Hair Oil

Sorry it’s been a little while since I blogged, life has been hectic to say the least. However, I have some fab blog content on the way. I’ve been trying out quite a few new things in the land of beauty. Not to mention my 30 days are now up for trying Halo Beauty vitamins. I’m looking forward to updating everyone on that.

However, today is all about the hair! My hair is incredibly fine and there is not much of it. I have a vitamin B12 deficiency and I also lack in vitamin D. So aside from getting a B12 shot once every 6 months, I’m always on the lookout for something to help my lackluster hair a little bit.

I’ve tried extensions, and I loved them so much. I am on a little break at the moment, but I was so impressed with how my hair grew underneath the extensions. My hair is actually at the longest it’s been in years at the moment. The amazing Tammy Better Than Natural is to thank for that. Check her out on Instagram @tammybtn.

When I had my extensions I used to put a little oil through the ends of the extensions to just keep it soft and untangled. So when I took them out, I carried on with a little oil through the ends.

So here are my top 3 favourites if you like an oil over anything else.

Elvive Extraordinary Oil

This is my absolute favourite. I have tried so many and I always come back to this. It’s light enough even for my thin hair, and it doesn’t leave it greasy.

I pop a pea amount through after washing and can leave my hair to dry on its own, or blow dry. It leaves my hair silky smooth and I can get a straightener through without any resistance.

Dove Pure Care Dry Oil

This is another go to for me. It’s not as light as the Elvive oil, but it does the job. Smell is lovely and a little goes a long way. The dry oil tag means it is not a greasy as some of the other oils on the market. I recommend this in close second to the Elvive.

Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil

This one irritates me (not literally) and I also like it in equal measure. I cannot put it in my hair, it is just too greasy. I’ve tried it numerous times, but alas it is not to be. It is just too heavy for my hair type. It’s a shame as it smells divine and it’s not cheap. It would suit thick hair.

So why is it on my top three I hear you ask? Simple. I use it on my body. It is lush as a body oil. My skin feels supple and smooth after applying it. Be warned though, as a little goes a very long way. You have to be careful not to turn into an oily mess.

So, there you have it. My favourite hair (and body) oils. Give them a try and let me know how they work out for you.

Have a good day!

Charlotte Tilbury Haul

I love Charlotte Tilbury products! The quality of them and the way they look and feel on the skin is just pure class. Therefore I was so excited to have time this week to visit the concession stand in Selfridges (London) and check out what’s new and what I’d like to try. I would have loved to get to the CT boutique in Covent Garden, but it wasn’t to be this time. Selfridges is a great second to the actual store though, and the service is second to none.

I’ve used the Magic Foundation in 5 medium before and loved it, but I had recently run out. So I decided to pick up another bottle of that. I love the coverage this foundation gives me, and they gave me some free samples of the primer to try with it too. I will do a day test of both the foundation with the primer very soon.

I also was drawn to the Magic Cream. It is an iconic part of the Charlotte Tilbury brand. Some would say what made the name a household name. I’ve always wanted to try it, but at £70 a jar I had to wait. It is boasted on the website as being loved by models and celebrities and claims to lift your complexion. I’ve tried many samples of the cream and the hyaluronic acid part is what interested me being over 35 and always looking for the next best thing to beat those pesky wrinkles. So I decided that I was going to invest in my face for research purposes (at least that is the story I’m sticking to if my husband asks). I have purchased the cream and I can’t wait to blog on how it works out for me.

The other items I was keen to get my hands on were the new lipstick shades. I adore the gold luxurious packaging of the Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks. They have a special edition shade to commemorate the Queen and her long serving monarchy, called, funnily enough, ‘The Queen’. It is a rich warm pink matte revolution shade that I cannot wait to try. I also purchased the returning favourite of the limited edition

K. I. S. S. I. N. G. Lipstick, ‘The Duchess’ (which you can see me wearing in the photo below). This is a beautifully buttery lipstick with a gorgeous sheen. It is named after the stunning Kate Middleton. I wore it to a glam event last night and loved the way it finished my look. I also picked up a couple of the soft lip pencils. These glide on and are the perfect compliment to the lipsticks.

The lovely thing about Charlotte Tilbury is the freebies you get when you purchase a substantial amount from them. Good size travel items too. This time I got a mask, a primer and a cleanser to try out. I also got some little sachets of magic eye rescue cream that I am keen to try. I’ve said this before in my previous blogs, but always ask for free samples. Some of my favourite products have been discovered through free samples.

So there we have it and I can’t wait to try it all out. Keep your eyes on the blog for future looks and tests of all these products.

Have a great day.

Too Faced Cosmetics – London Haul

Being in London this week, it seemed rude not to visit the new Too Faced store on Carnaby Street. I am not going to lie, as I got ready to leave the hotel to find the store I was very excited. I had seen the lavish launch all over Instagram back in December, and I was keen to see it in person.

The store itself did not disappoint. You can’t miss it gleaming and glittering in the dingy February gloom. I have to say that Carnaby Street is the perfect location for the brand, it is trendy and laid back in the same breath. The narrow pedestrian style street allows for the wow factor to sink in as you aren’t disturbed by the general hustle and bustle of London. Although I did visit at 10am on a Thursday morning, so Carnaby street was still pretty much sleeping.

The shop itself is beautifully laid out with all the products clearly categorised by theme and I particularly liked the ‘Jerrod Blandino favourites’ at the back of the store, that weren’t Too Faced, but products by other less known brands that were being promoted. This certainly worked on me as you will find out later!

The staff welcomed me warmly. I was served by a lovely Canadian MUA, who didn’t follow me around, but asked if I needed any assistance. I asked her for a couple of products I wanted to look at and she helped me immediately. My main reason for being there was to get colour matched for Born This Way foundation. The lady asked if I would like my whole face done with the product. This was fantastic and I got the opportunity to try some of the other products too, which in turn lead to me buying extra products. She talked me through what she was using and why it was good for my skin tone, texture etc. she used some of the rose oil that was in the Jerrod favourite section as well as the hangover primer. My skin felt and looked amazing, so this little bit of detail had me sold on the product. The MUAs in the store were both so knowledgeable and represented the brand professionally. A definite plus to my experience in the shop.

The Born This Way foundation was matched perfectly and I have to say, having worn it for the rest of the day it stayed flawless. It has more of a natural coverage to it, rather than full coverage. However it is very build-able and so it could be made more full coverage. The setting spray was the hangover 3 in 1 product, which has a light fresh smell and also found its way into my shopping bag.

I had a wonderful time in the Too Faced store. I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who is looking for a lovely shopping experience. We spend our time online so much, sometimes some interaction with other makeup lovers is the perfect way to discover new products that we might not have known about. I would also recommend this to both experienced makeup lovers as well as anyone new to makeup and who wants a really good steer on what to get.

My final purchases were:

⁃ Born This Way foundation in Light Beige

⁃ Hangover 3 in 1 spray

⁃ Too Faced Chocolate Gold palette

⁃ Better Than Sex Mascara

⁃ Glow Job Face Mask

⁃ Aerin Rose Oil

– Peach Perfect Matifying Loose Setting Powder

Travelling light … what’s in my travel makeup bag?

Following on from my last blog, where I talked about my top 5 makeup picks, I got to thinking about my upcoming trip to London and what I’m going to take with me. I always carry a little makeup bag in my hand luggage wherever I go, and the mini makeup kit I’m about to share actually was all I had when I went to Baku late last year. I travelled with just a back pack and this makeup bag saw me through the 4 days I was there.

SOS … send supplies.

Iconic pigment sticks are my first absolute life savers when it comes to traveling light. These little beauties can be used as foundation, concealer and contour. That’s exactly how I used them in Baku, and the coverage is just right. To deepen up that contour and give some definition, a teeny tiny Hoola soft matte bronzer from Benefit does the job. It even comes with a tiny little brush applicator (not that I would use that, I took a mini Sephora brush kit instead). Blush, I travel with a Sephora own brand duo in a pink and a apricot colour, they also double as eye shadow and work a treat. My eye pencil is a mini from Makeup Forever called Aqua XL in jet black. It’s soft and blend-able, so you can still get that smokey eye.

The little palette you can see in the picture is just lush! It’s one of the Tarteist pro to go palettes in mini version. The colours are beautiful, with a mix of neutrals in matte mixed with some shimmer shades to pick up a day to night look. Totally blends out and you can create more than one look with this little palette. She may be little, but she is fierce! For mascara I have a couple of minis in the bag, one being the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes in black, and the other being the Benefit Roller Lash, also in black. You can never have too many mini mascaras in your travel bag.

The skincare routine I travel with is a mix of my favourite Lancôme goodies. Whenever I buy a new full size product, I ask for free samples and save them for travel purposes. Don’t be scared to ask when you buy products for samples. Some of my best beauty discoveries over the years have come from free samples. I would love to know what’s in your makeup travel bag. Any beauty hacks that you always use when traveling? One thing that isn’t in my bag (yet), but will be is a small tub of Vaseline. It acts as a lip balm, eye makeup remover and is great on dry skin after being in the aircraft cabin for hours. Have a great day!

Top 5 Makeup Products

I have seen lots of bloggers and YouTubers doing this lately and it got me thinking about my top 5 favourite makeup products. My absolute go to, hands down, desert island picks? It’s a really hard one, but I think I’ve got it … well, maybe.

I decided that I would split this into my top 5 makeup picks and then do a separate top 5 beauty picks in another blog (including skincare).

So, here we go.

Number 1: palette choice!

This took me ages, as I needed to think about day to night. A palette that could give me everything I need. I’m traveling to London this week, so I decided to go with which ever palette made it into my suitcase.

My choice? The Morphe 39A Dare to Create palette. This palette has everything you could want, from 7 amazing base/transition shades to 31 extra eyeshadows that you could literally create any look with. From a subtle pretty peachy day look to a hardcore dramatic cranberry smokey eye, this palette has it all. It’s not exactly small, so you couldn’t pop it in your handbag, but it is beautiful.

If you want to get this palette, you better be quick as it’s about to be discontinued.

Number 2: highlight/bronzer kit.

If I had more than 5, I would be going for separate pieces. However, sticking with the challenge of only 5 items, I have to go for the NYX Born to Glow highlighting palette. Totally affordable and has everything you could need to create a look. I use the darker shades to bronze/lightly contour and there is even a lovely champagne colour that looks gorgeous on your cheek bones and temple to give your face the perfect glow.

Number 3: Lips.

This was sooooooo tough. What do I pick? A gloss, a liquid lip, velvet, matt? The list is endless. In the end I went for a staple favourite of mine. This is what I reach for time and time again, mainly due to its staying power and how stunning it looks on the lips.

My choice has to be the Kryolan High Gloss in the colour Wave. This is stage makeup and favoured by drag queens too, so famed for its staying power and pigment. I picked this colour as it’s so versatile. A beautiful peachy/rose gold colour that matches both a natural day look or a dramatic eye. Just perfect!

Number 4: Mascara!

Easy. Too Faced Better than Sex (or Love as it’s called here in Dubai) Mascara. I love this product. I have such small lashes, and I know that if I pop a slick of this on, my eyes will pop and I’ll feel lovely. If it can make my lashes look good, then it is definitely worth it.

Number 5: Loose Setting Powder.

There are lots of contenders for this one, but in the end my old favourite won. Laura Mercier, Loose Setting Powder is everything and more. If you get just one product on my list, this is it. You’ll never look back. My makeup looks flawless when I use this. I get through tubs of the stuff!

So, there we have it. A mix of drugstore and slightly more high end. I think I’m going to take all these products with me to London this week and see how I get on.

I’ll blog my progress for you to see.

Ps. Don’t forget to grab the Morphe palette before it goes.

Have a great day!

Girls night in! Sephora Masks Review

I love a good pamper! Nothing makes me happier than an appointment at my favourite beauty spa. But sometimes when I’m saving my pennies, a little pamper party at home is just as good.

In fact, if I have had a bad day, popping a little mask on and a soak in the tub with a candle burning, is just what a girl needs to rejuvenate. It’s like when you are on a diet and ‘they’ say you shouldn’t treat yourself with food. A mask is a great option. A chocolate smelling one is even better!

So, if you want some great and reasonably priced masks for just about every part of your body … look no further than Sephora. They are also so pretty in their packaging, they make great presents.

Lotus Face Mask:

Locks in water to reduce the signs of fatigue and strain for a stress-free and rested appearance.

These masks are made of a lightweight fiber mesh that means none of those messy moments with mud, cream or gel.

It is absolutely gorgeous. It smells divine and sits on the skin beautifully.

Argan Hand Mask:

Provides hands with a more even skin tone for an antiaging effect.

This mask is based on Asian beauty rituals and feels so indulgent on the hands. My hands felt so soft after use and it continued well into the next day. This mask is great for dry skin.

Avocado Hand Mask:

Offers intense nutrition to nourish and soothe hands.

I haven’t used this one yet, but I have it on good authority that it is wonderful.

Coconut Hair Mask:

A hair mask with targeted benefits to hydrate and repair hair while you sleep.

This is my favourite item out of all of them. It is just so thick and luxurious. The smell is amazing. I love wearing this through the night and then washing my hair the next morning with my Kiehl’s Amino Shampoo and Conditioner. My hair thanks me too!

So, the next time you want a little bit of happiness that isn’t chocolate or wine, I recommend the Sephora collection.

Diversity in Makeup – reaction to Tarte Foundation Launch

Diversity in Make-Up

If we go back to the 1950s, makeup was advertised and promoted based on a very limited shade range. It was also aimed at housewives who had the time to perfect the thick ivory cream foundation base and pink lips. With the austerity of the 1940s on its way out, people had more money to spend and women were wanting to spend it on cosmetics. It was as if the industry was lifting the dreary harshness of war and women were literally painting on a new face.

Avon was launched in the 1950s and companies like Boots the Pharmacy were experimenting with concealer, all be it in one colour, an ivory stick to ‘mimic’ the flesh. As long as that flesh was ivory in colour. The advertising campaigns were predominantly pale skinned women or movie icons of the age, looking chic and coiffed with the look of the day.

Fast forward to 2018. I am a white woman and I love my makeup. I have no problem in creating looks with a vast choice of everything makeup related. But being on makeup brands social media and influencer pages, I recently see so many of my favourite influencers calling out brands, major brands, for their lack of diversity when it comes to shade range for women and men of colour. Rihanna and her Fenty beauty range have challenged the social norm in shade range in 2017, with the launch of 40 colours in foundation. There was a round of applause across the beauty community with this launch, and other brands are following suit. My question would be, why has it taken until now for this to happen?

A quick google search and it reveals hundreds articles written in top magazines about how to find your best shade match for foundation, there are product placement advertisements in magazines focused on top luxury makeup brands pushing their latest product to us. We can get our hands on anything we want in the world of makeup, thanks to international shipping, but still we see the diversity of makeup shades isn’t there.

Now, you may wonder what on earth I’m doing bothering to write this when I have clearly stated that I have no problem grabbing a shade to match my skin tone? The truth of the matter is that it bothers me that in an age where it isn’t acceptable to discriminate, the fact some people can’t access makeup is ludicrous.

Fenty beauty shouldn’t have to lead the way in 2018 and shame other companies into extending their range. The range should be all encompassing. I saw an influencer today say that they wouldn’t be reviewing the new Tarte Shape Tape Foundation due to the limited range, and someone said that she shouldn’t worry as another 10 shades are going to be released. In my mind I’m screaming ‘why do the other 10 shades have to be released later?’ An afterthought. If you haven’t got your entire collection together, don’t release it. It’s not OK to leave people out.

The beauty industry is worth a whopping estimated $445 billion dollars (based on statistics taken from May 2017), with women/men of colour spending more than twice as much than the general market on cosmetics. Yet the diversity in makeup and brand choice for them often leaves a lot to be desired.

At the beginning of this article, I referenced the 1950s and how coming out of a war and austerity meant the beauty industry was starting to flourish. The shade ranges were aimed at pale complexions and housewives with time on their hands. Over time the housewife analogy has faded. We read the ‘Good Housewife Guide’ with a gleeful chuckle at how funny it was to be seen as the pretty little thing your husband came home to at the end of a long day.

“Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.”

Yet the way brands view their target market still seems to be stuck in a time where this was seen as the social norm for women. It’s not OK to be objectified in this way, yet it’s still OK for discrimination to be lavished in other ways? No. No it’s not. Makeup shouldn’t even be in this debate. Makeup is fun, it shouldn’t ever be political.

I work with teenagers of over 60 different nationalities, they are excited by makeup and are enjoying experimenting with it. It’s a right of passage if you like. We grow and we want to be able to wear makeup and high heels. Our expression and freedom of that expression is what makes us who we are. Yet as I sit in my classroom and look around at the students I teach, I listen to their woes for the future and more pressingly, their excitement for the party they are attending this weekend! They are discussing their skin colour, their choice of makeup and they are calling out the brands for the lack of choice. They are telling their friends what to buy and what not to buy. They are watching the beauty influencers on YouTube and Instagram and Snapchat, and they are taking on board what they say. They are scathing in their ridicule for reviews of products that don’t diversify.

They will make their minds up on makeup and the brands that choose to comply with diversity and those that don’t. A makeup revolution is coming, what took it so long?

Skin and Haircare favourites

Being over 35 (did I mention that), I have tried and tested so many products over the years. Some failed dreadfully, some tagged along for a while, whereas others stayed for the long haul. I used to be a slave to the familiar when it came to skincare, not in the actual ritual of taking care of my skin, that has never wavered, I mean in the sense of sticking religiously to the same products. Even when I knew it was game over deep down for a product, due to a change in my skin or the product just wasn’t working like it used to, I would cling on as it was familiar and safe. I think fondly of my Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream as I type this. I loved the smell, the texture, the way my 20 something skin felt when I used it. Even early 30 something me still reached for the tube everyday, despite my beautician telling me that I needed to progress to something a little more substantial for my skin type. I would promise I would change, but every time a tube ran out, there I was on the Dermalogica website ordering more. However, I have to say that I did manage to move on from this amazing product last year, and despite having half a tube in the back of a drawer (for old times sake), I no longer use it. You can do it, you just have to know what you are moving on to.

As I move into 2018 and I do my annual reflection on the year gone and what’s to come, I decided this year to extend my reflection to what has worked well for me in health, beauty and wellness this year. So, here I am, having spent the last week putting together this list of what comes with me and what I am leaving in 2017 (and probably should have been left in 2015 if I’m being completely honest with myself).

As always with these things, it is a personal account of what I love, and might not be to everyone’s taste.

Kiehls Amino Acid Shampoo & Conditioner.

I have such fine hair and not much of it. I have been diagnosed with a severe B12 deficiency and a slight Vitamin D one too. I live in the sunshine, so the D diagnosis was surprising. Nothing some shots can’t fix every now and then though. But the limp, fine hair was seriously starting to do my head in (no pun intended). I use Nanogen shampoo and conditioner every time I wash my hair, as it is designed for people with thinning hair. But every week, I treat myself once with a lovely hair wash with Kiehls.

It says on the website:

  • Creates a rich, creamy lather for a delightful shampoo experience
  • A special blend of moisturising ingredients imparts softness and shine as the formula adds body and fullness
  • Suitable for all hair and scalp types when mildness is desired
  • A customer favourite

I have to agree, my hair feels so soft, full and bouncy after using this. The coconut oil I am sure plays a big part in the softness. I am not sure if it will be as effective on shorter hair as it really does leave everything so soft, the structured style type of person might not like it as much.

L’OCCITANE Precious Cleansing Foam

I absolutely adore this cleanser. It is light, luxurious, and does the job. My skin feels clean and soft after every use. The smell is divine and the pump delivers a generous helping of the liquid in a rich foam.

I have used this for about a year now, it is a firm favourite and I have also delved into other L’Occitane products after using this one.

One their website it says:

“L’Occitane revealed the exceptional anti-ageing powers of immortelle – an essential oil proven to enhance circulation, protect against free radicals and increase collagen synthesis”.

I am not 100% what the immortelle is, but it seems to be doing its job on my skin.

Eau Thermale Avene Mousse Cleansing Foam

Another favourite of mine. Amazing for sensitive skin and even though it is pretty pricey, it is totally worth it. The glutamic acid is an active ingredient and this matifys the skin, taking away redness and soothing.

On the website it says: “Formulated for normal to combination sensitive skin, Cleansing Foam gently cleanses and removes make-up from the face and eyes”.

It does exactly what it says, with a lovely scent. I highly recommend this product.

L’Occitane Immortelle Oil Makeup Remover

Anti aging properties, the oil really removes every last trace of makeup. I love using it after a full on face of makeup on a night out. It takes everything off. The texture of the oil is lovely and has a great scent. My skin feels smooth and well cleansed afterwards.

Sephora Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes

These are the best things I’ve ever used to take off my makeup. They are so refreshing and the smell is absolutely gorgeous. The quality of the actual wipe is soft and thick. Some of the wipes I’ve used in the past feel very flimsy and the product isn’t really saturated into it. These wipes are different. They are inexpensive and feel luxurious on the skin. They remove everyday makeup and leave my skin hydrated.

Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel

An oldie but still a goodie … my smoothing cream might have evolved but this Cleansing gel is still my everyday go to. The gel pumps out and then once water hits it, froths up leaves my skin clean and smooth. The scent doesn’t overpower, and it is just a lovely fresh cleaning agent for the skin. Clearing away makeup residues is the best thing. I love having a fresh face!

There are some more to add to this list, but where does it end. I could easily keep going, but I need to be strict with my absolute go to, everyday routine products. I will continue to reflect on my favourite moisturiser, serums, eye creams and primers in a later blog.

Now onto what I am leaving behind in 2017. Some of the items on this list have been a long time coming, but I feel that writing it down finalises its demise.

Bare Minerals Pure Plush Gentle Deep Cleansing Foam

This product is just too harsh for my skin. The citric smell is too overpowering and it leaves my skin dry and tight. I did persevere with it for a good 2 months, and I have gone back to it a few times to test it again. Alas, it just isn’t for me.

Hollywood California Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Mask

This is a controversial choice I understand, but it just isn’t for me. I find the way it sits on my skin just too sticky and heavy. It stings as well, which I am sure isn’t right. I just don’t feel that for the price that this is a product that I can recommend.

Dove Cleansing Bar

This was one of my quickie makeup removers. I used it so many times over the years, going through bars of the stuff. But, it is no more. I have to let it go. It’s basically like using a harsh soap on my skin these days and I can’t do that anymore.

So there you have it. My go to products and some that I’m leaving in 2017. I would be very interested to know what products you like to use.