Sunday, 30 November 2014

Black Beauty & Hair Dec/Jan 2015

The latest issue of Black Beauty & Hair is out now, fulfilling all your needs for festive makeup looks and hairstyle ideas, a handy gift guide and fashion news. Our hair can take a battering during this cold season and also inside this issue is my article on protecting your hairline from the elements. There's a sneak peek of my article below.

Have you got a copy?

Lesley x

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Hairstyle | Flat Twist Side Bun

I took a few quick snaps of this twisted style which I wore on my birthday last Wednesday. This season's lack of light is really wreaking havoc with my blog pictures. I really don't like the yellow-y hue that comes with taking indoor pictures under generic lighting but I guess that's just how it's going to be for the next couple of months.

To do this style I created a rough parting down the middle of my hair from my forehead all the way to my neck. I then flat twisted each side all the way around my head before gathering the two twists together on the left side of my head to make a messy bun. I wore my hair like this for two days and it was great for keeping my ends moisturised during this cold weather!

How have you been wearing your hair lately?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review | Kérastase Elixir Ultime for Damaged Hair

The product I was most excited about in the goodie bag from last week's Hair Rehab London event was this Kérastase Elixir Ultime For Damaged Hair (£14.20/50ml)*

It's a non-greasy multi-use oil which can be applied prior to shampooing or as a finishing touch after blowdrying. I've got a lot of similar products to this oil amongst my hair stash, though I've never actually purchased anything by this brand before. I have a vague memory of being left with very soft hair after a stylist at Headmasters applied a few drops of the original Kérastase Elixir Ultime when I road tested the Steampod for Black Beauty & Hair magazine way back in 2012. Fortunately this version for dry hair has been having the same effect. I've recently been wearing my hair straight and this oil gives my naturally dull hair a beautiful shine whilst taming those pesky flyaways. My hair feels so smooth after applying this oil that I have to resist the urge to run my fingers through it. 

There are some great oils included in this product, namely Argan and Camellia Oil, in the concentration you'd expect from a quality salon brand like Kérastase. It's worth stating though I have products which match this oil in terms of quality which are half of the cost of this product. The first two (and main) ingredients in this product are silicones, which will be a disappointment to some. I'm pretty sure it's these ingredients which allow my hair to feel so soft and shiny after applying just a small amount though. This product has also helped keep my hair fairly tamed after such a wet and miserable week too!

I usually like quite heavily scented products, though the smell of this product is reminiscent of baby wipes, which I'm not a fan of. Thankfully the smell is quite faint and I don't notice the scent once it's on my hair.

A final note is this particular size (50ml) is so handy for carrying around in my handbag, should I need to add a bit of shine or softness to my hair on-the-go. It's cabin-friendly too as its small enough to be allowed through airport security which is always a plus. Overall, it's a lovely little product though the cost is perhaps a little too high for me.

*sample. You can read my disclaimer here

Have you tried any Kérastase products before?

Lesley x

Sunday, 16 November 2014

3 ways to avoid dry hair this winter

The winter season sucks out moisture from even the most luscious strands and sometimes you have to do a little extra to keep your tresses hydrated. Here's how I'll be avoiding dry hair this winter.

Hot Oil Treatment
Never underestimate the power of a hot oil treatment as it's the easiest way to inject some life into winter-beaten strands. There's a plethora of hot oil treatments available on the market like V05 Nourish My Shine Hot Oil or Palmers Olive Oil Formula Hot Oil Treatment but I prefer to make my own using natural oils. I like using Coconut Oil most, and usually warm it up in a bowl of hot water or stick it in the microwave for a few seconds (I have a video on how I do my hot oil treatments on my YouTube channel here). Recently I've been doing a hot oil treatment on my hair on every other wash day which has helped massively with dryness. It's also made detangling my coily roots a breeze!

Deep conditioner 
I can't ever write a haircare post about dryness and not state the importance of using a deep conditioner regularly. Since I started using an intensive treatment on every wash my hair has been transformed from dry and dull to smooth and silky so I couldn't recommend it enough. I don't think using specific brands matter as long as you pick something which is a good match for your hair type. When looking for a good deep conditioner ensure it is an intensive treatment and not just a regular conditioner (a deep conditioner will need to be left on the hair for anywhere between 5 and 30 minutes). Also look for quality ingredients, which will help specifically with parched strands, like humectants and natural oils. To increase the effectiveness of your deep conditioner, use with a plastic cap, hooded dryer or steamer.

Protective Styling
Prevention is better than cure right? Shield your hair from the wintery atmosphere as much as possible to prevent your hair getting dry and brittle in the first place. My go-to protective styles are buns and plaits but wigs, weaves, extensions, braids and twists all keep the hair tucked in and away from the elements. You can also wear silk-lined hats and scarves for added protection.

How will you be preventing dry hair this season?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Avlon Blogger Breakfast with Dr Ali Syed

On Saturday myself and some other bloggers were kindly invited to a breakfast with Avlon hosted by the company's President and Master Chemist Dr Ali Syed. Avlon, which specialises in producing professional products for afro hair, is recognised globally and owning various brands. I'm most familiar with KeraCare but the company boasts several other successful brands including Affirm, MoisturColor, Ferm and FiberGuard.

The event was eye-opening and I could see instantly why Dr Ali Syed is described as the leading authority on afro hair. He was bursting with knowledge and it was interesting to hear facts like 'african hair tends to be 50 times more difficult to comb when dry than caucasian hair' and 'hair growth rates in African hair can be as low as 3.68 inches per year in comparison to 5.69 inches in caucasian hair'. 

From left to right: Jemima (Black Beauty & Hair), Keysha (Black Hair), Diane (I Grew It Long), me, Dr Ali Syed, Rachy (UK Naturals), Dr Ali Syed's wife, Peeks (MO-AM network), Wunmi and Chantelle (Woman In the Jungle)

It became clear from the breakfast that despite a wealth of successful product lines the company is constantly looking to create more brands to suit both consumers and professionals. I'm most excited about the launch of the new Texture Release system in the UK. 

Texture Release is a salon system which can temporarily elongate or straighten curly hair, depending on your personal preference. The effects last for about two months and provides the ultimate versatility when styling the hair. In some ways Texture Release is similar to a keratin treatment, but it has been designed without formaldehyde, methylene glycol and other harsh ingredients which is a huge plus. It's also stated to work on all curl types and previously relaxed hair.

All of the above photos were kindly provided by Abi Oshodi. You can view more of his work at his website here.

The Texture Release looks to be genuine alternative to relaxing but I've tried to stop myself getting too excited about this system yet, as it's currently only available in salons (I've only been to a salon once in the past 8 years!) I've long been searching for a way to manage my multi-textured transitioning hair and I'm hoping a home version of this system is released so I can try it.

Overall it was a great event and I also received a goodie bag stuffed with KeraCare Natural Textures products which I've not tried before. I've already started using them but will do thorough reviews in the coming weeks when I have more of an idea on just how well they work for my hair.

Have you tried anything by Avlon or the Texture Release?

Lesley x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

NOTD | Rimmel London I Love Lasting Finish Polish

I've not been wearing a lot of nail polish lately, and when I have the shades have been dark and autumnal. I decided to switch it up this week with this Rimmel London I Love Lasting Finish Nail Polish in Get It While It's Hot £2.99 which I picked up from Boots.

It's a tanned nude which works perfectly for my skintone. It's quite a summery shade but I couldn't resist as I love a good nude nail polish. It took 2-3 coats to get the finish completely opaque and, whilst I'm usually too impatient to take the time to apply this many coats, the result made it worthwhile.

I did chip the corner of one nail after two days unfortunately but I forgot to apply a top coat to make the polish last longer. Next time I'll try this shade with a glitter topcoat or gold tips to prevent any chips and give my mani a festive twist.

Overall, it's a great colour and a great price so it's a winner for me.

Have you tried anything by Rimmel London?

Lesley x

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review | Bravura London Dermaflannel

I rarely change my skincare routine from simply cleansing twice a day and exfoliating when I feel like it (more info here) but I have been looking for a way to get deeper exfoliation to remove some stubborn scars. I purchased a couple of scrubs, but nothing quite gave me the results I was looking for and with that, cue the Bravura London Dermaflannel (£11.99).

My interest in this product peaked when I read the description on the company's website - it's been coined a 'Facial in a Flannel' strong enough to achieve the same results as a chemical peel. I felt dubious about the claims but intrigued and naturally I had to at least try it.

When I first took the flannel out of the packaging I still couldn't conceive how a flannel could make any difference to the appearance of my skin. It felt and looked like an ordinary flannel but using it made me realise it was entirely different from your standard flannel.

So how does it work? The flannel has a 'unique weave' made of tiny fibres which helps remove dirt and oil on the skin, making it a great exfoliator. As you'd expect, using this product couldn't be simpler as all you need to do is give it a rinse then sweep it over the skin whilst it's still damp. You can use the flannel with a little of your usual cleanser if you prefer, but the beauty of this product is you don't need any products at all.

Soft upward strokes are enough to lift away dead skin cells and this flannel is so gentle I didn't realise how well it was working initially which led me to rub my face really hard on the first use. Luckily my mistake didn't do any lasting damage and I was just left with a little redness.

My skin has continued to be super smooth after each use of this flannel and my face has started to generally look more even in tone. I definitely underestimated how well this product would work on my skin and I'm excited to see how much more my skin will improve with regular use.

Have you tried anything by Bravura London?

Lesley x