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Crossing the Charming Princes off of our shopping lists is always the biggest Holiday challenge, but also the most fun to take on. Whether it’s a special someone, a dad or a brother, finding the perfect gift for those on your list with a more masculine aesthetic usually takes an extra bit of elf power.

This year we teamed up to pick up some really great stocking stuffers, gift sets and bigger presents too – in all honesty we ended up wanting to keep most of the gifts for ourselves!

Check out our Charming Prince picks and shopping guide below!

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GIN KIT

Perfect for the budding alchemist, with this kit you can transform a simple bottle of vodka into an outstanding bottle of delicious homemade gin in just 36 hours.

TOOTHPICKS

In all-natural flavours like Bourbon and Ginger Honey, these toothpicks are the perfect stocking stuffer. Daneson also plants 100 trees for each one they cut, so they’re really the gift that keeps giving!

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VANS

There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics. Vans Sk8 Hi’s are a good go-to for anyone on your list!

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RICHER POORER

Who doesn’t need new socks and undies? Get ultra-comfy ultra-cool basics from Richer Poorer, and maybe even grab something for yourself while you’re at it!

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SAJE

Diffusers are perfect for purifying the air and look good in any space. Oh and did we mention there’s now a diffuser you can take on the road? Bye-bye pine air fresheners!

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DAVINES

All of the ingredients to give your guy soft, silky, frizz-free locks! Who says he can’t have nicer hair than you?

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SPICEBOMB

Still going strong as our absolute favourite scent for gents, Spice Bomb is a go-to gift!

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HERBIVORE BEARD STUFF

Truly natural and cruelty free, these special tonics and elixirs smell just like a forest and will keep your guy’s face super soft.

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UNIQLO / STAR REGISTRY

Christmas is so much easier now that Uniqlo is open just around the corner! Much, much further away is our very own star that we got to name after our Pastel Prince.

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YOUR PAL AL CACTI & SUCCULENTS

Concrete, succulents and just the right amount of gold from one of our very favourite Toronto artists, Your Pal Al.

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Dear DiaryOh so Pretty

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Just in the knick of time- our June edit is here! I know May was in the beginning of the month, but I figure end of month works too if it means I get more time to test and review products properly. Better for both of us, right?

This month’s roundup of RAOP Picks (aka my favourite finds of the month) is almost all within the exact same colour scheme, and primarily beauty-based. Perhaps it was the fun YSL events I attended over the past 30 days, or our #RAOPpowderroom project that spurred the beauty cabinet upgrade, but I’m definitely really feeling these beautiful products for the summer:

1. YSL Beauty

I don’t know what happened, but YSL really swept me off my feet over the past few weeks. I had the pleasure of attending a special breakfast to celebrate their Mon Paris fragrance launch, and the love affair really grew from there. My top picks? Touche Eclat Blur Primer and Vinyl Couture Mascara in gold.

2. Lovefresh

Locally made with Love, this brand is all natural, cruelty-free, and they have the best natural deodorants in the game! Also, How cute is this pink body scrub?

3. Sonix Sunglasses

Hello new fave sunglasses brand!The packaging from Sonix is unreal cute, and I love their fun use of colour in the frames.

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4. Cherry Pick Statement Jewellery

Who doesn’t need a good statement necklace? Cherry Pick is my go-to place to shop for sparkles of all sorts.

5. Tocca

I’ve always been a huge fan of the TOCCA candles and the unique way they name them and give them little “stories” to tell, but their line has really hit it out of the park recently! I can’t even wrap my head around how much I love the idea of a hair fragrance (coming soon!)

6. Repetto Ballet Flats

I picked up these flats on my trip to Nice, and they immediately became a new must have. Their comfortable, classy, and go with everything- plus they’re made by a legit ballet shoe company in Paris!

7. Davines Your Hair Assistant

We already know how much I adore Davines (they’re generally the online haircare brand I use), and this new collection’s pretty blush and black packaging really won me over. If you get a chance to sniff this line, prepare to swoon!

8. Eternally in Amber Hair accessories

The perfect addition to my pristine haircare routine, these tortoiseshell combs are as useful as they are beautiful.

Dear Diary

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I have a bit of an issue when it come to Christmas shopping: I just don’t know when to stop! Every single year I get out of hand, on a mission to find that perfect special something for everyone on my list, from my next door neighbour who I barely know to my parent’s dog.

At the very top of my “love to shop for” list sits my pastel prince, aka whoever I happen to be dating when the holidays hit. Don’t get me wrong- I genuinely love gift shopping for anyone and everyone, but above all I delight in splurging on cashmere scarves, dress shirts, spicy cologne and printed socks. I have a secret affinity for menswear and gentleman’s products, so Christmas gives me the perfect excuse to really dive into that world. 

This Christmas I’m lucky enough to have a pretty magical guy in my life, which means I went on a bit of a spree collecting all sorts of treasures for him. From a fancy gold embossed deck of cards (he does magic, literally) to my favourite men’s cologne (which he just so happened to wear before I even met him), this guide really got much more expansive than I had originally planned… but what’s wrong with a bit of Christmas spoiling, right? 

*Gender aside, this roundup is for all those handsome, masculine-identified folks in your life. Happy shopping!

Scroll down for credits and shopping links

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Amola salt (available at The Spice Trader)
Richer Poorer socks
Monarch playing cards by Theory11
Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb via Perfumania
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield watch
Komono sunglasses
Davines OI collection
Baxter of California candles and skincare
Dillon’s Distillery Spirits
BYOB Cocktail Emporium Barware
Nike Roshe One
ASOS junk food t-shirt and pink pullover
The Good Bar Soap
Woodlot Candle

Get CreativeOh so Pretty

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We’ve been swooning over pink hair for quite some time now, so when the Ban.do agenda instructed us to “dye your hair… pink!”at the beginning of August, we knew we had to jump at the chance.

About a month ago, just before our Pastel Pool Party, we visited Amanda Quarshie, a super talented colourist at Blyss salon, to have some magical pink accents added to our locks. We both loved our new looks, but as pastels often do, Paige’s subtle colour faded quickly, and this week she was ready for a refresh.

I’ve been dying my hair pastel colours for over three years now, and I’ve tried all sorts of hair colouring techniques and products, but the colour we ended up using was actually Amanda’s recommendation, and I can safely say it’s the best pink I’ve ever used. It’s called Davines Alchemic Conditioner in “red”, and it’s non-damaging, easy to use, and super pigmented. You can buy it at any local Davines salon, or online, and one little tub goes a long way! Here’s how we used it:

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1. // Mix your alchemic with a white conditioner to make the shade of pink more pastel. Davines Alchemic will work differently on different hair colours, so if your hair is red or non-bleached blonde, you might want to just apply the colour directly without lightening it, as super light pastels really only work on very light blonde. If you have super dark hair, unfortunately you’ll have to have your hair bleached before adding any pastels, or try hair chalking instead.

2. // Once the colour in the bowl matches what you had in mind for your hair, start applying, Because Davines Alchemic is actually full of nutrients and has no dangerous chemical properties, you can apply as slowly or as quickly as you like, and literally paint your hair wherever you’d like it to be pink! You can also apply it with your hands in the shower onto damp hair for a subtle, all-over pink wash.

3. // When the colour has been applied everywhere you’d like it to be, whether that means ombre, small pieces, or all over, wait for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing. Remember, this stuff is great for your hair, so the longer you wait the better! After you rinse, dry your hair and make sure you like the colour. Davines Alchemic is temporary, so if the colour is too dark just give it a good shampoo and it should lighten very easily.

That’s it! Easy huh? If you try it at yourself expect to do touch ups every 1.5-2 weeks to keep the pink vibrant and fresh, and don’t be afraid to experiment and get a little crazy- it will all come out in 2-3 washes!

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Photos by Paige Boersma

Dear Diary

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Ah, February! Love is in the air, and I couldn’t feel more lucky to have so much of it in my life! Don’t worry though, I’m not going to be rambling on about some horrible fairytale romance story: today I’m confessing my love for some super special products!

Before I started beauty blogging, I really had a bare minimum cosmetics collections. I went shopping once a year at Sephora to restock my 5 essentials (eyeliner, mascara, blush, concealer and neutral beige shadow), and that was about it. I loved the pretty look of products, but I never really got into having fun with my beauty routine.

When I started writing for XO Vain, everything changed. Suddenly I couldn’t stop buying beauty products, and companies were actually sending me new products to try too! My cosmetics collection tripled in size over the span of a few weeks, and continues to grow almost daily.

I’ve been super lucky to try so many different products over the past few months, but a few have really stood out in my mind. They’re the products I’ve really come to rely on, to cherish; they’re the products I love!

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From left to right, Too Faced Lip Injection Colour Bomb in “Candy Burst”, Rodin Olio Lusso Lip Balm, Lush Bubblegum lip scrub

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Davines Hair Refresher Dry Shampoo, Davines OI Hair Oil

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Econeco Makeup Rouge Blush Pearls, NARS Orgasm Blush

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Province Apothecary Skincare

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Butter London “Fairy Cake”, Deborah Lippmann “Stairway to Heaven”, Chanel “Frisson”

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Too Faced Pro Essential Teddy Bear Fur Vegan Brushes

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Too Faced Bulletproof Brows, Rose De Versailles Liquid Liner Pen, Buxom Mascara

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Davines Alchemic Red Shampoo and Conditioner

Photos by Brianne Burnell