Monday, 24 July 2017

Hair | Braid maintenance


Braids are a great protective style and every Summer the humidity has me itching to try them again. I had my hair cornrowed at EbonyB Salon* recently (see my last style here) and it's been good to give my natural hair a break from daily styling. The fro is back now, but my hair feels so much better after being tucked away for a couple of weeks. I don't change my routine massively but I've outlined a few ways I care for my hair whilst it's braided up below.


Keep styling light
Hair that's braided doesn't tend to need as much moisture as when it's left exposed to the elements. When using products I find it's best not to oversaturate the hair or use heavy products as this only results in build-up. A little of a light moisturiser spritzed over the hair daily is usually all that's needed to give the hair moisture - look for milky rather than creamy products so it can be absorbed easily by the hair. I've been using Design Essentials Natural Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher (£9.00/236.5ml) * or Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner (£26/100ml)*. Both make my hair feel refreshed and I only need to spray a little over my braids. You can also just dilute your usual moisturiser or conditioner by adding a little water to it in a separate spray bottle. The idea is to give your hair a boost without overdoing it. I also like to apply a little of the Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste (£6.99/120ml) with a toothbrush to smooth my baby hairs/edges but again I don't overdo it to prevent build-up.

Protect 
Cotton sheets tend to soak up moisture and can cause friction on the hair as you move about whilst you sleep. To keep braids as smooth as possible whilst I sleep I'll protect them with a satin or silk scarf or pillowcase as these materials are gentle on the hair. I purchased most of my satin pillowcases from H&M but you can pick them up in a few places and scarves/headwraps can be bought from most Afro/Caribbean haircare stores.

Avoid scratching
Sometimes that itch creeps in and getting my hands up in my scalp for a good scratch is so tempting but it will cause braids to loosen and could damage your scalp. Instead gently pat or try applying a little of a natural oil or an oil mix into your scalp for relief. I like to massage in a little of the KeraCare Essential Oils (£7.60/120ml) or Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil (£21.50/30ml)* following moisturising.

Dry Shampoo
As a curly I've been engineered to be wary of both of these words so I avoided using dry shampoo on my curls for a long time. The right dry shampoo can refresh when you can't wash - look for one that's moisturising and doesn't leave residue. I've been using Batiste 2 in 1 Invisible Dry Shampoo & Condioner Vanilla & Passionflower (£4.49/200ml)*. I spray a small amount throughout my roots and gently massage in. It smells so good and gives a quick refresh.

Deep cleanse
Cleansing with water too frequently can make the style loosen quicker - especially if your hair had to be blown out or straightened to braid in the first place. I'd much rather be comfortable and have a clean scalp so I'll remove any buildup after a few days but it's up to you how often you cleanse. I don't use any special shampoos or conditioners for my braids, only what I use normally - but I dilute everything I use with water in a separate spray bottle before applying as this makes it easier to remove from the braids. I tend to only concentrate on my scalp so this is the only area I'll get wet and then I use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue / build-up on the length of the braids.

*samples and complimentary hairstyle - read my disclaimer here.

How have you been styling your hair?

Lesley x

Friday, 21 July 2017

Review | Iconic London Illuminators


Founded by makeup-artist Jade Elliot, beauty brand Iconic London has become famed for their Illuminators. These highlighter drops have been featured in just about every beauty magazine you can imagine and Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose and Makeupdoll are just a few big names amongst their growing fanbase. With highlighters being my favourite type of makeup product to use currently, it was only a matter of time until I got my hands on the Iconic London Illuminators to test them out for myself. So with so much hype around this brand do these Illuminators live up to expectations?

Shades: Left - Original, Right - Glow 

I have two of the three available shades - Original and Glow (£29.99 each) - which were sent over by the brand last month*. Original is described as a champagne shimmer to add a golden shine whereas Glow is a terracotta shimmer for a deep golden shine. The first thing to note is that these Illuminators are not for the faint-hearted. They give a serious glow which you can of course tone down but each drop is very concentrated. It's a fine shimmery liquid but it's not quite glittery. I have a lot of highlighters - liquid especially - but none that are quite like these.

Original is probably the most universal of the two shades and is more of a true highlight for me. As Glow is deeper in tone it looks more like a bronzer on my skin and seems more suited to darker skintones. Of the two I reach for the Original shade most or I'll apply them both together with the Original on the high points of my face (cheekbones, brow bone, cupid's bow) and Glow just on my cheeks in place of blush.


Shades: Left - Original, Right - Glow


Above I've applied mostly the Original shade just on my cheek and brow bones with a little of the glow shade dabbed on the cheek. You can apply these illuminators both under and above foundation, though I mostly tend to apply on top of foundation. With liquid highlighters in general the product can lift foundation depending on how you apply it but as I tend to use a damp beauty sponge to blend these into the skin I haven't had any problems.

In terms of wear I've been using these on and off for the past few weeks and the product tends to last all day without any touchups. It's been pretty humid in London and I have oily skin so I've been impressed with the longevity of these. They're a bit pricey in comparison to some other highlighters but factoring in how little you need and the staying power I'd say they're worth it.


You can get them from the Iconic London website here


*samples - read my disclaimer here.

Do you use highlighters?

Lesley x

Monday, 3 July 2017

Style | Okayla Jogsuit


80s fashion has been back in a big way this year and for a lot of the trends inspired by this era it's been a hard pass from me (shoulder pads and bum bags I'm looking at you). Pegged trousers and vintage-style sportswear however I've been into, massively, which you can probably guess from this outfit.


I shy away from wearing anything bright a lot but in the past few weeks my wardrobe has increasingly taken on more colours of the rainbow. I'm exaggerating, many new pieces are the same shades of blue, pink and yellow I'll admit but at least it's progress and a slide away from my habit of dressing head-to-toe in black.

This red two-piece jogsuit from Okayla* is amongst the bolder, colourful items. I love the fit most - it's comfortable without looking too cosy - and as there's a lot going on (for me at least) it doesn't really need much else worn with it so it ticks the easy to throw on box.

Jogsuit - Okayla* | Shoes - Vans 


Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


*sample - read my disclaimer here.


Are there any trends you've been loving this season?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation


Known for clinical formulations at affordable prices, The Ordinary has been the beauty brand on everyone's lips recently. In December 2016 they first announced they would be adding a foundation range - Colours - to their collection for less than £6 a bottle and the internet went into meltdown. There are currently two types of foundations available - the Serum Foundation (£5.70) and the Coverage Foundation (£5.90). Demand was so high for stock of these that the waiting list was 25,000 people-strong before the launch and in the first week of launching in May, orders amounted to 250,000 units. I was one of those hungry customers, placing orders of both foundations as I had to know if these were worth the hype and at less than £6 each what did I really have to lose?


I have been using the Serum Foundation over anything else recently so I'll only be reviewing this foundation here. It's described as a lightweight medium-coverage foundation with the feel of a serum (hence the name). The way in which the pigments are suspended in the formula are designed to cover imperfections and give a natural, 'flawless' finish. It comes in plastic packaging with a pump - making them easy to travel with. The foundation is also cruelty-free, doesn't contain alcohol or oil and has SPF 15.

There are currently 21 shades available which are divided into 3 categories:
1 for fair and light skintones (9 shades)
2 for medium skintones (5 shades)
3 for darker skintones (7 shades)
Within each category a second digit and a letter indicates the depth and undertone (P for Pink, R for Red, N for Neutral and Y for Yellow).

I have the Serum Foundation in two shades which I've swatched below - 2.1Y and 3.0Y.  (the darkest shade in the medium category and the lightest shade in the dark category both with yellow undertones). The product in the bottles look like two completely different shades but swatched on my arm there's not much of a difference between them. I'd usually need a much lighter shade than these but I've tanned in the past few weeks meaning that I can now get away with wearing either shade though of the two 2.1Y is the better match for my skintone.

Left 2.1Y         Right 3.0Y 

So does this foundation live up to expectations? In short, yes.
The coverage is very good - lightweight as claimed and with a comfortable matte finish. The formula is quite runny but blends well and gives a good even tone to my skin. It isn't obvious I'm even wearing foundation which I love. A few really stubborn dark marks can be seen through as it's not high coverage but these are easy to minimise with a dab of concealer if needed. I've tried this foundation both with and without The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer and it lasts far longer on my oily skin with a primer than without. I get 'smile lines' (as I laugh and smile a lot in person) and the foundation does seem to settle slightly into creases here but not as dramatically as I've found with other foundations. The tone stays true to how it applies too. I've often found with other foundations that they 'oxidise' into a strange orange shade (when they mix with my skin's natural oils and the air). Thankfully there's none of that with this foundation.

I can't help reach for it every day so it'll continue to be my go-to foundation and the price is so good I already know I'd buy it again.


You can get The Ordinary Colours on their website or in-store


Have you tried The Ordinary?

Lesley x

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Style | Fila T-Shirt Dress


The heatwave is still on in London so the layers are staying off and my outfits have become even simpler. A relaxed, comfy fit is usually high on the priority list too so it's not much of surprise this oversized Fila T-Shirt Dress made it into my wardrobe recently. 


I've been collecting a lot of classic sports logo tees so this dress is the perfect alternative for when I don't want to wear jeans. Like most of my clothes this dress doesn't need much styling either so it's easy to throw on without much thought. Vans are still my go-to for footwear, so I couldn't help pair them with this dress, though I'm wearing my white pair here this time. 

Dress - Fila via Urban Outfitters | Shoes - Vans via Schuh | Bag - Fjallraven Kanken | Watch - Nixon


*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Style | Anita & Green Jumpsuit


I've temporarily tossed my jeans to one side - it's just far too hot for denim right now. Instead I've been wearing a lot of jumpsuits, mostly made from light materials to keep me cool when the temperature is high.

Jumpsuit - Anita & Green* | Backpack - Fjallraven via Urban Outfitters | Shoes - Vans | Watch - Nixon*

One of my go-to's is this khaki Anita & Green jumpsuit. My speciality lately is taking dressy items and making them wearable for every day so I paired the jumpsuit with a pair of Vans Old Skool sneakers (which you'll have noticed I've been wearing a lot lately) and a Fjallraven Kanken backpack.



*samples - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Review | NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighters


I've been hooked on any (and all) illuminating products lately and some of my favourites are from the NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighter Collection.


(left to right above) Liquid Prism, Moon Glow, State of Flux, Golden Hour, Crystal Glare, Daytime Halo, Moonbeam, Gold Rush and Rose Quartz (£8/6.8ml)*  

Released earlier this year, the collection contains 9 shades in total with something to suit a range of skin tones. Each highlighter comes in a transparent plastic tube with a sponge-tipped applicator. They're a little reminiscent of the travel-sized BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (mentioned here) and as it's one of my favourite highlighters I was interested to see how these measure up. The tubes are a good size, small enough that they're easy to travel with but with enough product to last a decent amount of time. I swatched them below so you can get an idea of how pigmented these are though admittedly this photo doesn't do them justice - I'm not sure why I seem to always struggle with photographing highlighters! 


I tend to use highlighters on a daily basis (even on some days when I'm not actually wearing any other makeup) and these see a lot of use. I tend to dab the product directly onto the skin where needed or onto the back of my hands and then apply with my fingertips. Blending is easy with a few taps or I'll use a damp makeup sponge. They can be sheered out or built up pretty effortlessly so you have the option of a subtle or more intense glow. 

My favourite shades to use are Crystal Glare (white champagne pearl), Daytime Halo (true champagne pearl) and Moonbeam (soft pink pearl) which all give a natural-looking highlight and would work beautifully across a few different skintones. Daytime Halo and Moonbeam are the closest in tone to the BECCA Opal Spotlight Shimmering Skin Perfector but neither match it exactly so these aren't exactly dupes. They do match up in terms of quality and pigmentation however.

I also love to also use the shades Gold Rush (bronzed gold pearl) and Rose Quartz (rose gold pearl) which have a more metallic feel and are so gorgeous worn alone or over a light base for a subtle pop of colour. I reach for the other shades - Liquid Prism (white opal iridescence), Moon Glow (white pearl), State of Flux (lavender pearl) and Golden Hour (true gold pear) less often. Liquid Prism and Moon Glow have a more holographic look to them so these would be ideal if you like to be more daring with your highlight or for festival-inspired makeup looks. 

Overall I love this collection and have already grabbed another of the Crystal Glare shade in preparation for when it runs out! You can get them in-store or online at Boots and also at ASOS

*samples - read my disclaimer here.


Do you use highlighters?

Lesley x