Turning back the clock: My experience with HALO/BBL lasers at Clinique Le 1620

Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal Being a beauty and skincare blogger, I am always on the hunt for the latest and greatest to keeping my skin looking and feeling young.

Here are the facts though, as much as we try, our skin will age, and no amount of serums, creams, and tonics will reverse that. They might slow down the aging process, but as you get older, your skin will age as well.

I currently have a seven- to eight-step skincare routine, something I have been doing since I was 16. Right now I’m 34 years old, going on 35 later this year, and am one to take my skin health seriously. I try to drink lots of water, eat right, get Botox, filler, incorporate collagen into my diet, limit sun exposure, wear sunscreen, etc., but I have still seen some effects of aging as I’m entering my mid-30s. Don’t get me wrong, I still have fabulous skin and I feel like I don’t look my age (I certainly don’t feel it either!). With that said though, I do realize that it’s a good time to start maintaining my youthful appearance and that’s why I started looking at incorporating laser treatments into my skin journey.

BBL and HALO laser at Clinique Le 1620

There are various facial lasers available out there that can help with everything from large pores, acne scarring, improving fine lines, increasing collagen production, firming skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and more. When it comes to finding a laser treatment centre, it’s best to do your research and go to ones that specialize in these kinds of treatments, such as plastic surgery or dermatology clinics.

Last month I visited Clinique Le 1620, which is owned by Dr. Mirko Gilardino here in Montreal. The clinic specializes in plastic surgery and non-invasive medical procedures such as Botox, fillers, micro needling, PRPs and you guessed it, a wide variety of laser treatments!

At the beginning of February, I went for a consultation to explore the different options available for me and what would be best for my skin. I met with aesthetic registered nurse Annie Lorefice and after taking a look at my skin and hearing my skincare concerns, she decided that a BBL (Broadband Laser) and then HALO would be the best option for me.

So, like I said, I am rather proud of my skin. I don’t break out easily, but I do have some pigmentation and redness coming through. The biggest concern for me though was the loss of firmness on the lower half of my face, which I feel like is starting to give me a more “jowly” appearance. Nurse Annie thought that a base pass of BBL would be good to bring out the pigmentation in my skin and then a more thorough treatment with the HALO laser would help with any fine line/wrinkles, loss of firmness, hyperpigmention, and more, that my skin is starting to show.

BBL and HALO laser at Clinique Le 1620 BBL and HALO laser at Clinique Le 1620

So, what are these lasers exactly?

In its simplest form, the BBL Laser helps to remove brown spots and reduce redness from the skin.

BBL is a very popular option and is an advanced photo rejuvenation treatment that uses broadband light to reduce pigmentation and give you a glowing appearance. The device emits short bursts of light to penetrate below the skin’s surface, which then targets and brings up the brown spots, small veins, age spots, sun spots, and pigmentation, which will eventually flake off and disappear. The light energy also helps with the production of collagen to plump skin, promote the healthy regeneration of cells, and more.

Since I have some pigmentation in my skin, Nurse Annie felt like a base pass of the BBL laser would be good to do before the HALO treatment. This one did go by quite quickly and the process was a little painful but nothing too uncomfortable. It reminded me of using at-home laser hair removal treatments since the sensation was just a zap and the whole treatment with the BBL took about 10 minutes max.

Moving onto the HALO, this laser helps with skin imperfections, improves collagen production, and helps to treat minor facial flaws like acne scarring, large pores, hyperpigmention, wrinkles, fine lines, and more. It also helps with skin dullness (which I have been finding lately) and will leave you with a beautiful and healthy glow.

After HALO laser at Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal After HALO laser at Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal

The HALO works using two different distinct wavelengths – ablative and non-ablative – which targets skin concerns on multiple levels. Ablative skin treatments help with improving aging skin and works by delivering an intense wavelength of light to the skin, which then removes the outer layer of aged or sun-damaged skin. Non-ablative skin treatments work by stimulating collagen, which then improves skin texture and tone. It also helps with acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, melasma, and more. When combined, you are getting incredible results that leave you with a more flawless and glowing appearance.

Since HALO is a little more intense than the BBL, I did have to have a numbing cream applied to my face, which took about 30-40 minutes to kick in. From there, Nurse Annie used the machine to measure out my face for a customized and precise application. This one actually didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would (although I was told the numbing cream she used was a lot better than the ones they have had previously). At first, I could feel the machine on my skin, but no real pain. After a few passes it did start to feel hot and slightly uncomfortable, but overall the treatment wasn’t too bad.

Afterwards was a different story though.

HALO and BBL laser recovery

Once you are done with the HALO, you are left with a red face since it essentially burns the top layer of your skin. The idea is that over the next week you will shed that layer of skin, revealing a newer, healthier, and more glowing skin underneath. You also see noticeable little white dots on your face, which is the burnt-off skin. I know I’m making this sound scarier than it actually is, but truthfully, I didn’t think I looked that bad. In preparation for getting the treatment I did watch a number of YouTube videos and I thought my skin would look redder than it did.

Now directly after you are done your face will be burning for at least three hours and will also look swollen. Annie mentioned that they traditionally do HALO during the winter months as that’s when people are generally untanned and not exposed to intense sun as in the summer. Also, since the process takes a week to reveal the new you, typically people tend to stay home more in the winter than the summer (I still went out but I didn’t think my skin looked overly too bad.. plus wearing glasses also helped to cover up the really bad parts).

I did document the experience on TikTok and Instagram, but as the days went on, every day was a new experience. The day after the treatment I did find that my skin was looking more pigmented and more of a rougher texture. Day three gave me more brown spots (also known as MENDS — microscopic epidermal necrotic debris) and I felt like the treated areas were almost crusting over. I wanted to just dig my nails underneath and peel off the treated area. It didn’t hurt at all and it didn’t feel overly tight, but it was feeling very dry. I also felt like my face looked slightly more swollen than usual and it looked like I had a really bad sunburn.

Skincare from Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal

Day four is when the dry spots and MENDS started to fall off. I found by the end of the day, my upper lip and chin were pretty smooth. Day five saw more of the dead skin come off when I washed it morning and night, same with day six. I was left with a pretty red face in some areas though and my face did pretty hot throughout the day.

For the after-case instructions, I was told to just use a cleanser and a non-scented moisturizer. She recommended CeraVe, so I used their CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, which thankfully comes in a pretty big bottle as I knew I would be using lots of it. My face was like a dehydrated plant, it would just suck up any moisturizer I was putting on it. It’s also very important to apply SPF a few times a day since your skin is more sensitive to light after the treatment.

Skincare by Dr. Mirko Gilardino at Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal

My skin was pretty much all healed about a week later but I did notice I had some breakouts coming though in my chin area and I was a little red in some areas. Also, my cheeks did feel like they had some texture to them still. After all the MENDS came off my face I did revert back to my normal skincare routine, which ended up causing some problems with the healing of my skin. When I went for my two-week follow up appointment at Clinique Le 1620 they recommended I use some of their own in-house medical skincare products, which are specially formulated to help skin after these kinds of treatments. I ended up grabbing the following:

  • Chamomile Facial Cleanser, which is a sulfate-free gel cleanser that safely washes away surface debris and impurities from fragile-treated skin. This cleanser contains brown algae to remove pollutants, peptides to hydrate, chamomile to soothe, and ginger to help ease discomfort.
  • Vitamin K Creme, which is a capillary-strengthening treatment with Vitamin K to help prevent and heal bruises. This helps to diminish facial redness and improve the appearance of dark circles.
  • Vita Soothe, which is a serum that nourishes skin and facilitates recovery. It contains antioxidants lipochroman and vitamin E to defend against environmental aggressors, as well as glycolipids and essential fatty acids to nourish skin.
  • Radiant Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, which is an antioxidant-enriched mineral sunscreen that protects from UV rays, blue light, and pollution. It has a hydrating, non-greasy formula that melts impeccably into the skin and also has a sheer tint to reduce any skin redness.

Now, looking back at the before photos, I definitely noticed a lot of the pigmentation and spots on my skin. When I look at my skin now, all of those spots are gone and I’m left with a flawless canvas that is glowing, radiant and more clear, has smaller pores, and more smooth skin.

Now that we are about a month out, I can definitely see why people get this treatment and why it’s so beloved by many. It has totally brought a renewed appreciation to my skin and I definitely feel more confident. It’s also nice that I don’t really have to wear foundation or anything on my face to have a flawless appearance. My skin just looks so clear and flawless. It’s really incredible how this laser got rid of any pigmentation, spots, and just overall gave me a smoother and more glowing appearance.

Before and after with BBL/HALO laser from Clinique Le 1620 in Montreal

As for upkeep, Clinique Le 1620 recommends to get this treatment done every year or so for upkeep. It is a pretty pricey procedure, so although you probably could do it more than once a year (depending on your skin concerns), I would save up to get it done every year for the best results.

Of course, if you are considering having this done, I do recommend that you book a consultation with Clinique Le 1620 if you are in Montreal. If you want to see more photos and videos of my HALO/BBL journey, you can check out my Instagram saved stories or my TikTok account to see more footage of my face as it went through the healing process in the week after I got it done.

Have you tried HALO/BBL before?

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Nourished hair: Two haircare products you need to try from SELV Ritual

As someone who typically gets dry scalp in the winter and who has a family history of dandruff, I’ve been really focused on making sure that my haircare routine is top notch and focused on scalp care lately.

For the past year I have been using scalp oils and have seen their effect on not only how my hair looks and feels, but also on my scalp health. Winter typically is very drying for the skin and in the past I would often get those little flakes from my head that covered my clothes. Well not lately.

I like to apply a scalp oil at least once a week (I wash my hair on Mondays and Thursdays), so since this was already part of my routine, I was excited to get a new product from Montreal-based wellness brand SELV.

SELV makes products for the bath, shower, body, mind, and daily rituals and their items are made with high-quality ingredients with ecological values. The recently teamed up with Salon Chez Marcus on a line of three hair products that are designed to give you softer, stronger, and shinier hair. All these hair products are made in Quebec with all-natural and high-quality ingredients that are also 100 per cent vegan.

SELV x Chez Marcus Pre-Shampoo Serum

SELV x Chez Marcus Pre-Shampoo Serum

This serum (C$58) is my favourite from the bunch since it leaves your hair feeling so silky and also instantly transports you to the spa thanks to the rosemary, neroli, and mint.

This serum has vitamins in it to give your hair more density, hydration, and improve overall health. Apply two full pipettes to the hand and then moisturize on the scalp while also running it through to your ends. Wait 15 minutes and then shampoo your hair twice to rinse. What you are left with is hydrated, nourished, shiny, and more luxurious hair that not only looks amazing but feels amazing too.

I like to use this product once a week (typically on Thursdays for the weekend) and I have found that even when my hair is dry it’s less frizzy than if I didn’t use the product. I like to pair it with my Kerastase shampoo and hair mask for the most luxurious hair treatment.

Eucalyptus & Rosemary Stimulating Hair Mist

Eucalyptus & Rosemary Stimulating Hair Mist

Once out of the shower, spray their new Eucalyptus & Rosemary Stimulating Hair Mist (C$48) which is helps to stimulate hair growth, soothe the scalp, and make hair silky and shiny.

This mist includes Vitamin B5 to moisturize and soften. It also helps to calm skin irritation and protects the hair against external aggressions. It also has eucalyptus hydrosol to stimulate hair growth.

You can either apply this to damp or dry hair. I like to spray it in damp hair after my shower and when I use the hair oil. It also has a very relaxing scent that will transport you directly to the spa.

This line also has a Nourishing Hair Oil, which can be used to give you shiny, hydrated and healthy hair. I didn’t get this item but if it’s anything like the other two, then I’m sure it smells amazing and would make a great product to add to your haircare routine.

Overall I love these products and love the way they make my hair look and feel. Also, the smell is so divine and I love how they are local products made in Quebec (love the feeling I get when I shop local and support local brands!). You can order direct from the SELV site if you want to check them out.

Have you tried these haircare products for SELV Ritual?

Please note, products sent by PR. All opinions are my honest own.

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Lips looking good: Fenty Beauty Fenty Icon Velvet Liquid Lipsticks and Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask

If there is one brand on the lips of everyone right now it’s definitely Fenty Beauty.

I have been a huge fan of Fenty since the brand basically launched a few years ago. For the most part, I have absolutely loved every product I’ve tried, and considering the price points of the products, it’s fabulous quality for what you’re paying.

I love the brand so much that whenever they launch something new, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. One of their newest launches is the Fenty Icon Velvet Liquid Lipsticks (C$38). Available in five shades, these liquid lipsticks deliver a matte velvet finish with a formula that is long-wearing and incredibly comfortable.

Fenty Icon Velvet Liquid Lipsticks

Now usually matte liquid lipsticks can be drying, but not these. They feature a creamy, whipped texture that hugs lips and delivers pigmented intense colour on the first swipe. They also don’t dry out your lips or settle into fine lines.  Colour stays rich and the texture feels comfortable and moisturizing on the lips.

Fenty Beauty sent me four of the five shades. There is Riri, a rose mauve nude; The MVP, a blue red; H.B.I.C., a deep garnet red; and Bread Winn’r, a chocolate brown nude.  There is also C-Suite’Heart, a soft pink nude.

Overall I really like these and love how comfortable they feel on the lips.  Because they are hydrating, they don’t quite dry down the same way that a matte liquid lipstick would, so I would be careful with colour transfer, which will happen since these shades are very bold.  I do like how they feature a doe-foot applicator to apply them, making it easy to precisely apply the colour.

Fenty Icon Velvet Liquid Lipsticks applicator Fenty Icon swatches

I also wish there were more shades and a greater array of colours. I’m not a huge red lipstick girl but I do think these are very nice shades of red and if you love a red lip then you’ll probably love the reds she chose to include in this collection.

Now since we are on the topic of Fenty lip products, I also want to mention the new Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask (C$29).

This lip mask is infused with pomegranate sterols and vitamin E to give you super soft and plush lips.  Housed in the cutest little peach container, pop off the top to reveal a flat surface where you twist the bottom to get the product dispensed. This balm instantly hydrates and nourishes lips, while also smoothing the texture of lips and reducing the look of lines and wrinkles. It also helps to firm lips and improve their elasticity.  As a result, you are left with fuller-looking, more sculpted and defined lips.

Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask

This balm has a light vanilla scent and flavour and is colour-free. It does leave a clear sheen on the lips, which I find to look so flattering (and I feel like it makes your lips look bigger too). If you are a fan of the Laneige Lip Sleeping Masks then I know you will love these.  I do find this Fenty lip mask to be a little on the thicker side but then it melts really nicely onto your lips once applied.

I also love the container since I find it’s easier to apply the product since it has a twist bottom. Of course it might not be the most hygienic if you are sharing lip balm with a friend, but as someone who always has to have a lip balm handy, the fact that I don’t need a little spatula to get the product is a huge plus for me.

I would recommend both of these new products from Fenty, especially the Fenty Skin Plush Puddin’ Intensive Recovery Lip Mask since I find it’s such a good lip balm that gives you hydrated lips for hours on end. For a great night out, the Fenty Icon would be a great choice as well.

Have you tried these new Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin products?

Please note, I received this product from PR. All opinions are my own.

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