Monday, 28 December 2015

Curly Hair Puff Hairstyle [Video]

High hair puffs have definitely been one of my go-to styles since my hair has been fully curly. It's so easy to do this hairstyle, which is basically a fluffy curly ponytail, but there is a little extra step I do to get a slightly better shape and it disguises uneven lengths too. This video is super quick as I've only recently created a video on my Wash & Go routine and this follows on from the styling shown there.

The Video:

What hairstyles do you like to do?

Lesley x

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Review | Hi Impact Brows

I used to over pluck what were already sparse, wonky brows and now I’m left with a patchy duo above my peepers. As a result I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect product to plump and define my eyebrows which looks natural and lasts. I’ve tried a lot of brow kits, some with great results, though none quite perfect. I usually have to use a combination of products to get the results I’m after.

I was sent Hi Impact Brows (£18.99)* recently and the company claims this product functions as an eyeshadow, eyeliner and eyebrow palette with shades to suit a variety of hair colours and skintones. The palette contains four highly pigmented powders - (from left to right) ash, spice, mocha and charcoal - all in beautiful glossy black packaging. There’s also a small black slanted eye brush included. It has soft bristles and is small enough to define eyebrows and eyeliner shapes.

On brows
When filling in my brows I prefer to use waxes as they're easier to control and products which are dark brown as I think black tones are too harsh for my face. This palette took me out of my comfort zone though I was pleasantly surprised. Whilst I'm still not convinced I'll solely rely on this product to shape my brows, I am impressed that when only using the powders here the makeup lasts extremely well and doesn’t budge at all. As there’s not a dark enough brown in this palette for me I’ve been using mostly the charcoal shade and toning down the colour with a little of the tawny brown powder. I still found the result just too bold for me. There definitely needs to be a greater range of tones for those with darker hair.

On eyeshadow & liner
I loved the shades here as a way to add some dimension to the eyes whilst still keeping the look natural. All of the tones here work beautifully as a neutral wash for a the lids and I think I'll rely on this palette more for eyeshadow than anything else. The powders are easy to blend together making them very wearable. If I’m wearing eyeliner I usually stick to black but for an everyday look the tawny shade works particularly well swiped across my lower lids.

I love the concept of a multi-use product though I think Hi Impact Brows could have done more to really deliver on what they claim is unique about this palette. Including an eyeshadow brush, maybe 1 or 2 more colours and a wax or gel to tame brows for example would have given this palette the edge. I probably won't continue to use this product alone to shape my brows and would combine it with the products I already have. Whilst the effect isn’t as natural as I would like this palette does boast high quality powders which last and would recommend it to those using solely powders already. I love this as an eyeshadow palette too, especially for finishing off natural everyday looks (like the one above).

This palette is available on Amazon here and for those of you in the US it will be sold at Sephora in 2016.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What brow products do you like?

Lesley x

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Black Beauty & Hair | Dec 2015 / Jan 2016

Another year is almost over (scarily) and with it brings the Dec/Jan issue of Black Beauty & Hair.

The holiday season has given me some time to actually sit down with a magazine as opposed to a quick flick through on my commute. As usual there's lots of styling tips, new beauty buys and how to get ready to party this season. I've especially enjoyed reading how YouTube beauties, LizLizLive, Jennifer Olaleye, EstareLIVE and Abigail Kwakye spend their days during the festive season and How to be a Bobstar in which Lathaniel Chambers shows how a weave can be cut into a gorgeous natural-looking bob.

This is issue is pretty special for me too as I'm in it both as a writer and as a blogger. My article this is issue is Hair Mask 101 which talks through why you need a hair mask, what to use and how. Deep conditioners are my favourite type of product so naturally I can't help strongly suggesting others rely on these too.

Also inside is 'Bloggers Makeover' with KeraCare involving Megisa (My Black Hair), Diane (I Grew It Long) Fatou (Black in the Air) and me. We were styled by award-winning hairstylist Michelle Thompson at the Francesco Group back in August for a 70s themed photoshoot. I've already posted what happened the behind-the-scenes over the course of the photoshoot here and in the magazine you can read what the other bloggers had to say and a word from Michelle Thompson.

Have you got a copy?

Lesley x

Monday, 21 December 2015

Wash & Go [Video]

The Wash & Go concept was so alien to me before completing my transition to texlaxed as I could never just wash and go. Now my hair is curly it's become a bit of a novelty not having to really do much post-cleanse. I've posted recently about co-washing and as it's a massive part of my hair routine currently I thought a 'Wash & Go' video was needed on my YouTube channel. My method is really simple so this video is pretty easy viewing as it's only a couple of minutes long.

The Video: 

I'm definitely getting more into the swing of making and editing videos after being so clueless when I started my channel in 2013, so if there's anything in particular you'd like to see let me know!

Have you tried a Wash & Go?

Lesley x

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Review | NYX Matte Bronzer in Deep Tan

I received a few NYX products at a MIZANI event in June and this NYX Matte Bronzer in Deep Tan (£7)* is easily my favourite.

Deep Tan is one of 5 shades and it has subtle golden undertones which warm up my complexion. This product can be used for your face and body so can give your skin an all-over glow. This bronzer is beautifully pigmented and long-lasting. It has absolutely no shimmer and gives the perfect true matte finish.

It's a little on the dark side for me currently where my skin is paler from a serious lack of sun. As a result I prefer this as a contour shade rather than as a bronzer and I'll add a little blush afterwards. As it's quite pigmented I have to apply this bronzer gently. It has a silky finish though, which means it blends well and doesn't look chalky or muddy, defining my cheekbones nicely.

This is definitely one of the better bronzers I've tried and I would purchase it. Sadly the UK NYX website recently announced that they will cease trading but luckily NYX products are now available at Boots. I haven't seen the products in the stores near me yet but NYX is stocked in some larger Boots and online. Whilst the packaging is a little different, this bronzer can be found here.

I've got my eye on the Highlight and Contour Pro Palette next, though I don't need it so I'll have to find a good excuse to buy it!

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried NYX products?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hairstyle | Twisted Braids [Video]

I've been wearing my hair in two braids like this on and off lately as a break from my usual bun. It's so easy to do so I put together a quick (ish) how-to for my YouTube channel.

The Video:

There's a few highly requested videos I'm hoping I'll have time to do soon, so if you have any suggestions let me know.

What styles do you like to do?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Haircare | Co-washing

As much as I love a good sudsing (pretty sure that's a verb), shampooing hair constantly can leave it dry and stripped. By just using a conditioner for cleansing (known as co-washing) your hair can be refreshed and retain moisture better.

I've definitely spoken about co-washing a few times on my blog before but now my hair is completely curly I co-wash more than ever. For so long I've relied on at least 3 products almost every wash day (pre-shampoo treatment, shampoo and deep conditioner) to ensure my hair has enough moisture throughout the week. Whilst it is a lot of steps, I honestly felt it was necessary for me as I'm so lazy with moisturising daily. Only occasionally would I ever use just a conditioner (usually on very late, sleep-deprived nights). The good news is now I'm washing more often with just one product my hair hasn't felt like it's lacking moisture. You could call me a co-wash convert...

Not sure how to co-wash? It's not much different to using a shampoo - dampen your hair first, apply working into the scalp and rinse. With conditioner you can apply the product from root to tip and leave on for a few minutes to soften and moisturise your strands.

Finding the right product for co-washing your hair may take a bit of trial and error. Product choice is huge and a few haircare companies now also make 'conditioning cleansers' adding more options into the mix. Not all conditioners are created equal, though with any luck you can use whichever products you have on hand already.

In general I prefer to use conditioners which are silicone-free to prevent build-up and those that are fairly cheap as I get through so much product each wash. My co-wash hero is the TRESemmé Vibrant Naturals Nourish & Replenish Conditioner which I think is known simply as TRESemmé Naturals across the pond in the US. Other products I've tried and loved for co-washing are Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner (they also have a co-wash conditioner in this range), Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex Conditioner*, KeraCare Honey Shea Co-Wash* and KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream*.

Conditioner has a tendency to build-up on the hair and scalp so remember it needs to be rinsed off properly post-cleanse. I usually notice my hair starts to get dull and limp after a few co-washes and it's at this point I turn to shampoo again. Some curly-haired beauties have a strict 'no-poo' (shampoo) hair routine but I can't personally rely solely on conditioner for all of my cleansing. Depending on the types of products you use and how dirty/oily your scalp gets it's good to also clarify with a shampoo monthly or bi-monthly.

It's not for everyone, but if your hair is naturally dry, try swapping out your shampoo for your conditioner.

*Products mentioned were received as samples. You can read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried co-washing?

Lesley x

Monday, 7 December 2015

Barry M Nail Paint Shades [Winter 2015]

With British beauty brand Barry M as my go-to destination for nails I always rely on their products when decorating my digits. As all of the Barry M Nail Paints are great quality and available for under £5 it makes them so easy to add to my ever-growing polish collection. As I have a few favourites, I've rounded up the 5 shades I love to wear during the festive season here.

Nail Paints left to right: Matte in Espresso (£3.99) | Glitter in Gold (limited edition) | Jewel Glitter in Yellow Topaz (£2.99) | Gelly Hi Shine in Blueberry (£3.99) | Gelly Hi Shine in Cocoa (£3.99) 

I love mixing black and gold tones this time of year so the matte black and glittery gold nail paints here are essential for me. I love the opaque glittery gold shade most and this polish makes it easy to add a little sparkle to my talons. It's a shame it's a limited edition as I'd definitely pick up another (I received it free after spending a certain amount on Barry M in Boots). The jewel speckled glitter polish has a transparent base so your natural nail is partially visible after adding a coat or two. However, it's perfect for layering over other shades to make them a little more festive. I also like to paint a little of this just over the tips of my nails for a effortless mani.

As a break from the typical black, grey and navy tones I tend to wear during this season I'll opt for the icy Blueberry or Cocoa brown shades. Both are from the Gelly Hi Shine range which gives a beautifully glossy finish. Whereas Cocoa is matched easily with most of my casual attire, Blueberry tends to be reserved for when I want a pop of colour when I'm dressed in all black or monochrome outfits.

I definitely have a few more Barry M favourites which I could have added to this post and I've got my eye on a few from the Speedy Collection to buy next!

Have you tried Barry M products?

Lesley x

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Review | Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System (Collab)

Today's review post is a little different as I've teamed up with blogger beaut Alisha from alishadandy. We've both been using products from the Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System so check out her thoughts for the shampoo here and in this post I'll be taking a look at the conditioner and masque.

If you didn't know already the Shea Moisture brand is hugely popular in the US and has been developing Shea Butter-based products since 1912. I was sent these products in September and though I have used the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk previously I hadn't tried anything else by the brand before. The two products here are amongst the few products I've used in which I've noticed an instant difference to my hair.

It's easy to see why this collection boasts a 'SuperFruit Nutrient Complex' as each product is made with a blend of Red Raspberry, Ketones, Goji and Acai Guava extracts. These are stated to be rich in anti-aging antioxidants and, along with Marula Oil to help support elasticity and Biotin to strengthen strands, the products are stated to renew tired hair.

SuperFruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal Conditioner (£10.99/384ml)*
With one use my hair felt softer, more manageable and this conditioner gave it so much slip! With regular use my hair has seemed more bouncy and shiny. I've used this product both as a co-wash conditioner and as a leave-in (mixed with water in a spray bottle) with great results. The formula is creamy but doesn't weigh hair down and has a sweet fragrance.

SuperFruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal Hair Masque (£12.99/340g)*
Masques are amongst my favourite hair products to use and even with high expectations this product did not disappoint. It has a very thick consistency but melted easily through my strands when applied. I usually apply masques for 15-30 minutes with my steamer. I've tried the former and have used the masque alone. Used both ways my hair feels so much more moisturised. This is easily one of the best masques I've used.

Be sure to check out Alisha's thoughts on the Shampoo.

Since October Boots has been stocking the brand, making it more widely available and I'm hoping it'll urge other retailers to follow suit! I've already picked up the Curl & Style Milk again and a few others from the Coconut & Hibiscus line at Boots and I'll be grabbing these two here when they run out.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Shea Moisture products?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Ted Baker Brilliance of Beauty

I've always adored the Boots gift sets available during the Christmas season and this year's Ted Baker 'Brilliance of Beauty' offering is just stunning. This gift set features 12 pieces, adorned with pretty rose-gold or crisp white packaging, presented in a floral makeup box. As Boots 'star gift' it's currently retailing at half price for £22.50 (instead of £45) until this Thursday 19th November.

Contents: Eyeliner, Mascara (6ml), Eyelash Curlers, Eye Shadow Compact, Eye Shadow Brush, Blusher Compact, Kabuki Brush, Lipstick, Lip & Cheek Tint (5g), Lip Gloss (6ml) & Nail Polish x2 (9ml each).

I don't have many people to buy for this year so (shamefully) I bought this for myself. I'm calling it an early Birthday present (I'm turning the big 2-5 this week), which makes it okay, right? Without pulling all of the pieces out of the box it isn't entirely clear what the colours of the products included are. There's little guidance on the outer packaging too but I bought it anyway and I'm so happy with what's inside. The lipstick is the perfect peachy tone for me and I love the bronze and golden eyeshadow colours in the included compact. The brushes are a lovely touch too and rounds off a pretty awesome gift for a makeup lover.

Have you tried Ted Baker Beauty?

Lesley x

Monday, 16 November 2015

Style | Forever 21 Checked Shirt & Chidora Wool Hat

I haven't put together a style post in so long which is surprising as I had a big cull of my possessions a little while ago and essentially ended up with an almost entirely new winter wardrobe. It really was out with the old and in with the new as I became tired of having stacks of clothes which I never wore. My style has always been simple but it's become more minimal as I've developed a capsule type wardrobe but on a fairly larger scale than your usual 30-something pieces (great inspo here).

Checked shirts, basic denim pieces and chunky winter warmers like this silk-lined wool hat by Chidora* are now staple items in my wardrobe for this season. I've been sticking to only buying items in the colours I'm most comfortable in too like black, navy, dark green, deep purple and grey. Overhauling my style has made pulling together an outfit so much easier, though I still have days where I feel like I have nothing to wear!

Whilst it's been pretty mild for a British November currently I know I'll be relying on my woollen items a lot more in a bid to stay warm this winter. However, anyone with naturally dry hair like me knows how parched our strands can feel from wearing wool hats everyday. As this Chidora Bobble Hat (£55) is silk-lined you can keep your head warm and your hair is protected from the outer wool material. This is the second hat which has been sent to me by Chidora and it's so well made with quality materials. My first hat is in perfect condition after 2 years, so if you're looking for cosy head gear which lasts and is gentle on your tresses, check out the company website.

Shirt, Jumper & Belt - Forever 21 | Skirt - Vero Moda | Shoes - Vagabond | Bag - Carvela Kurt Geiger | Watch - Olivia Burton | Hat - Chidora*

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing?

Lesley x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review | Mixed Chicks

Haircare brand Mixed Chicks (available here) has been on my radar since 2012. Back then I was interning for magazine Black Beauty & Hair and I had the pleasure of meeting the curly-haired founders, Wendi Levy and Kim Etheredge. I really resonated with their experience of using the available hair products on the market, which were made for either very dry hair or oily hair with little in between. Wendi and Kim explained that their brand was for those who didn't fit in to those categories and though my hair was relaxed straight I hoped that the products would still work for me. In short, I tried a few of the products with little success. Coming back to them 3 years later I wanted to have an open mind as my hair has changed so much since then.

Gentle Clarifying Shampoo (£11.90/300ml)*
I really like this shampoo which gives a lot of slip and makes my hair really silky. It doesn't really lather but it still cleanses and removes build-up well. I've tried this with and without applying a pre shampoo treatment first and it did make my strands a little dry with the latter. Though I'll continue to use it when it runs out I don't think I'd buy it as I have a few shampoos I like already. 

Leave-In Conditioner (£15.90/300ml)*
I've been using this leave-in regularly as it gives gorgeous definition. You have to use it when the hair is wet or it can leave your strands sticky so I rely on this when my hair has just been freshly washed or dampened first. I apply it pretty generously but if you use too much it can make the hair feel a little crunchy. I usually just add a little of my moisturiser when my hair is fully dry to make it soft again without disturbing the definition. I love the scent and my hair doesn't get frizzy when using this. Though this leave-in is pricey it's definitely a product I'll pick up when it runs out. 

Detangling Deep Conditioner (£10.90/236ml)*
I really wanted to love this product as deep conditioners are my absolute favourite products to use. It's very thick, buttery and smells beautiful but I find this lacking something. It isn't formulated with particularly special ingredients which is a little disappointing considering the high price. The instructions state to 'apply and rinse' too which I found a little confusing as deep conditioners usually need to be left on from anywhere from 5-30 minutes. I've been mostly leaving it on my hair with a steamer for roughly 10-15 minutes and it's allowed me to detangle my strands very easily. Without using my steamer however this deep conditioner doesn't give my thirsty hair the moisture it needs. It's best suited to hair that doesn't get very dry. 

Morning After Redefining Foam (£11.90/236ml)*
I love the idea of this product, which is supposed to refresh curls without the need for re-wetting the hair, but I'm not totally sold on the actual product itself. Ive used it several times in an attempt to bring back curl definition (often lost whilst sleeping) and it does work but I have to apply a lot to really make any impact, which only leaves my hair wet and slightly sticky.

Overall it's clear Mixed Chicks products work much better for my hair now being natural/texlaxed than it did when my hair was fully relaxed. I love the packaging and fragrance of the products but I'm not entirely convinced there's enough decent ingredients inside to warrant the high price tag. Whilst I had a good experience with the products here, the only item I'd buy out of the 4 is the Leave-In Conditioner.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Mixed Chicks products?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Glowwbox November 2015 | KeraCare Edition [Video]

I've reviewed a few Glowwbox Editions (more here) but if you don't know already Glowwbox is a beauty box subscription service aimed at women with darker skin. A monthly subscription costs £15 + P&P* and usually contains at least 5 products. 

This month is a KeraCare Limited Edition. As I've reviewed quite a few KeraCare products already (here) I decided to switch it up today with an 'unboxing' video instead of my usual blog post.

Whenever I do any reviews of KeraCare products the impression I get from a lot of readers is that they would like to try the brand but find the individual products expensive. This box is perfect for anyone seeking to try some of the products at a significantly lower cost.

Glowwbox have also provided discount code for my readers so you can get this box for £9.95 until 30th November. All you need to do is enter FRESHL at the checkout. See the below video for what's inside.

The Video:

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried a subscription beauty box before?

Lesley x

Sunday, 8 November 2015

ORS Hair & Scalp Wellness Oils - Coconut Oil

I've always relied heavily on natural oils for injecting life into my thirsty strands and the range of Hair & Scalp Wellness Oils by ORS have been created to target a variety of tress woes. There's 10 different oils in the range - Tea Tree, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Black Seed Oil, Shea Butter Oil, Saw Palmetto Oil, Indian Amla Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.

I was sent Coconut Oil (£4.99)* to try and as much as I love using pure Virgin Coconut Oil straight out of a jar I've been relying on the ORS Coconut Oil most recently as it's so convenient. The applicator tip means I can squeeze a little onto my fingers and apply or just dab it straight onto my scalp.

The product itself is actually a blend of natural oils, including Coconut (of course), Sweet Almond, Corn and Hibiscus. It also has Neem and Rosemary Leaf extract included. Together these ingredients are supposed to soothe breaking, dull hair, providing strength and shine.

You can use this product in a few different ways but my favourite is as a pre shampoo treatment. I warm the oil a little before applying, leave on for 10 minutes and then shampoo (see here). No matter how harsh the shampoo I use is my hair always feels so soft and moisturised I almost don't need to deep condition. If your hair is dry definitely give a hot oil treatment a try! This product can also be used as a conditioner, oil rinse and to add a little shine when hair is looking a little lacklustre.

As this is fairly cheap I'd definitely buy this and I'm interested to try a few of the other oils in this range. Currently I've only seen this available in selected Boots stores or online here.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Do you use hair oils?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Hairstyle | Double Cornrow Ponytail

I've been mostly wearing buns as usual lately but made myself try something different Monday night.

I dampened my hair, parted it down the middle, cornrowed the top on each side and then finished the style by pulling it into a simple puff. I used more gel than usual and it's meant my hair has held up so well since. I took these pictures today and it's still in place! This has been a great low manipulation style which I'll definitely be doing a lot more often. All I've had to do is refresh my curls a little each morning with some newly purchased Mizani 25 Miracle Milk and it's made my mornings even faster than usual.

What have you been doing with your hair?

Lesley x

Sunday, 1 November 2015

How I Air Dry My Hair [Video]

How I air dry is one of my most highly requested videos which has always surprised me as I don't do that much at all. The best thing about air drying is it's super simple and requires little fuss. I think it worries a few people though because you can get more frizz, shrinkage and it might take a long time compared to using a blow dryer. None of those factors really bother me (apart from the time it can take), though there are ways to minimise some of the drawbacks of air drying which I explain in the below video.

The Video:

I hope this helps a few people that were curious about my process and if you have any questions let me know. 

Do you air dry your hair?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

5 Ways to prevent single strand knots

Anyone else plagued by the killer that is single strand knots will understand how frustrating these can be. They're a natural feature in coily and kinky hair and I've been getting them ever since I started transitioning to a curly texlaxed texture last year. There are ways to prevent single strand knots though and here's how I minimise how many I get.

1. Keep hair moisturised
It's always when my hair is at it's driest when I start to see the knots appear as my hair is more likely to tangle around itself. Staying on top of moisturising and applying a little extra oil to your ends is key to keeping them smooth and knot-free.

2. Stretch it out
I don't ever remember having a problem with single strand knots when my hair was fully relaxed and the more stretched I keep my hair the less I find my hair knotting. This doesn't mean you have to use heat or wear it straight, but try rocking a twist or braid out instead of that wash and go constantly to see an improvement. Keeping your ends stretched and tucked in with protective styles like buns, braids and ups dos will minimise knots too.

3. Detangle regularly
So technically I don't detangle as often as I should but allowing my hair to get tangled is usually what causes my knots in the first place. I'm definitely trying to make an effort to lightly detangle throughout the week now and not just on wash day to avoid the knots. Always detangle from ends to roots to gently remove the knots and prevent snagging on the hair.

4. Swap cotton for silk or satin
Cotton bedding and clothing saps the moisture from your strands causing friction and frizz. You can avoid this by making the switch to silk or satin which is a lot more gentle on your hair. For years I've been using satin pillowcases, bonnets and scarves to protect my hair whilst I sleep or to protect my hair from clothing. My hair remains moisturised for longer as a result and doesn't get tangled whilst I sleep.

5. Trim
Hair that is split or weak is more likely to knot. If you've tried all of the above sometimes you just have to reach for those shears. By giving your hair a little trim you can prevent the knotting and cut off those that have already formed.

How do you prevent single strand knots?

Lesley x

Monday, 26 October 2015

How I Cover Scarring & Pigmentation [Video]

Last summer I was badly bitten by an unknown insect several times and it left my leg with severe scarring. I've always suffered with hyper pigmentation but this is the worst I've ever had. It's led me to either not get my legs out at all since it happened or cover my legs with makeup when they're out.

I'm currently undergoing treatment to reduce the scarring which I'm about half way through (my scars were so much darker a few months ago) but I thought I'd show how I cover it with makeup as it is currently. If you look closely you can see it's not a perfect fix as my scars are pitted which makes covering it awkward. However using makeup definitely makes me a lot less conscious about how my legs look when they're on show.

The Video: 

I'm hoping that my scars will lift eventually but until then I hope this helps others who have scarring or pigmentation that they want to cover.

How do you deal with scarring & pigmentation?

Lesley x

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Beauty | Favourite Nude Lip Colours

I've already spilled my favourite lip shades to wear this time of year here but I've also been loving a lot of nude lip colours recently too. Natural-looking makeup is my go-to most days so a nude lip usually works best.

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick (Birthday Suit), Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick (Notting Hill Nude), KIKO Smart Lipstick (Natural Neige), MAC Satin Lipstick (Mocha) and NYX Butter Gloss (Ginger Snap).

For something that can finish off an effortless makeup look, finding the perfect nude lip colour can actually be a bit of a struggle. You have to navigate carefully between tones which might wash you out or make it look like you've accidentally smeared foundation over your lips. As a result it took me a long time before I stumbled upon a few solid nude-toned favourites that work well for my medium skin.

I usually swatch several tones in-store before settling on makeup products and the same goes for nude lipsticks. My lips are quite dark and brown in colour so I usually have to pick tones that are similar or well pigmented. The best nudes I own have a hint of shimmer or colour to keep the look fresh and healthy-looking and less 'corpse-bride'.

I tend to favour creamy products for nude tones like Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick in Birthday SuitRimmel London Moisture Renew Lipstick in Notting Hill Nude and KIKO Smart Lipstick in Natural Neige. I do have semi-matte nude tones too though, MAC Satin Lipstick in Mocha is my absolute favourite (reviewed here) and I also have the drugstore dupe of this - Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Mauve It Over.

For some (usually sheer) products I apply a very small amount of foundation around the edge of my lips beforehand to stop my smackers showing through the product or I just use something that matches my lip colour already like NYX Butter Gloss in Ginger Snap*.

*sample received at an event - read my disclaimer here.

What are your favourite nude lip shades?

Lesley x

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Which KeraCare Shampoo should I use?

KeraCare has a range of shampoos for afro-caribbean hair on offer and here's how to decipher which one you might need and when you need to use it. I've already reviewed the KeraCare Dry & Itchy Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo and the KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream but as they are my favourites and most used I thought I'd mention them again here.

KeraCare 1st Lather Shampoo Sulfate Free (£3.85/240ml)*
If you need a deep clean, reach for this bottle. I tend to use this once a month when my hair is looking a little lacklustre. It's for all hair types and cleanses the hair of build-up, dirt and styling product with just one sudsing. This shampoo is designed to prep the hair to respond better to your usual wash routine so it's best to follow this with a gentle moisturising shampoo before conditioning.

KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo Sulfate Free (£4.45/240ml)*
This is the perfect partner to the 1st Lather Shampoo as it lightly conditions the strands preventing your hair from feeling stripped post-cleanse. You can also use it alone to gently remove dirt. It gives it a great amount of slip for a shampoo so this is best for dry or delicate hair types which are prone to tangling.

KeraCare Dry & Itchy Anti-Dandruff Moisturizing Shampoo (£7.20/240ml)*
If your scalp is persistently dry and itchy this will whip it into shape. This product is more than just a shampoo. I consider it a treatment for troublesome scalps and an absolute necessity in my haircare routine. It's made with various flower extracts including Ivy and Matricaria (German Chamomile) which soothes itchy conditions. My scalp knows when I don't use this, so I usually have to rely on it every 1 to 2 weeks. It's supposed to moisturise the scalp and hair, but I find it can leave my locks a little parched so I always apply an oil or conditioner before using this.

KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream Sulfate Free (£6.35/240ml)*
This beauty was made with drier curly hair in mind and if you want a way to gently wash your strands this product will be your go-to. It's the best ingredients-wise out of the shampoos here with Ayurveda Botanicals and various oils all inside the bottle. I prefer to use this whenever I'm not using the Dry & Itchy Shampoo or post-workout for a quick cleanse which can be once a week. It won't give your hair a deep clean, but the results are the equivalent of a co-wash, so if you're a little strapped for time you don't have to condition afterwards.

KeraCare Moisturizing Shampoo For Color Treated Hair (£5.75/240ml)*
You guessed it, this product is made for colour-treated hair and protects it from dreaded fading. KeraCare also claims this shampoo shields hair from UV rays. It's moisturising and strengthening with a 'Fiber Strengthening Complex' which is great for maintaining delicate relaxed and fine hair too.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Which shampoo do you like to use?

Lesley x

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Tips for Transitioning to Texlaxed [Video]

I've been meaning to put together a video on transitioning tips for some time as I get so many questions about it but I wanted to wait until my transition was over. I didn't really change my hair routine a whole lot throughout my transition but it does require a lot of patience and care to manage all of the different textures. At times my transition was very difficult and I wouldn't say it was an easy process but I hope the tips covered in the below video help some of you who are considering or are already transitioning to texlaxed.

The Video: 

I tried to keep the video as short as possible so if you have any questions let me know!

What have you been doing with your hair lately?

Lesley x

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Favourite Fall Lipsticks Collab with Nikki [Video]

As it's Autumn (Fall) I've started digging out the typical lip shades I like to wear this time of year. In that same vein, me and fellow YouTuber Nikki Beauty Bliss have teamed up to create a video of our favourite fall lipsticks. It's my first collaboration video which I'm quite excited about as I'm used to creating blog posts/videos without any input from other bloggers. Nikki has loads of videos on fitness and beauty and posts regularly so definitely check out her channel and her video on her favourite fall lipsticks here.

I'd love to do more collaboration type posts/videos so if you're interested, drop me an email.

The Video: 

What are your favourite lipsticks to wear this time of year?
Lesley x

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review | KeraCare Intensive Restorative Masque

The KeraCare Intensive Restorative Masque (£15.99) has been a staple product of mine for over a year. I remember buying it for the first time, my hair was feeling pretty lack lustre from heat use the week before and none of the deep conditioners I had on hand at the time seemed to be making the impact I needed to get my hair back on track. I wasn't sure how well this product was going to work, but gave it a whirl and it's been in my hair stash ever since.

This product is a deep conditioner formulated for weak and damaged hair and claims that it can make it 42% stronger. I don't have any way of measuring whether that's really the case but my hair does feel noticeably stronger with more elasticity after each use. It's made with plant and fruit extracts such as camellia, apple and lemon which are stated to reinforce weak areas whilst leaving the hair silky soft. You can use this product weekly but I tend to use it once a month. I like to rotate my deep conditioners and prefer to focus on moisture heavy formulas, not to mention this is one of the pricier masques I own.

I usually apply this sparingly post-shampoo. The texture is quite gloopy and stringy but this makes it really easy to distribute throughout the hair and it means you don't have to use a huge amount of product. I usually keep it on my strands for about 15-30 minutes either with a plastic cap or under my steamer. My hair always feels soft and detangles so much easier when I use this.

I'm on my third pot of this masque and will continue to buy it when it runs out. As this product is pricey I tend to purchase it online from Beauty Bay or Look Fantastic where it's slightly cheaper than in the Afro-Caribbean haircare stores near me.

Do you use a hair masque?

Lesley x

Friday, 9 October 2015

Review | Latest In Beauty Get The Gloss Box

I love the idea of subscription beauty boxes but I've been looking for one that gives more freedom with allowing me to choose when I want to buy one and what's inside. Latest in Beauty appears to deliver this perfectly. Their main appeal is their boxes are released seasonally or you can build your own out of their selection of products, without being tied into a subscription. The samples in each box allow you to get a feel for the brands and if you like them you can purchase the full-size products using exclusive offers included.  

Their latest box - the 'Get The Gloss Cult Collection' (£15.95 + delivery)* features 8 'hero' products handpicked by the beauty experts at getthegloss.com. Included is (from left to right above) St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion, Eyeko Fat Liquid Eyeliner, Ciate London Paint Pot in Mistress, Dr Lipp Miracle Balm, Prismologie Indigo Foot Cream & Pink O'Clock Hand & Cuticle Cream, Nude Skincare Pro Genius Rescue Oil and Bee Good Youth Enhancing Lift & Brightening Eye Cream. I'm familiar with all of the brands but hadn't actually tried any of these products before. 

My favourite product is the Dr Lipp Miracle Balm. It treats dry, rough and sore skin and has so many uses. You can apply it for priming the lips before lipstick, adding shine to your cheeks, taming your brows, softening dry elbows and cuticles, the list is endless! It's colourless, odourless and tasteless so really is the perfect versatile product. It retails for £12 which is 6 times the amount I'd usually pay for a balm but I'm actually pretty sold on this product already. I'm stashing it in my handbag for the foreseeable future. 

I also love the Ciate London nail polish in a classic red tone and the Eyeko Fat Liquid Eye Liner. These are similar to some of my staple beauty products. The Ciate polish is such a flattering shade of red and I think it can work for anyone. I have few Eyeko liners but haven't tried the 'fat' version. The thickness of the liner makes it much easier than I thought to get the perfect flick or graphic effect. 

My skincare collection is lacking in any eye creams so I was excited to try the Bee Good Youth Enhancing Eye Cream. I really don't get enough sleep leaving me to often look quite tired with dark circles and I was hoping for a brightening effect. I've only used the cream a couple of times and I haven't noticed a difference yet but I probably need to give it a little more time. Products which I have noticed a difference from instantly however are the Prismologie hand and foot creams. They smell amazing and with one use my skin feels baby soft. The full size products are definitely too pricey for me at £30 a pop so I'll just have to enjoy these whilst they last. 

Even though I have oily skin, I love facial oils but recently I've neglected to use any completely. The Nude Skincare Pro Genius Rescue Oil boasts a blend of so many awesome oils in the ingredients that I'm not surprised this is considered a hero product. I haven't used this yet but applying a few drops to the skin is stated to leave it nourished and glowing. I also have yet to experiment with the St. Tropez Gradual Tan In Shower Lotion. Tanning is something I rarely do especially as I've always found application awkward or too much work. I love that this product can be applied on wet skin and after 3 minutes you can rinse it off. I'll be giving this product a try when my legs eventually see daylight as they're looking a little pale! 

You can get this box from the Latest In Beauty website now and if you're interested you can get it delivered free with the code GTG2015 until 11th October. 

*Sample. See my disclaimer here.

Have you tried a beauty box before?

Lesley x