Retinol 101: Do’s & Don’ts

Model: Shawna Patruno
Photographer: Margaritaua Photography
Agency: Orange Models
All Rights Reserved

Retinol, also known as Retina A, is such a hot topic for its anti aging properties, keeping pores at bay and helping you keep a clear, blemish free glowing complexion.

Dermatologists talk about it being the gold standard of anti aging ingredients. Retinol helps boost your cell turnover. It helps produce collagen, it’s important as we age to keep our collagen in tact so we can look youthful longer. Collagen depreciates for everybody at about the age of 25. In order to trick the hands of time we can add retinol into our skin care routine and encourage rapid cell turnover so your skin acts younger.

If you are using retinol you’ll need to be using a minimum SPF 30 (the higher the better up to SPF 60) be sure to apply every 3 to 4 hours to protect your new cells and prevent photo-aging (a.k.a dark spots).

Do not apply a retinol in the day time. In all my research and trainings I was told that is a big “no no”. Instead apply at night and allow it work while you sleep. Trust me you will thank me for this tip alone.

Another major tip is to start slow. Start once a week to avoid massive peeling and thinning of the skin. Less is more until you build up.

The seasons and the weather also need to be considered with retinol use. Do not start the use of retinol in the summer months to avoid unneeded sun exposure. Trust me I learned this the hard way. This simple mistake will cost you hundreds of dollars in corrective measures.

Make sure you are using the right moisturizer, you may need to switch for the duration of your retinol routine. Also you’ll need to use a great exfoliator in tandem.

Keep the basics such as a cleanser, toner, moisturizer with SPF 30 to 60 and exfoliator. It’s important to note that retinol is an added tool, not a replacement.

Be careful when applying it and avoid the eye area. The skin around your eye is way too thin and sensitive for this concentration of retinol.

Check with your doctor if you are on any medication that could make your skin thin or sensitive to burning and tell your skin advisor if you have any illness that impacts your skin.

Lastly, create a plan with a professional, don’t go in blind! Most likely you will get pink and when you increase your usage you will peel, this is completely normal.

Beauty Expert Review! OxyGeneo, the Best Facial in the Greater Toronto Area?

Shawna Patruno,
Oxygeneo Facial,
Skin Care Review,
Beauty Expert,
Toronto Model,
Beauty Expert,
Reawakening Beauty,
Model Management,

My most recent beauty find was the OxyGeneo Facial at Allure Medical Spa in Hamilton Ontario. This is a three-in-one facial in which Allure uses medical grade ingredients to ensure you achieve the best results. 

Facial Assessment

When I first arrived at Allure I was treated to a skin assessment and cleansing. This process was completed to ensure they found the best beauty treatment for me. They assessed my skin under six different lighting settings allowing them to assess skin damage in all forms including; photoaging, inflammation, texture pigmentation, redness, and fine line wrinkles. 

Shawna Patruno Beauty Expert. Skin Consultation.
Skin Assessment from Allure Medical Aesthetics

OxyGeneo Facial

An OxyGeneo Facial is a treatment that uses 3 steps to renew and anti age the skin using exfoliation, infusion and adding oxygen into the skin resulting in a beautiful glow.

The ingredients in the facial are said to be vegan, natural and paraben free, which I am a large advocate for. For those who don’t know, parabens can disrupt your hormones and lead to health issues.

The best part about this facial is that it is customizable to suit your individual needs such as balancing, brightening or revitalization (this is the one that I did). It uses red algae to help reduce fine lines, improve texture and give you refreshed hydrated skin. They come in individualized pucks with unique benefits.

Facial Process

The facial is completed in three different steps which are detailed below: 

Step 1: Exfoliate

This process removes the topical layer of dead skin. It reminded me of wet microdermabrasion with a bit of a kick. It felt kind of spicy, almost like a chemical peel, which I personally do love. While it was being performed I did however wonder if I would end up looking like a tomato afterwards as I am very prone to redness. Surprisingly I did not!

Step 2: Oxygenate

This uses something called the bohr effect which results in a natural body process that oxygenates blood cells. This process will help your cells to function younger and healthier resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Step 3: Infusion of Serum

During this process things like hyaluronic acid are added for hydration, vitamin C for brightening or anti-aging ingredients like peptides to help increase collagen production. 

Facial Results

The Oxygeneo Facial will produce immediate results making your skin baby soft and glowy. As time passes you will begin to see improved texture in your skin and will notice that your products work more effectively. This is the part that I loved the most as normally my skin looks best immediately after a facial, but with the Oxygeneo Facial my skin continued to improve even two weeks after the treatment. 

I would recommend booking an appointment with Allure and having them personally assess your skin, and if you choose to do the OxyGeneo Facial ….. Get ready for the ultimate facial experience!


For other beauty expert finds in the Greater Toronto Area click the links below

The Best Anti-Aging Treatment in Canada for your Skin and to Boost your Confidence

Hi, in case you are new to Reawakening Beauty my name is Shawna Patruno. I review the best skin and body treatments so that you don’t end up wasting your money. I provide you with health hacks to look beautiful, have healthy skin, boost your brain health and feel confident from head to toe.

A while back I was very stressed and so I took a vacation to Blue Mountain. While there I had the opportunity to visit the famous Scandinavian Spa where I got a massage and did the circuit of the baths including; hot tub, cold plunge, sitting by the fire and back into the pool. My amazing friend joined me and I am so glad she did because we rocked the cold baths so much that a man asked if we were training to become a Navy Seal. I told him we weren’t, we were just seeing how far we could push our mind and body into submission. The answer for me was five minutes sitting in a tub filled with freezing cold water.

At this moment you’re probably thinking, that sounds completely unenjoyable, but I assure you after five rounds of doing the circuit your body is forced to relax and you’re submerged into the present moment. The only thing I didn’t love was the locker size and the fact that you had to be completely silent.

“Scandinavian Baths and Hydrotherapy circuits have many benefits including cleansing the body, stimulating blood circulation and releasing of endorphins.”

It’s all about the eyes, making aging beautiful!

Tip Tuesday for aging around the eyes! Last week we spoke about how aging doesn’t need to be scary and I educated you on collagen loss…

Well this week we are going to talk about your eyes, aka the window to the soul … The skin around your eyes is very thin and it’s the first place you age along with the lips.

However we can prevent this, woo hoo! So listen up …

An eye cream in your 20s, 30s and 40s is essential, but be careful because if you pick the wrong one you can develop Milia, and that is not fun. Milia are small cysts that can develop around the eye area. They are not pimples and attempting to pop them can cause further inflammation, damage and scarring.

How about we let your fresh eyes make everyone wonder how you’re aging so well (or hardly aging at all)! I use a vegan luxury eye cream. This gives all skin types a youthful glow while reducing the appearance of puffiness, fine lines and dark circles thanks to a special combination of caffeine = isn’t for everyone

I use a vegan retinol alternative that has been better tolerated by the skin. This anti-aging eye cream formula also features Plant Stem Cell, vitamin C, Peptides and Vitamin B3 to improve the appearance of skin tone around the eyes for an overall healthier, younger-looking appearance that all skin types (including sensitive) will love. This product is allergy tested, dermatologist-tested.

Beauty Expert Review! Mesotherapy, Healing the Skin with Vitamins!

The goal when doing mesotherapy is to allow your skin to work in tandem with the vitamins to heal any issues, boost collagen and the elastin production.

Mesotherapy uses multiple micro injections of minerals, plant extracts, amino acids, vitamins, and other ingredients like hyaluronic acid that are put in the skin in order to help the skin heal. It helps with pores, scars, hydration , fine lines, lack lustre skin, loss of elasticity and premature aging.

The procedure takes about 30 mins and can hurt a little if your face isn’t frozen completely. Through the treatment you’ll be enduring multiple micro needles injected all over the face. You’ll bleed for sure, as it’s going into the skin and you’ll be left with little dots of solution which will dissolve within a day.

They have different types of mesotherapy, some are just cocktails of vitamins and other have more hyaluronic acid to help with lost hydration or volume.

A mesofacial depending on the concern can very from different vitamins and can range anywhere from $125 to $500 dollars depending on what you choose to heal your skin with.

It will not freeze the skin movement like Botox or fill your face like a filler, it will just make the foundation of the skin to be stronger, allowing your face to look more youthful and hydrated & Over time the issues you were concerned will dissolve.

I do it once a year at most, as my skin is pretty healthy and I maintain my skin at home. However, if you are correcting issues you may need to do it more frequently.

I started doing mesotherapy because I wanted to prevent wrinkles and keep my skin young. Based on my results I do enjoy it and I know it does help to maintain my youthful skin.

If you would like to work with me personally to find unbiased skin care advice please email me and I’ll set up a consultation

Vitamin shot, yes please

Beauty Expert Review! Is Cryotherapy worth the hype?

What standing in a literal freezing chamber pretty much naked can do for your body, mind and health for only 3 minuets and why it was one of the first things I did when things opened up from covid.

First off the definition of Cryotherapy is a treatment of extreme cold temperatures, using liquid nitrogen on the body to go anywhere from -160c to -196c in an enclosed space for 1 to 3 minutes. You are simply in your undies with knee high socks, gloves and slippers to protect yourself. It’s a great look!

Cryotherapy tricks your body to go into survival mode. These frigid temperatures trick your body into thinking something extreme is going to happen. Making your major organs the prime focus and therefore your mind sends signals to redirect all you blood to protect your organs. Once completed and you leave the chamber, your mind realizes it’s “safe” again and starts pumping new oxygen rich blood throughout the body. It decreases toxins with the extreme blast of cold.

Its said to decrease inflammation, help produce collagen, detox the blood, boost metabolism, heal injuries faster, improve sleep, hair and elevate your mood and it did all these things for me.

After 5 treatments I noticed a significant decrease in the swelling in my knee, a decrease in pain for up to 4 to 6 hours afterwards, I slept like a peaceful baby that night, my skin looked more toned on my face and body. My water retention also decreased. I noticed an elevation in my mood and my hair is shiny and more manageable, which is rare for me. The results are temporary at this point.

I have done over 50 treatments ish in total to see if the results are long term and honestly this treatment rocks and I’m addicted to my skin looking firmer, and my eyes looking brighter and pain management. You do have to keep up with it so I go at least twice a month now ✨

I would invest in cryotherapy if you are in pain or your an athletic person with aches and pains. It would be highly beneficial if you are jet legged from travelling, as it instantly gives you a jolt of energy. There are skin benefits, but I can’t say if they are long lasting at this point. I’ve been doing it for two years and it has been such a help. However be careful where you go as you need someone experienced.

I would say it’s worth a shot at least once and decide for yourself, however, i f you have heart problems or health issues check with your doctor before proceeding.

Now go freeze your ass of literally 😉 Seriously it burns extra calories too 🌿

How to find happiness in the chaos!

Everything happens for a reason: the good, the bad, & the ugly…

I know this is a cliche you have heard many times. How bad do you want to punch me in the face this second? Here’s the thing no one likes struggle, but what if I can switch up your mind set and shake up your world. Give me until the end of this blog post to do so.

This statement was born because every time I forced something to be different was when I suffered. It was always chaos, heartbreak, illness and I am not saying give up, but I am saying accept it. Two very different things.

When I accepted what my reality was and moved in fluidity to this I was gifted something better out of chaos and rebel. It was like a dance where you let life lead and you are gifted a new blessing from your demise.

My life was not a cookie cutter life, we moved around a lot, I was poor, bullied and constantly felt alone. My mom was ill and was in and out of hospitals. She did her best, but People judged us and I learned fast to act happy and to be whatever I needed to be to survive.

I would often wish for friends, a mom who wasn’t sick, a stable home, to travel and was constantly trying to change everything. Force, force, force which resulted in pain, pain, pain!
However, I surrendered and accepted some huge pain points, such as, I can’t learn the same way as before because of brain aneurysm and accepting that I had a severe ED and moved through it. I was gifted with a real best friend and some amazing blessings.
I grew stronger from the ashes and that paved the way for friendships, love, a purpose and authentic relationships.

When I pushed for what I thought was right, I was often scorned. When I fought for friends they often betrayed me. When I fought for my moms approval my eating disorder got worse & when I fought for anything it often blew up in my face. Trust the process, let it go it’s not for you… Surrender!

Reawakening Beauty: Strawberry Almond Spinach Salad for Glowing Skin

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Strawberry Almond Spinach Salad, Vegan Strawberry Salad, Spinach Salad, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Strawberry Almond Spinach Salad


  • 2 cups Organic Baby Spinach
  • 1 cup Organic Mixed Greens
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber (diced)
  • 1/4 cup Onion (diced)
  • 1 cup Strawberries (tops removed & diced)
  • 1/4 cup Slivered Almonds (substitute for another nut of your choice)
  • 1 tbs Organic Olive Oil
  • 1 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother)
  • Optional 1/4 Avocado (sliced)


Toss all the chopped ingredients in a large bowl and add a dash of salt and pepper. Mix the Organic Olive Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar together as a dressing and pour over top.

BENEFITS: Spinach is full of iron which is great for healthy skin and important if you are vegan or vegetarian. Spinach also has vitamins A, C & K. Vitamin C helps to produce collagen and bring down inflammation in the skin.

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Self Care Saturday: The Mind Gut Skin Stress Connection!

In the latest episode of the Reawakening Beauty podcast, Meg and I sat down to talk about the foods we eat and how they could be impacting our stress levels. Below is a brief little clip from that episode.

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Flaxseed Egg

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Egg Replacement, Vegan Flaxseed Egg, Flaxseed Egg, Recipes for Healthy Skin, Shawna Patruno Recipes
Vegan Flaxseed Egg


  • 1 tbs Ground Flaxseed
  • 3 tbs Purified Water


Combine 1 tbs of ground up flaxseed and add in 3 tbs of purified water. Stir until properly combined and cover. Let sit in your fridge for 20 minutes.

Add to any recipe as an egg replacement. Makes 1 egg.

BENEFITS: Flaxseed contains lignan and has been said to prevent oxidative stress and stimulate collagen production.

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Banana Protein Loaf

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Vegan Banana Protein Loaf


Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Keto Vegan Chocolate Clean Protein Powder
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon (less if you don’t like cinnamon)
  • 1 pinch Sea Salt
  • 2/3 cup Organic Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ashwagandha (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Vegan No Sugar Keto Chocolate Chips

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Mashed Banana
  • 1 Flax Egg
  • 2 tbs Almond Milk
  • 2 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Dairy Free Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Melted Coconut Oil


Preheat oven to 350 & grease the bread pan with coconut oil. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and bake for 45 mins. Remove from over and let cool 15 mins.

BENEFITS: Ashwagandha has been said to have extra health benefits, lowers stress and balances your hormones.

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Mocha Cinnamon Frappuccino

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Vegan Mocha Cinnamon Frappuccino


  • 1 scoop Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 scoop Vegan Clean Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 4 oz Organic Decaf Coffee
  • Add 6 ice cubes (or even better 4 coffee ice cubes instead of 4 oz coffee)
  • Coconut milk (or coconut milk creamer) to suit


  • 1 tsp Ashwagandha


1. Blend all ingredients

2. Pour into a glass or mason jar and top with 2 shakes of Cinnamon

BENEFITS: Ashwagandha has extra health benefits and has been said to lower stress and balance hormones!

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Fudgesicles for Healthy Skin

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Vegan Fudgesicles for Healthy Skin


  • 1 cup unsweetened vegan milk of choice – use vanilla or chocolate almond milk or cashew milk or coconut milk
  • 2 scoops clean Vegan Protein – adjust scoops based on your sweet tooth and protein needs
  • If you need more fat in your diet add in 1 tbs of coconut oil or almond butter – fat is great for keeping you full and your skin healthy


  • 1 tsp cinnamon – for extra skin benefits
  • 2 tbs of unsweetened Vegan Chocolate Chips


1. Blend all ingredients

2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2 inch room (as the mixture expands it will expand)

3. Freeze for at least 4 hours

  • Optional before freezing: Add a few slices of strawberries, cashews or sliced coconut to the bottom of each popsicle mold.
  • To serve, dip the bottoms of the molds in hot water for a few seconds so the pops slide out easily.

4. Optional: Melt Vegan Chocolate Chips over low heat, be sure to stir frequently. Drizzle melted chocolate overtop.

BENEFITS: Dairy really impacted my skin so this is all dairy free!

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Vegan Cookie Dough for Healthy Skin

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Vegan Cookie Dough


  • 2 Scoops Keto Vegan Clean Protein (no filler ingredients)
  • 1 Scoop Unflavoured Fibre or 1 Tbs Chia Seeds
  • 1.5 Tbsp Almond Butter
  • 1/4 Banana
  • 1 Tsp Stevia
  • 5 tbs Unsweetened Almond Milk (to preference)
  • 1 Tsp Maca and Cinnamon (for extra skin benefits) *Optional


  • 1 Tbs Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips or 1/4 Cup of Berries


Blend everything together in a blender!

BENEFITS: This is protein packed & super filling. It serves one but can be refrigerated for 2 days. I love sneaking protein into everything as a vegan!

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Reawakening Beauty: Rose Smoothie for Gorgeous Skin

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Vegan Rose Smoothie


  • 2 Scoops Vegan Vanilla Clean Protein Powder
  • 1 Cup Organic Frozen Strawberries (sliced)
  • 1/2 Tsp Organic Rose Powder
  • 1 Tbs Maca Powder

Mix Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Drop Stevia or 1 Tbs Maple Syrup (optional to hide the bitter taste)


Mix dry + wet ingredients & blend in a blender until desired consistency!

BENEFITS: Protein is so amazing for healthy muscles and glowing skin. It also helps to keep your immune system healthy. Maca balances hormones and strawberries are loaded with fibre and vitamin C 🌸 all of which are wonderful for healthy skin.

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

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Vegan Chocolate Muffins


  • 3/4 Cup of Keto Vegan Chocolate Protein
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbs Maca Powder

Mix Wet Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Almond Butter
  • 3 Tbs of Maple Syrup or 3 Drops of Stevia
  • 1 Flax Egg
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 Cup Almond Milk


Mix dry + wet ingredients. Top with vegan chocolate chunks. Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes!

BENEFITS: Protein is so amazing for healthy muscles and glowing skin. It also helps to keep your immune system healthy.

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card

Vegan Lemon Smoothie

Reawakening Beauty Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegan Lemon Smoothie, Gluten Free Recipes, Gluten Free Cooking, Recipes for Healthy Skin
Lemon Smoothie


  • 2 Scoops Keto Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder (all natural ingredients)
  • 1/2 Fresh Lemon (seeded and peeled)
  • 12 Oz. Almond or Coconut Milk
  • Ice

*you can skip the ice and replace with frozen strawberries


Add the liquid (plant milk) to your blender. Always start with your liquid to make blending easier. Next add in the Vanilla Protein and the fresh lemon. Lastly add some ice (or frozen strawberries) to make the smoothie a little thicker.

Then finally blend, blend, blend and enjoy!

Pro Tip: Don’t forget the Ice! 6 cubes (1 cup), according to your taste.

Topping Options: Grate lemon and mint, and add to the top.

BENEFITS: Lemons have vitamin C which has been known to help produce collagen when used topically on the skin. So drinking this smoothie could help improve your collagen production. Also Vitamin C is known as an antioxidant that helps with free radical damage which causes premature aging and also improves your immune system. I personal recommend drinking this smoothie and not applying lemons directly to your face ; )

*Feel free to DM me with any questions regarding this recipe, the ingredients or their benefits.

Click here for a downloadable recipe card