Saturday, 28 February 2015

New In | Feb 2015 [Beauty]

I've not switched up my makeup routine in a long time and I thought it was about time I tried something new, notably the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge (£5.99) and MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (£25).

I've always loved my MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation as the texture and coverage is amazing. I've stuck with it for 5 years as it looks so good when it's applied. Unfortunately it just doesn't last on my oily skin quite long enough. I've tried to make the foundation last longer with the aid of a primer, a setting spray and even by mixing it with another of MAC's foundations but my skin always wins and kicks this product off my face. I finally resigned to buying a new foundation altogether. It was this old video by Sammi from Beautycrush in which she compares various different MAC foundations which convinced me to switch to Pro Longwear Foundation. So far it has not disappointed.

The texture of this foundation is so different to the Sculpt. It's really lightweight and leaves a really smooth finish which thankfully lasts a lot longer. The coverage of this product is sheer to medium and whilst I usually prefer as high coverage as possible, the finish is so natural-looking I don't mind some of my blemishes peeping through my makeup (as much).

As well as a new foundation I also bought a new makeup sponge. I used to love using sponges to apply makeup and I'm not quite sure why I stopped. With the right sponge your makeup can look like skin and who doesn't want that as opposed to cake face? I've been tempted by the Beauty Blender which has received so much hype over the web but I just can't part with 16 whole pounds for a sponge! I love the Real Techniques brushes I own, so their Miracle Complexion Sponge (and the fact that it's more purse-friendly) seemed like a natural fit.

Admittedly I had to watch Sam's video here on how to use the sponge first as the different edges have different uses. The flat side at the bottom helps apply makeup to the face, the round side blends product out and the pointed edge is great for applying concealer. The design of the sponge in general helps it serve various functions and for a relatively cheap buy I'm really impressed with the results.

What having you been buying lately?

Lesley x

Friday, 27 February 2015

Review | Root2Tip Natural Hair Butter

I was sent a few Root2Tip goodies for Christmas, including the Triple M Miracle Moisture Milk (£13.99)*, the Root2Tip Protein Balance 'Elasticity Retention' Hair Masque (£12.99)* and the Natural Hair Butter (£10.99)*. The Moisture Milk and Protein Masque are already amongst my favourite hair products which I've been using and purchasing for some time. I've never tried the Natural Hair Butter before though and I've ended up relying on this product more for my skin than hair.

Root2Tip is a natural haircare brand and this butter is full of skin-loving ingredients, primarily Shea butter. The product is made for all hair types and has many uses including providing shine and hold to a curly hair (or curly sets). I've found Shea butter is just too heavy for my hair, which gets weighed down easily. As a result I prefer to only use this product pre-shampoo treatment on my ends. I warm the butter up a little in my hands and smooth it down the lengths before stepping in the shower and it stops my hair getting stripped during the shampoo process. My ends feel so smooth and buttery post-wash I love it!

The product is also recommended for use on the skin and I use the product on my body the most. I've been applying it to my knees, elbows and hands a lot recently to banish any dryness. It works wonderfully at keeping my skin super soft and hydrated and I only need to use a little product at a time. My skin has felt amazing combining applying this butter regularly along with a weekly body scrub using this DIY.

Overall this is a great product with a few uses, though I love it more for my skin than hair. Root2Tip products can be purchased from their website.

*sample. Read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried anything by Root2Tip?

Lesley x

Monday, 16 February 2015

5 Ways to Whiter, Brighter Teeth

I'm personally in a love hate relationship with my teeth (I love to hate them) and the thing I hate most about them is that yellow-y tinge that occurs every now and again from drinking too much tea. It seems I'm not alone. Whiter teeth are often cited as one of the top things women would like to change about themselves. Luckily there's a whole host of brightening methods to choose from, so here's a few ways to get your teeth whiter and keep them that way.

Home Kits
A popular method to whiten teeth is by using home whitening kits. These can be purchased either on the high street or online, and can cost anywhere from £10 to £100. Several options are available, ranging from dental trays, strips, ‘paint on’ formulas and even whitening pens. The choice can get a little overwhelming so speak to your dentist for guidance about whitening. To ensure you end up with a product that delivers there are certain things you need to look for when buying a home kit. Hydrogen peroxide is the most common ingredient in effective whitening products and it has to be a high enough strength in order to actually brighten teeth. Legally in the UK, home kits should only contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. Be wary of products with higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide as if these are used incorrectly they can leave you with nasty chemical burns. Be careful to stick to timings and usage instructions too. Over-whitening the teeth can wear away the enamel leaving your teeth translucent or grey and with increased sensitivity. In general whitening strips tend to be a safer (depending on what they're made of) and are a ‘no fuss’ option.

DIY Naturally
If you prefer to DIY and love keeping it natural, look no further than your kitchen for teeth whiteners. Oil, baking soda and strawberries are all claimed to be remedies for dull, discoloured teeth. Oil pulling is ancient Ayurvedic technique which involves swishing oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes before spitting it out and rinsing with warm water. It’s thought to remove all of the toxins and bacteria in the mouth, leading to whiter teeth. Organic oils such as Sesame, Olive or Coconut are often cited to produce the most benefits. It does sound a little crazy but at least it’s au naturel. Strawberries are also claimed to whiten teeth as the fruit contains malic acid which helps lift stains. To use, mash up some strawberries and combine with baking soda (another natural whitener) so the mixture is not too acidic. Apply the mixture to your teeth and leave it on for 5 minutes before rinsing. As too much acid can erode the enamel on your teeth it’s suggested to do this no more than once a week.

The most dramatic whitening results can only take place in the dentist’s chair. Whitening available from your dentist is far stronger and effective than any legal product that can be purchased from shops or online. Gleaming white teeth can often be achieved in a single session, but the sparkling results come at a price. Costs can total over £200 for one treatment. If you don’t fancy forking out for a brighter smile, a regular clean and polish from your dentist is another option. This will remove deeper stains and discolouration more than regular brushing and it costs a lot less than a whitening procedure.

If you want to keep your teeth pearly white dentists recommend brushing teeth for a full two minutes, two times a day. It’s suggested to brush gently at 45 degree angle against the gum line for thorough stain removal. Want that super clean feeling? Go electric instead of manual. Electric toothbrushes have been proven to be more effective than a manual brush. It’s also advised by dentists to avoid certain foods and drinks to keep teeth white. Beverages such as tea, coffee, fizzy drinks and wine all cause discolouration. It’s usually the acidity or the sugar levels in foods which wreak havoc on our teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals and using mouthwash can also help to keep stains at bay.

Fake It
No time for whitening? You can get the appearance of whiter teeth simply by wearing a red lipstick with blue undertones. This trick works as blue balances out any yellow stains on your teeth. You can also fake it by wearing bronzer as this gives the face a sun kissed glow which makes teeth seem brighter.

How do you keep your teeth white?
Lesley x

Thursday, 12 February 2015

FOTD | Valentines Soft Pink Makeup

Valentine's Day for me isn't usually a huge affair. Most times it's low-key, whether it's a night out with the girls or a quiet dinner out with the boyfriend. That said, in general I tend to switch up my makeup. In my eagerness for Spring to start I've been reaching for all things pink recently and as a result I've decided not to opt for a classic red lip this Valentines in favour of a rosy hue.

I don't know what it is about pink lipsticks but my makeup collection is littered with them. It is without doubt my favourite shade to wear but weirdly my lip colour in this makeup look was achieved from mixing two non-pink tones together - a nude and a glossy red. The resulting soft creamy pink colour was discovered by accident. I previously tried to make my nude Sleek Makeup lipstick look well, less nude, so in a hurry swiped one of my KIKO Glossy Stylos straight over the top. I love the result and now it's one of my favourite combos to wear on my lips.

I thought V-Day would also be another excuse to reach for my Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette which has been a little neglected of late. Generally if I wear eyeshadow it's usually neutral or natural colours but I love the soft feminine looks you can get with only a little pink added to the lids. For my eyes I used the matte dusky pinks in the palette as a base - Limit and Nooner - then swiped a little of Liar to add a little shimmer at the inner corners of my eyes. I finished with winged out liner for a cat eye effect and lashings of mascara.

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation (NC42)
MAC Studio Fix Powder (C40)
Ben Nye Luxury Powder (Banana)

Rimmel London Glam' Eyes Liquid Eye Liner (001 Black Glamour)
L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara (Extra Black)
Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette (Nooner, Limit & Liar)

Eylure Brow Palette (Dark Brown)
Rimmel London Brow This Way (Dark Brown)

GOSH Multi Colour Blush Bronzing Pie (Bronze)

Sleek Makeup Face Form (373 Light)

Sleek MakeUp True Colour Lipstick (Naked)
KIKO Ultra Glossy Stylo (812)

A tiny sidenote but just incase you're wondering about my hair in these shots, though I've been itching to cut my hair short for the past year I'm wearing a wig here. I bought it to give my hair a break and to stop myself drastically cutting my hair. I was planning to wear this wig on Valentine's Day but I haven't worn it out of the house yet. I haven't really changed my hair in a long time so I think I've been worried too much about what friends, family and colleagues will think about me suddenly rocking a wig. I'm also so clueless on how to style my mass of hair underneath (which won't lye flat), how to get a natural looking part and all that jazz. I'm hoping YouTube will help me figure it all out eventually. 

How do you like to wear your makeup on Valentine's Day?

Lesley x

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Black Beauty & Hair Feb/March 2015

The latest issue of Black Beauty & Hair is in shops now and is filled to the brim with hair and makeup ideas and with V-Day (Valentines) around the corner I'm looking to switch up my style next weekend. There's also a massive guide on wigs which have become more popular in the last few years. I'm starting to really come around to the idea of wearing a wig regularly in order to give my hair a break, but finding the right one has definitely held me back. There's so many options between synthetic, human hair, lace-fronts and u-parts, BBH breaks down the jargon and has rounded up the best-selling wigs to make choosing the right one for you a little easier.

My article this issue is on how to transition long-term. I'm currently transitioning (to texlaxed hair) and the one thing I've noticed with a lot of the available tips is that they all focus on transitioning to natural hair. This article is for anyone that wants to transition to a range of textures, whether you're looking to grow out colour or heat damage or if you're transitioning to texlaxed or natural.

As always, there's a sneak peek of my article below.

Have you got a copy?

Lesley x

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Skincare | DIY Coffee Body Scrub

I love making DIY scrubs, though I usually stick to sugar and oil combos (like this one here). Blogger beaut LaaLaa from Dolce Vanity recently posted about Frank Original Coffee Body Scrub and I couldn't help be intrigued by using coffee on my skin. Aussie company Frank has received a lot of hype on the internet over the past year, and with totally natural ingredients which can help improve skin concerns like cellulite, stretch marks, psoriasis, eczema and acne it's not hard to see why. LaaLaa explains perfectly in her post the benefits of each ingredient in the Original Coffee Scrub and it's the caffeine from the coffee powder that I'm hoping to reap the most benefits from.

As I have most of the ingredients for the above product stashed in my kitchen cupboards I made a batch to see how well a coffee scrub would work for my skin. This takes literally minutes to throw together and I've been storing the scrub in a jar for easy in-shower application.

Basic recipe:
6 tablespoons of Coffee Powder
3 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons of Rock Salt
2 tablespoons of Sweet Almond
1 tablespoon of Vitamin E Oil
10 drops of Orange Oil
1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerine

I kept the ingredients mostly the same as the Frank product but added some glycerine to make it more moisturising as my skin has been quite dry recently. I tripled the recipe above to fill up my 0.5L jar. I've tried this scrub a few times and the main difference I've noticed in my skin is that it's very smooth and soft after using. The coffee does make a bit of a mess and I found the smell quite strong, but I actually love the smell of coffee! The scent doesn't linger too long but I might try this again adding vanilla fragrance or try a version of Frank's Coconut Coffee Scrub.

Have you tried Frank products or a similar body scrub?

Lesley x