Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How To | Braidout [Video]

My big fluffy braidout tutorial is finally up on my YouTube channel. This method allows me to get a fairly even wave throughout regardless of the variety of textures I have in my hair. This is definitely a great transitioning style! I used my usual products to moisturise each section - Root2Tip Honey Rain Juice & Triple M Miracle Moisture Milk.

The Video: 

Have you tried a braidout?

Lesley x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Summer Wardrobe | Strappy Sandals

Lately I've been loving wearing heeled strappy sandals. I don't wear heels often unless they're cleverly concealed platform boots as me and heels are usually a disaster. FYI I tend to look like Bambi trying to walk around in roller skates, but I'm hoping by wearing these more often I'll eventually look slightly more elegant in heels.

I got the two black pairs from Primark and the pink pair from Desire Clothing. I can't remember the exact prices but all of them were under £20, so a total bargain for me. I love how these shoes instantly transform my outfits, making it look like I've put in more effort. I'd love to add a white pair to the small collection above to finish off a few outfits which don't quite work with black or pink shoes.

What's in your summer wardrobe? 

Lesley x

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Relaxed Hair Update | July 2014

I relaxed my hair after 5 long months, which seemed to be crawling by until it finally got to relaxer day on Monday. In typical fashion I didn't really feel like relaxing my hair by this point but I went ahead as I've had some time off work and I knew I wouldn't have this much time on my hands again for a while. I feel like the relaxer process went well but I've lost the ability to apply and smooth the relaxer as fast as I used to. I guess leaving so much time between relaxers has left me a little rusty.

I did the half half method as usual using ORS Olive Oil Lye Relaxer in normal (my relaxer process is detailed here). I relaxed the back half first and then repeated the same process separately on the top half. I spent about 4-5 minutes applying the relaxer and left it on for 9 minutes on the back sections and for 12 minutes on the front sections in total. For the first time I coated my hair from root to tip in oil (I usually just put it on the previously relaxed parts). I also put vaseline on my ends, the line of demarcation and my edges as well as basing my scalp with it.

I really didn't want overprocessing (if you didn't already guess) and overall the results were near perfect. I have actual curls throughout my hair which I'm really excited about. You can see how textured it looks post-wash in the picture above. I used my Root2Tip Protein Balance Masque to restore protein levels and my hair is so soft and bouncy.

My transition to texlaxed (info here) has taken me so long to get right and I feel like I can finally visualise how my hair will look when it's fully texlaxed. I still have a very long way to go though and I've avoided taking accurate length check pictures in months to not discourage myself from transitioning. It's quite daunting basically starting over after spending years growing out my hair and I've (reluctantly) given up on the idea of maintaining mid-back length hair during my transition. My hair is about mid-back length now but I plan to cut off about an inch or so soon.

I also plan to document my transition more in the following months as I have no idea how long it's taken me to get to this point or realistically how far I've got to go.

What have you been doing to your hair recently?

Lesley x

Saturday, 19 July 2014

NOTD | Topshop Matte Nails in Easy Peasy

I picked up this Topshop Matte Nail Polish in Easy Peasy (£6) the other week from their Oxford Street store and I love how it looks on. I've never really been a fan of matte nails and it was hard to resist putting my usual shiny topcoat on these but I've really warmed to the flat finish.

If you've ever been to the Topshop store in Oxford Street London, you'll know there's huge selection of nail colours. I'm not sure what made me pick up this dusty grey amongst the shelves of glittery, bright and metallic shades but I was just drawn to it. I've mentioned a few times on my blog that I prefer more muted tones, though I am trying to be a little more adventurous in general with my style. That doesn't mean I'll stop wearing what I love most though and this nail polish suits me to a tee.

What have you been wearing on your nails recently?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Skincare | Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra Removal

This post has been in the pipeline for some time but I've been reluctant to post this as the look of my skin has been a sensitive issue for me. During my teenage years I struggled with terrible bouts of acne and this really knocked my confidence as a person. My spots have calmed down dramatically in the last few years but it's taken me some time to be happy with the look of my skin. Apart from monthly breakouts my main skin concern is the Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra (DPN) on my face and neck. You may have noticed it in some of my pictures - DPN is the appearance of round brown, almost black, spots which look a little like moles or skin tags. As I've got older the number of them have increased and I eventually decided to get them removed.

Unfortunately there isn't a huge amount of information on DPN online and less so on where to get it removed in the UK, which is mostly what prompted me to post this. You can get it removed at Absolute Aesthetics so I met with Vicki Smith, Aesthetic Practitioner, at their London clinic in the beginning of March this year. She confirmed that I had DPN which could be removed with Advanced Electrolysis.

I had my treatment on Friday 21 March and opted for one 30 minute session (£130). You can vary the length of the treatment from 15 to 45 minutes. Most of my DPN was treated apart from the smaller ones above my eyes and around my temples. My cheeks were numbed with anaesthetic and here there was no pain but other parts of my face felt uncomfortable during the process, especially my jaw line and under eye area.

Straight after the treatment my face was very red, scabby and puffy. I looked horrible. After the treatment it was suggested to avoid makeup and stay out of the sun. It took about 3 days for the redness to subside and the small scabs gradually fell off over the next week. I was left with no scarring, and most of my DPN had been removed with the exception of the bigger ones which reduced in size and faded in colour.

It's been several months since I had the treatment and overall it worked really well. Initially I thought I wouldn't get this treatment done again because I rarely have a few days of down time to allow my skin to heal. However, seeing how much clearer my skin looks has had me toying with the idea of going back to Absolute Aesthetics to remove the remaining DPN. It wasn't until I compiled all the pictures together that I realised how successful the treatment was! I'm feeling a lot more positive about my skin finally and I'm at least wearing less makeup, though I haven't abandoned it completely...yet.

Have you had any skin treatments before? 

Lesley x

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer Wardrobe | Round Sunglasses

I often take a 'less is more' approach to styling, especially with accessories, and this has led me to use the same oversized aviators every summer for the past couple of years. In general I'm trying to be slightly more daring with my style, which is pretty simplistic, but I've started small by changing up my accessories.

One of my friends from work has the coolest round sunglasses which he got from Urban Outfitters last year and ever since I spied them on him I've had a little obsession with finding the perfect pair for me. There's so many gorgeous retro-inspired shades on the high-street at the moment I've found it hard to resist purchasing a few. These 3 here are only a small selection of the round sunnies I've been hoarding this summer.

Primark | Topshop | ASOS (from top to bottom)

It's hard for me to blog about my personal style and not include an item from Primark. Everything in Primark is super cheap and, it's a bad habit but, this leads me to buy a lot. Their sunglasses range from £1-£3 and these Primark Round Tortoiseshell Sunglasses (£3) are just one of many I've got from Primark this year. This is the only pair I have in tortoise shell and I love the oversized look. I'm wearing this Primark pair in my last OOTD.

The Topshop Mimi Metal Round Sunglasses (£12) are currently my favourite sunnies and surprisingly I can pair them easily with a lot of my outfits. To me they're 'teashades' or 'John Lennon glasses' but with a more modern finish. I've often avoided these types of round glasses in the past as I thought they'd look awkward on my face, but these are the perfect size.

The ASOS Black Metal Round Sunglasses (£15) are also a flattering size but the wire-look frame give these a more 60s-inspired finish than the Topshop sunnies. These shades work perfectly with summer festival staples - floaty dresses (like this one), patterned pieces, loose tees and clothes with fringe detailing.

It's ironic that I post this as it's been pouring with rain in London today but I have been relying on my sunnies quite a lot lately!

What's in your summer wardrobe?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Review | Clinique Chubby Stick Whoppin' Watermelon

It's no secret that I'm a fan of magazine freebies and I was excited to find a Clinique Chubby Stick with this months Glamour magazine (UK). The shade I got was Whoppin' Watermelon which is a beautiful rosy pink. I've been dying to try the Clinique Chubby Sticks but I haven't until now as the cost has always put me off.

Various makeup brands now have products similar to the Chubby Stick. I've tried the Bourjois Paris Color Boost Lip Crayon and the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain. Both of these retail at half the cost of the Clinique Chubby Stick which is £17. I rarely pay more than £10 for individual makeup products (unless it's foundation, concealer or a makeup palette) so £17 for a lip balm is a high price for me.

The colour of the product is gorgeous and there's currently 18 different shades of the original Chubby Stick in total. My natural lip line is dark brown, so I have to apply a few layers to get a decent colour pay-off. Even though this is a balm, I'd prefer a richer colour. Clinique has a range of Chubby Stick Intense balms which deposit more colour and are probably be more suited to me.

The product is easy to apply and very moisturising. It lasts fairly well on my lips but no more than the other balms I have in my makeup stash. I have found the Bourjois Crayon I own to last slightly longer than this product too. I love the crayon style packaging with twist bottom. This sample product is slightly different to the product on sale from Clinique as the cap on this is made of transparent plastic instead of silver. My guess is that this freebie is smaller too but there's no measurements listed on the sample to confirm this.

Overall I think it's a really pretty colour and I do like the product, I just don't think I could ever part with £17 for it.

Have you tried Clinique Chubby Sticks or similar lip crayons?

Lesley x

Sunday, 6 July 2014

FOTD | The Bright Lip

I haven't done a makeup look in a long time and that's because I rarely change my makeup routine. I usually apply a different lipstick and that's about it. Most of the lipsticks I own are pretty safe tones ranging from pink to brown but I do have a few which push me out of my comfort zone, like the lipstick I'm wearing here. I bought this Barry M Lip Paint (151) quite some time ago but I've barely worn it probably as I've never felt like I could pull this look off.

That said, this lipstick is the perfect stand-out lip for summer but as it is so bright I kept the rest of my makeup very simple here. I applied a small amount of foundation to my skin and used a little NC42 concealer from MAC Pro Conceal and Correct Palette in Medium Deep for dark spots on my face. I then used the burnt coral shade from the MAC palette on the apples of my cheeks. I followed my usual routine for my brows and set them in place with a little Gimme Brow. I kept makeup on my eyes minimal, opting for just a little Thick & Fast mascara. I wanted a slight glow so highlighted my face with the brightest shade from Sleek Makeup Glo. I finished off by dusting some Ben Nye Banana Powder on my T-zone. 

1 Sleek Makeup Glo in Bronze Baby | 2 Ben Nye Banana Powder | 3 Sleek Makeup Brow Kit in Dark | 4 MAC Pro Conceal Palette in Medium Deep | 5 MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation in NC42 | 6 Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium Deep | 7 Soap & Glory Thick & Fast Mascara | 8 Barry M Lip Paint in 151

What makeup looks have you done recently? 

Lesley x

Friday, 4 July 2014

Hairstyle | Big Fluffy Braidout

I used to always favour the twist out for heatless styling but it has failed me in recent months as my hair doesn't hold the style for very long. I've been finding that my hairstyle stays intact much longer when I do braidouts. I tried a slightly different technique the other day for my braidout and the results were exactly what I was looking for with minimal fuss.

I loved the definition and my hair had a relatively uniform wave despite me having a mixture of relaxed, texlaxed and natural hair. My hair was absolutely huge too where I'm almost 18 weeks post relaxer and my haircut has given my hair more fullness. Admittedly, the volume made me a little self-conscious as I wasn't used to it but I received a lot of compliments whilst wearing my hair like this. I am starting to think that big curly styles suit me a lot better than straight hair, which I never would have said a few years ago.

Unfortunately, despite taking quite a few snaps before I headed out the door Wednesday morning, I managed to cut the top and sides of my head off (including my eyebrows in many photos). As a result, the true fullness of my hair can't be seen. It's a shame my arms aren't the slightest bit longer so I could get my whole head in! When I got home that evening I didn't have the time to set up my tripod and take better pictures but I'm definitely going to try this style again anyway. I'm hoping it works just as well so I can make a tutorial.

What have you done with your hair lately?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Review | Root2Tip Protein Balance Masque

I was kindly sent Root2Tip Protein Balance 'Elasticity Retention' Hair Masque (£12.99)* a couple of weeks ago and it's one of the few protein treatments I've tried which doesn't dry my hair out.

I'm always impressed with the ingredients in Root2Tip products and the formula of the Protein Balance Masque does not disappoint. It contains a variety of oils, including Coconut, Grapeseed, Avacado, and Meadowfoam Seed Oil. The latter I've not noticed in a conditioner before, and I wasn't quite sure what it was. After a quick Google search a couple of websites state that Meadow Foam Oil is found in a lot of beauty products for the hair as it provides excellent slip, adds shine, is non-greasy and helps prevent moisture loss.

The masque is also made with henna, silk protein and wheat protein in order to strengthen the hair. I love using henna on my hair, but I was a little worried this would make the masque quite gritty and hard to wash out. The texture of this product is actually very smooth and buttery which makes it a breeze to rinse. The balance of the henna in the product is perfect for me. If you're curious about using henna but don't want to do a full henna treatment, it's definitely worth giving this product a try.

I constantly emphasise the importance of deep conditioning on my blog but I tend to encourage using moisture heavy products rather than protein.  I know first hand that using too much protein can cause breakage, which meant until the last year or so I've been very cautious about using any protein at all. However if you have chemically treated hair like me or rely on heat often, using protein regularly is an essential step in keeping the hair strong but you have to balance it properly with moisture treatments.

My hair feels very soft after conditioning and the last time I used this product my hair had so much volume. I've found no dryness either, which means I don't have to follow this product with a moisturising treatment afterwards like I usually would with a protein treatment. I'm going to continue using this conditioner every 2-4 weeks to keep the balance of protein in my hair.

Root2Tip products can be purchased from their website. 

*sample. Read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Root2Tip products? 

Lesley x