Here are 5 products that I must have to feel polished and put together: 1. Rapid Lash XL Nothing is more beautifully tragic than a pretty face with jacked eyebrows.  You know what I mean—like little worms with hooks on the ends of them, or upside down Nike Swooshes.  I should know—I have been working meticulously on my eyebrows for over 20 years now. I am an eyebrow connoisseur, I am THE EYEBROW MASTER.

Rapid rescue for lashes and brows

Rapid rescue for lashes and brows

I started when I was around 8 years old, when one morning before school, I brazenly decided to shave them off (all except the inner furrows, for a “natural” look I guess), and started the slavish cycle of weekly eyebrow maintenance.  Every week I would rip the hair out of my face barbarically, ever searching for the holy grail arch (which for this 8-year old was Jessica Rabbit’s arch.  My goal was a sexy cartoon married to a rabbit.  That’s why 8 year-olds shouldn’t be working on their eyebrows). I would have to draw them on (only to have them wear off or smudge all over my face, which made me look like I was melting and perpetually sad-faced).  It wasn’t until my mid-twenties (and maybe an episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians or two) that I realized that fuller eyebrows make you look more youthful, and my goofy eyebrows were better for comedic fodder than my actual appearance. Rapid Lash XL is a non-prescription eyelash and brow enhancing serum that you apply every night before bed.  It actually works.  It takes time, and you have to be consistent, but it works very well.  I have thrown away my eyebrow pencil, and I will never look back.  My eyebrows are as full as Cara DeLevigne’s, and my eyelashes are as long and full as Twiggy’s.  There is no more rush for mascara, and I feel confident when I get out of a pool, I didn’t leave my eyebrows behind!  Available at Costco, Shoppers Drug Mart, and 2. Urban Decay Eye Shadows A natural hazard of my job/lifestyle is a pair of red, slanted eyes, and sometimes I just need a little sparkle just to open them up!

Urban Decay: Let me put some kush up in it.

Urban Decay: Let me put some kush up in it.

Other than the fact that these shadows are highly pigmented, have long-lasting shades with creaseless coverage, and are available in basically any colour you can imagine, I’m pretty sure that Urban Decay is a 4/20-friendly brand. I love when I find mainstream things that are cannabis-friendly and I get to make that canna-connection, (if you are ever in Toronto head over to Soma Chocolatemaker, where you can try delicious handmade “Thai Stick” truffles, and all the prices are either $4.20 or come to $4.20 after tax.  Soma is also a ritual drink that Hindus use that is supposed to give the drinker immortality, and believed to be derived from cannabis). Why am I so convinced that Urban Decay is pro-pot?  Check out the names of some of their shades!  “Burnout” (a shimmery tawny peach shade available in their Naked 3 palette) or “Buzz” (a sparkly pink, also in their Naked 3 palette, obviously a fave of mine!) or the biggest giveaway– “Kush” (you guessed it—a bright shimmery green shade). Further proof Urban Decay is full of peace-loving hippies?  Their products are also “Marley-Approved” (Marley is their dog, and probably yet another counter-culture reference!) which means they are cruelty and animal free.  Some products are even vegan.  It’s obvious that they are pushing a canna-genda, and I like it!  Available at 3. Pureology Shampoo/Conditioner and Anti-Split Blow Dry Serum This is the “leading salon brand” you hear other shampoos are always comparing themselves to in commercials. My hairstylist and ginger-friend, Emily, gave me a couple of samples of this on my first visit with her.  “Use one right after the other, use them together in sequence,” She said. I shrugged and tossed them in my purse thinking nothing of yet another shampoo sample, when another client in the waiting area saw, and approached me.  She had a deadpanned-face and eerie tone: “You will try this.  You will love this.  You will never use another shampoo again.”  At the time I thought she was trying to hypnotize me, and I think it worked.  She was absolutely creepy right about this shampoo.

Readhead Revival

Readhead Revival from Pureology

I should have known when I saw Emily’s fiery red hair that this shampoo is the real deal for colour protection (red hair tends to fade quickest because the molecules are so small they essentially slide off the hair with every wash, leaving your towels, and hair, pink). Pureology is a salon-only brand that is 100% vegan and sulfate-free, and it protects your colour, making it longer lasting.  I love the Hydrate Conditioner—it has some sort of mint in it, so it is super cooling and refreshing on your scalp–even a little tingly.  While the set is a bit of a splurge, I do find that I wash my hair far less often, so I go through less.  I always follow up with the Pureology Anti-Split Blow Dry Serum—it cuts my drying time in half, it helps keep the shape of your style, (so day 2, and 3 for me still look like day 1), and adds back the extra moisture your blow dryer is taking away.  I am salon fresh every time I wash my hair (and for a couple of days after that too!). Check out for an authorized salon near you. 4. Hempz Age Defying Body Lotion I gift this a lot to people, and at least twice people have gotten offended because it is marketed as age defying, and thought that I was trying to toss them a hint.  They likened it to receiving a scale or vacuum cleaner.  Maybe they were just being over sensitive, because the truth is I just love the smell of it!  It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a fresh linen musk that lingers in the breeze when you walk past someone. The lotion is rich and nourishing, and made from pure natural hemp seed oil, as well as other nutrients and vitamins that protect and condition the skin.  I apply it right out of the shower, and it doesn’t take long to absorb before you can put your clothes back on.  It is also available in other scents than Age Defying (I am glad I now know what it smells like to defy age), like Pomegranate and Citrus-Blossom.  Available at

De-frizzle. It's Friz-easy.

De-frizzle. It’s Friz-easy.

5. Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Touch Up Crème This is a drugstore gem.  Ever wake up with frizzy bed-head and only 10 minutes to get ready?  This is the product you need to keep your style throughout the week.  I use it as a finishing crème, using a small amount, I warm it in my palms and work it through dry hair focusing on the underside and ends as a final step after styling. Your hair will instantly be transformed into a softer, sleeker, shinier version of itself.  It smells awesome, and is great for refreshing your style after you smoke a joint.  It’s not oily and won’t weigh your hair down, (as long as you don’t use too much!)  You can also use it as a protector before heat styling.  Even running it through your ponytail will make the ends look healthier and more defined.  This is my secret weapon, and it should be yours too! Available at most drug stores.