Sunday, 24 August 2014

What's in my makeup bag? | August 2014

From top left clockwise - Ben Nye Luxury Powder | Real Techniques Powder Brush | Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner | MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation | Sleek Makeup Face Form | Sleek Makeup Brow Kit | Travel Atomiser | MAC Viva Glam Lipstick | Real Techniues Mini Trio | Le Volume De Chanel | Travel Makeup Tin | Rimmel London Brow This Way

I've been meaning to do one of these posts for some time as I always get asked what products my daily makeup routine includes. I rarely change what I use unless it's lipstick or blusher so these products are some of my favourites. I often use easy and convenient products that are small enough to carry around in my makeup bag day after day.

Powder - Ben Nye Luxury Powder in Banana (£7.50)
I've been using this powder for a long time and originally reviewed this product here. I love this powder for setting my foundation and colour works perfectly for my skintone. Carrying around the whole bottle can lead to powder getting everywhere so I usually depot a small amount of this product into an empty pot with a sifter.

Brushes - Real Techniques Mini Brush Trio (£9.99) & Powder Brush (£9.99)
I've become quite a hoarder when it comes to Real Techniques Brushes, so much so that I can't fit most of my favourites into my everyday makeup bag. I picked up the Mini Brush Trio a couple of weeks ago so I could fit more brushes into my makeup bag. It includes a mini foundation brush, shader brush for eyeshadow and a blush brush. I also have a Real Techniques Powder Brush to set my face with powder.

Liner - Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner in Black (£12)
This liner is essentially a felt tip pen and I love it. I don't reach for this often but I have it in my makeup bag as it makes flirty flicks fast and easy.

Foundation - MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation in NC42 (£25)
I've been wearing this foundation almost solidly since I first discovered MAC in 2009. In terms of finish nothing beats this foundation for me as it looks so natural with maximum coverage. The only downside is that this foundation doesn't last on my oily combination skin as long as other MAC foundations like the Studio Fix Fluid and Studio Fix Powder with Foundation. As with my powder, I depot my foundation so I don't have to carry around the whole tube on a daily basis. I use an empty 10ml travel tin (pictured) which I got from eBay allowing me to free up space in my makeup bag.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review | MAC Viva Glam V Lipstick

It's no secret that I have a fondness for rosy lipsticks and this MAC Viva Glam V (£15.50) is the perfect neutral pink.

When it comes to finding the right pink, I usually have to contend with shades looking far too bright for medium-toned skin. This particular shade however compliments my skintone so well that it rivals my favourite pink lipsticks. The colour is so wearable I can see it suiting a multiple of skintones.

The pearly finish on Viva Glam V means the colour pay-off is minimal which is a shame as I was expecting a richer colour. With a few swipes however the formula is buildable enough to cover even my dark pigmented lips. Once applied this lipstick lasts fairly well throughout the day.

Viva Glam V is gorgeously creamy and the lustre finish gives the lips a pretty shimmer. I usually don't like overly glossy or shimmery lipsticks but I've found the gold speckles in this product are not too overpowering. The finish makes this lipstick is very versatile but I've mostly worn it for my usual 'everyday makeup' looks. I can't wait to experiment with pairing this lipstick with a smoky eye or graphic eye liner.

I don't own many MAC lipsticks as I'm so content with various drug-store products but this was definitely a great buy for me and I would definitely repurchase this lipstick. It's also worth noting that for each sale of MAC Viva Glam Lipstick the full retail price (after VAT) is paid to MAC Aids Fund which helps people everywhere affected by HIV and AIDS.

Have you tried MAC lipsticks? What's your favourite?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

What I Wore | Pink Zara Skirt

I had so many photos from Saturday's outing to Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) I decided to post the details of my outfit separately. I knew I wanted to wear some colour to the event but I stayed true to my personal style - simple and understated.

I finally donned a skirt which has been hiding in my wardrobe since I bought it from Zara a couple of months ago. I love it but I haven't had an excuse to wear it until now. Considering this skirt is 'scuba' material, bright pink and really hugs my figure, it's actually quite flattering. I thought about pairing it with so many other different tops but eventually I settled on this crisp white shirt with sheer panel from Forever 21.

My shoes are a new buy from the ASOS sale and I got so many compliments on them. Initially I was unsure about purchasing 'mule heels' as I didn't think they'd fit with my personal style but I was so wrong! I love anything that's easy to throw on and I always prefer to be comfortable and fashionable (if possible). These shoes are so chic and really beautiful in person. I found these heels surprisingly comfortable even though I was walking around in them for most of the day!

Top & Necklace - Forever 21 | Skirt - Zara | Shoes - ASOS | Sunglasses - Topshop

What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Monday, 11 August 2014

Africa Fashion Week London 2014 | Highlights

I had my first taste of Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL) on Saturday with my friend Joyce (pictured above).

It was the fourth edition of the event and was held at London's Olympia in Kensington. The event was spread across two days (Friday 8th & Sat 9th August), showcasing collections from over 50 Designers. AFWL was founded by Ronke Ademiluyi and the first event launched in 2011. AFWL has been held annually in various locations across London since.

What I love about AFWL is the event gives African and African-inspired fashion a platform in the UK and also puts the spotlight on emerging African designers. I saw 3 catwalk shows on Saturday and managed to get a sneaky peek at the backstage action thanks to official hair sponsor of the show Motions.

There were various vendors at the event and the stall which really caught my eye was Kiyana Wraps (snaps of the wraps are in the second group of pictures below). There were also so many gorgeous outfits and hairstyles, and not just from those walking the catwalk! I had so much fun at the event and I took so many photos. Below is a small glimpse of what the event was like and I'll be posting what I wore in a separate post soon. 

Designers clockwise from bottom left AAMAA a la Mode (for Daviva) | G 321 | Njema Helena | Anthi G | RAAH

Top left models wearing Sylvia Owori | Bottom left Hairstylists 

Have you ever attended Africa Fashion Week London or similar events?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Style | High Waist Jeans

Isn't it great when you find a pair of jeans which actually fit perfectly? I get a strange sense of achievement when this happens, as for me it doesn't happen very often. Until the last month or so I've really struggled to find skinny high waist jeans that fit me properly. Most of the ones I tried which fit over my thighs were baggy around the waist and I (embarrassingly) couldn't even get my foot into a 'super skinny' pair from ASOS. With mid-rise jeans I usually throw a belt on to make the fit work but it doesn't seem to work as well with high waist jeans.

Just when I'd given up a friend from work prodded me to try Topshop's MOTO Black Joni Jeans. With so much buzz around these jeans already I probably don't need to say much about them. Topshop describes these as 'spray-on skinny leg jeans' and they really do fit like a glove. I recently found a Bright Blue Super High Waist pair in Miss Selfridge which are almost identical in look and fit to the Topshop Joni Jeans, and slightly cheaper. I'm now alternating between wearing the two even though we're in the height of the summer season. Admittedly, at times even the British weather is too hot to survive in these all day but these jeans are my go-to on rainy days. 

Have you ever worn high waist jeans?

Lesley x

Friday, 1 August 2014

Styling Short Relaxed Hair

This is one of my most read posts that I decided to revamp as the most common question I get from readers is how to style short hair in ways that don't cause damage. I started my relaxed hair journey in August 2010 with broken, uneven neck length hair. I couldn’t do much with this length, and having longer hair has made it easier to do low manipulation styles and generally let my hair be. That said, though styling short hair in healthy ways can be tricky, it is possible. You just have to be a lot more creative when finding work works.

Go heatless
Cutting the heat is really important and I know more than most that it's hard to give up those hot tools. The quicker you ditch them though, the easier it will be to prevent breakage. If you want straighter styles try roller setting to keep the heat to a minimum. If you're hair is too short to use rollers wet wrapping will be your best friend! When my hair was relaxed bone straight I didn't need to reach for my straighteners at all. I found simply smoothing the hair back with a gel (such as Aloe Vera) also really helped me disguise new growth.

Roll with it 
Instead of trying to work against your natural texture, work with it. This will make it easier to disguise new growth and I promise you won’t be fighting with your hair (as much if you’re anything like me) when it comes to styling. There are plenty of heatless styles you can try such as bantu knot outs, pin curls, twist outs, curlformers, bendy rollers and braid outs. I styled my shorter hair mostly like I do now - a lot of braid outs styled into messy buns. When I was at my shortest I would create a textured quiff or fringe (bangs) and use bobby to keep my ends off of my shoulders to protect them. You’d be surprised at how some careful pinning makes it look like you’ve got more length than you actually have.

Wig It
If you’re reluctant to do the above with your hair, extensions, half-wigs, drawstring ponytails, weaves, braids or twists are all an option to prevent hand-in-hair syndrome until you’ve got more length to work with. If you're going to rely on extensions etc please don't forget about your own hair underneath! There's a fine line between low maintenance and neglect - and I know about that all too well. 

Experimentation is key when it comes to finding the magic formula, and I’ve had my fair share of bad hair days (still do too) before landing on what works for me. As long as you’re not damaging your hair there’s no reason why discovering what works for you shouldn’t be an enjoyable experience. Have fun with it and take lots of photos! My one wish is that I took more photos when my hair was at it’s shortest.

Here are the few examples I could find of my hair in damage-free styles

(clockwise from left) Slicked back into low bun | Curlformers | Pincurls | Bendy rollers | Rollerset | Bantu knots

How do/did you style your short hair to keep it healthy?

Lesley x

Review | Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream

I got a sample of this Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream when I purchased Benefit's Gimme Brow Volumizing Fibre Gel a few months ago. I haven't ever tried Benefit skincare products before so I was curious how this would fare against my usual drug-store and Clarins favourites.

The cream itself is really rich and buttery. It smells absolutely beautiful and the packaging is so cute (but probably not that practical). The full-size product usually retails at £28.50 for 48.2g of product and it's suited to dry or normal skin types. I'd say my skin type is more combination, mostly oily but with a few dry patches. As the product is really thick I've avoided putting it over the whole of my face so I don't aggravate the oiliness. Instead I've been using this moisturiser for the last couple of weeks just on the dry areas and it's really helped soften them up and keep them hydrated. My face feels much smoother overall and feels more even.

Benefit claims this product contains an 'exclusive tri-radiance complex to help develop the skin's reserves of water'. I agree that it kept my usually dry patches hydrated but I couldn't see anything particularly special in the ingredients unfortunately, apart from Mango Butter. In fact the ingredients aren't hugely different from some of the drug-store brands I have in my beauty stash so I'm not sure the high-end price is entirely justified.

The product has lasted pretty well considering the size, but I have been using it sparingly. I could see myself buying similar products from Benefit when this product runs out, but I wouldn't buy this exact product as it seems like a huge expense for something I'd only use on small areas of my face.

Have you tried anything from Benefit? 

Lesley x