Beauty expert Victoria Radford is not new to the industry. You may have seen her enthusiastically talking all things beauty and skincare on shows including The Social. She’s got some serious cred too having worked with many famous faces including Fergie (Black Eyed Peas) as her personal make up artist while on tour as well as many other well-known celebrities. She’s also worked with some of the world’s most iconic make up artists from Armani Beauty to Laura Mercier to Bobbi Brown. You may have also been lucky enough to secure her magic touch at the Estee Lauder Spa inside Holt Renfrew’s flagship Bloor Street location in past years or recently at her Yorkville studio in Toronto. Through her experience of knowing what works on many faces, she’s steadily been developing her own line of beauty products — a few have already gained a cult-like following.
To say she radiates is an understatement. She literally glows and of course, I want that luminous glow. I want to know that secret to having that flawless look that can brighten up any room…errr, Zoom meeting. And she’s all about finding that beauty from within. Simply.
In a recent virtual Summer Session Masterclass event, Radford tells us the main skin issue during these months is that often we don’t know how to treat the surface of skin. We’re worried about breaking out (yes, hello masks) and our first inkling it to kill whatever it is that’s causing it. But her approach begins with dealing with the skin’s surface — it’s about soothing, treating and replenishing every step of the way.
Through her years of experience, Radford knew she wanted to create products that did more than just make us look good on the surface. She wanted her products to have added benefits and of course, had to also feel great on the skin. And when you have really great products that can do more than just cover up, you’re making it easier on yourself.
She tells us some of her clients would have a drawers full of products and beauty tools which overwhelmed them – often that feeling meant they wouldn’t use what they had (yep, that’s me too) because they had gone to the beauty counter and were convinced they needed everything.
So, now that it’s Summer we’ve been exploring a few products in her line. We were curious about what she would recommend if we could pair down and keep things simple and light…
The first product she created was BUFF Daily Enzyme Exfoliant ($50) gentle enough to use every day. The product helps refines pores, illuminate skin tone, and has soothing properties thanks to the organic aloe vera that is effective and calming. This product is still a favourite for many.
She also tells us that often we don’t use enough of a product (yup, that’s probably true for me). Explaining that being generous isn’t to push product but she firmly believes that if you really want a product to work, you have to use it.
That’s the next question — let’s talk about eye cream. Radford tells us that everyone has an opinion about eye cream and whether it’s worth it. “I went on a quest to find out more about eye cream. Often it’s over promised and under delivers. But the eyes are the first place you notice any changes on the face.”
She created EYE Visibly Bright Hydrating Repair Cream($45). Not only does it deliver a formulation with anti-aging ingredients but we were very impressed with how easily it absorbed into the delicate skin around the eyes and creases appeared less pronounced. It also make eyes appear brighter thanks to the gold particles that reflect light. She also created this product so it can use all over the face if you like. In Korea, she says there’s a product that reportedly sells one in every minute. “Eye for Face” and it intrigued her. “I wanted to still make an eye cream because I just want to simplify everything in my life.” But she did want to make a product that can also be great to use all over the face if wanted — we can understand why! It is beautiful. Radford says it gives you that instant wow but then as the day goes on you’ll notice that the skin looks more plump and plush. “In Korea they call this pluck pluck,” she says with a smile.
Radford tells us how she’s been researching the Korean beauty market – which is known globally for their advanced science and research. What we found interesting was her mention about how we perceive face creams. We assume that any cream we put on our face would be hydrating.
“The truth is it’s almost impossible to hydrate the skin and the reason is the hydration in a water molecule is so big that it just sits on top and not really doing anything for hydration,” said Radford. “But what they have figured out is if they connected a lipid molecule to a fatty molecule to a vitamin molecule then you can actually trick the skin which is similar to hyaluronic acid.” So, that’s why we were seeing a wave of hyaluronic acid. It was the first time binding a thousand times its weight in water into a molecule. But of course, not all hyaluronic products are equal as we all know.
Now, we are seeing a new wave or the next generation of even more effective products. In Radford’s TINT Daily Skin Perfector ($50) it blends in the winning combination of hyaluronic acid and age-defying ceramides in a lightweight moisturizer that can be worn alone for sheer coverage or under a foundation. Inspiration came from her time working at Holt Renfrew’s Estée Lauder Spa. Clients would come in and rave about “tinted moisturizers”. But she knew darn well about the products. She explains that in fact, they were foundations pretty much repackaged but didn’t carry the ingredients for moisturizing. She began wondering if it was possible to actually create a tinted moisturizer that could help promote cellular turnover and smoother skin. “It didn’t really occur to anyone to make skin care part of your make up,” she said. “It’s become our number one best seller and I’m really proud for an ‘indie’ brand as no one really knows who I am but people use it and then tell their friends.” For the summer, she recommends this as it offers a light and natural overall look.
She’s all about intense hydration AND treatment but she’s interested in changing how the skin looks. We often talk about wanting our skin to glow and Radford says that often when people ask her what she’s all about, she’ll tell them it’s really all about that “glow” from within. She was inspired when she was an artist for Armani and fell in love with the line’s Fluid Sheer. She thought it was beautiful but one of the difficulties she found with that particular, and very popular, product was that there were too many options. “When clients looked at the options they usually gravitated to the light pink one,” she said. “It’s not great for a lot of skin tones but it looks pretty and you want to buy it.” Her TINT comes in three shades Light, Medium, and Warm Medium.
She also was interested in creating a product that could go all over. “I wanted a true glow from within but I needed it to have skin care ingredients.” So, she packed her GLOW Power Primer ($45) full of amazing ingredients “I didn’t want it to be just another make up product, I wanted it to do so much more.” But then the real quest for her was to figure out the one shade that would make the lightest skin as well as the most gorgeous deepest darkest skin tones all come alive. When you rub this into your skin she explains that it doesn’t look like a colour but rather she considers it a neutral. “When I do someone’s make up I start with EYE then I use the GLOW on top to achieve the that beautiful iridescent look.” Radford also explains that while it’s light and fresh in the morning, the face will actually feel hydrated as the day wears on but not filmy. For summer she recommends it as a great option for those “no make up make up days”. Great also for our mask wearing times as colour won’t transfer onto fabrics.
If you’re interested in a nourishing lip balm not just for summer but all year round, Radford’s MAKEOUT BALM ($32.50) helps to boost hydration and collagen synthesis to decrease wrinkles offering up smoother and fuller looking lips. It has a hint of fresh mint that of course, is very kissable.
When it comes to liners, her Rose Gold Waterproof Gel Lip & Eyeliner ($29) is magical. The moisturizing and hydrating ingredients makes for a smoother, softer and creamer look. If you love that bitten-lip look this is the perfect shade that’s non-feathering and won’t transfer offering up to 7 hours of wear.
You can find more about Victoria Radford’s line as well as her studio location in Yorkville (Toronto) here.