Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Review | Neäl & Wølf Harmony Intensive Treatment

My favourite hair products are always deep conditioners and I have quite a few on hand currently including this Harmony Intensive Care Treatment (£12.95/200ml)* by Neäl and Wølf. I'm not hugely familiar with this brand but Neäl and Wølf describe themselves as 'a professional brand...with a big dose of glamour, gorgeous packaging...at an affordable price'.

The formula smells undeniably beautiful and the packaging does make this feel like a luxury product. However as far as what's actually inside the bottle the only ingredients which stand out to me are Mango Seed Oil and Hydrolyzed Silk. Perhaps it's what isn't in the product which counts as it's free of various additives typically found in hair conditioners like sulphates (sulfates) and parabens.

Despite being suitable for all hair types, this product works far better on my wig than my own hair. As my hair gets pretty dry I rely on deep conditioners each week to soften up my strands and to prevent me having to moisturise constantly. Whilst this treatment does make my hair smooth and soft, it's not quite at the level I'm used to from some of the other deep conditioners I have currently. I've tested a little of the treatment on my straight wig for comparison and the hair felt like butter afterwards. It took barely any product to get the wig hair super soft so my own hair clearly needs that extra something to make it feel conditioned.

I have no preference between salon or drugstore branded hair treatments, but I'll happily pay more for a good deep conditioner. For me this product is only worth the price if your hair doesn't need a lot of product to feel conditioned or if you'll only need to use this occasionally as it's a small bottle. In all this is not a bad product, but my dry hair definitely needs more.

*sample - see my disclaimer here for more info.

Have you tried Neäl & Wølf products before?

Lesley x

Sunday, 26 April 2015

How I care for my hair under wigs [Video]

I've been wearing my wig for about a month now and the latest video up on my YouTube channel is a run-down of how I care for my hair in braids under my wig. My routine is really simple and hasn't changed a huge amount from my usual routine, apart from styling of course! The main thing for me is making sure my hair stays moisturised.

The Video: 

Lesley x

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review | Glowwbox April 2015

As a chocolate obsessive I was pretty excited about April's Glowwbox* aptly named the 'Cocoa Affair Edition'. Glowwbox is a beauty subscription service (£15 + P&P per month) aimed at women with darker skin. As it's the month of Easter and Spring, many of the products in this edition are rich in cocoa or are perfectly suited to the season. 

Inside my box was Figs & Rouge Mocha Orange Hand Cream (£7), Benecos Nail polish in Sharp Rose (£6.95), Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Magic Foot Scrub (£4.99), NYX Cosmetics Glam Shadow Stick in Divine Amber (£4.50), Inlight Chocolate Face Mask (full size £45) and IMAN Luxury Eye Shadow in Tiger Eye (£12.50). Most of the products were full size apart from the Inlight face mask.

Out of the Glowwboxes I've had so far this is probably my second favourite, mostly as the makeup products are similar to items would buy for myself. I don't wear much eyeshadow, but when I do I'm always drawn to neutral or gold tones. The NYX Glam Shadow Stick is a gorgeous gold shade but it's not overpowering on the skin. It's a creamy texture so it glides on and is easy to blend. I haven't tried the IMAN Eyeshadow yet but swatched the colour to get an idea of pigmentation and it's a really pretty metallic brown. I sense I'll be relying on this shadow to create a subtle smoky eye looks. The Benecos nail polish in Sharp Rose is a pale shimmery pink. It's exactly the kind of colour I reserve for my toes and I've already given myself a pedicure with this shade.

My skin has been so dry even with the (slightly) warmer weather so the Figs & Rouge Mocha Orange Hand Cream is now taking up residence in my handbag. It has a light fruity scent and smells more like orange than chocolate. It keeps my hands moisturised without leaving my hands too oily. My feet have been hidden in heeled boots for months and with sandal season around the corner I was definitely in need of a treatment like Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Magic Foot Scrub. Though a self-confessed chocolate fanatic, I'm not a huge fan of Palmers products as I don't really like the scent. As this is a scrub the scent doesn't linger too much and I love that it makes my feet so smooth.

Last month's Glowwbox reminded me to take out some time to pamper myself, so once a week I've been applying a face mask. I love the INLIGHT Chocolate Face Mask, mostly as the ingredients are totally natural. The mask itself smells so delicious it was a shame I could only put it on my face! Only two samples of the Chocolate Face Mask were included and this product is pretty pricey to buy. Luckily one sample is enough for 3 uses as a little goes a long way. I haven't seen a huge change in my skin after use, though it does feel very soft and looks slightly less dull.

The Cocoa Affair is available on the Glowwbox website until 1st May 2015 
You can read my other posts on Glowwbox editions by clicking the below links:
Glowwbox December 2014
Glowwbox February 2015
Glowwbox March 2015

*sample - All of the products in this box were provided courtesy of Glowwbox. See my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Glowwbox or another Beauty Box Subscription service?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

FOTD | Pink Spring Makeup Look

Simple makeup looks are my go-to currently. My skin has been really dry for no apparent reason so the less makeup on my face the better. Luckily having a fringe (bangs) means I can cheat and only have to put makeup on a small area of my face!

I love the matte lip look which can be achieved from just relying on a lip pencil for my lip colour and that's what I'm wearing here. I had a really gorgeous nude lip pencil from KIKO which I can't find anywhere so I picked up this Sleek Makeup Lip Pencil in Bare Essential as a replacement. I wasn't expecting much as it was only £1.99 but it's the perfect nude and is really similar to my natural lip colour. The pigmentation is minimal and the formula is a little dry (as it's a lip liner), but it's nothing a few coats and a bit of lip balm can't fix.

For the rest of my makeup I stuck to pink blush which I rarely wear and a dusky brown for my lids. I've definitely been swept up with the excitement of Spring which has led to me wearing a few more bright colours than usual.

MAC Pro Longwear Foundation (NC42)
MAC Studio Fix Powder (C40)

L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara (Extra Black)
GOSH Forever Eyeshadow (Silver Rose)
ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick (D34)

Rimmel London Brow This Way (Dark Brown)

ELF 50pc Makeup Artist Palette Blush (Light Pink)

Sleek Makeup Lip Pencil (Bare Essential)

Have you tried any new makeup looks?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

2015 Essence Beauty Blogger Awards - I've been nominated!

I was nominated for the 2015 Essence Beauty Blogger Awards in the category of 'Best Up and Coming Blog' which was a total shock. I'm really thankful to be nominated and to win I need to get as many votes as possible. If you can, please vote for me here. Voting is open from now until next Monday 27th April. 

If you don't know already Essence is an immensely successful American lifestyle, fashion and beauty magazine for black women. 

You can find out more about the magazine in these places: 

Thank you for any support!

Lesley x

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Review | KeraCare Natural Textures

I’ve been using KeraCare products for a few years but it wasn’t until last year that I realised how extensive their product range actually is. There’s so much to suit different textures and conditions of afro hair. I’ll be reviewing various KeraCare products over the coming weeks and I thought I’d kick off my first review with the KeraCare Natural Textures* line. I had my first taste of the Natural Textures products back in November after attending a Blogger Breakfast with Dr Ali Syed and I fell in love with a few of them instantly. I'm most familiar with these KeraCare products and they've been tried and tested for several months.

As the name suggests, KeraCare Natural Textures are made specifically for natural afro hair, but a lot of the products work very well for my ‘transitioning’ strands. Most Natural Textures products smell gorgeous and they are all made with high quality ingredients. The ingredients which seem to feature most are Shea Butter, Argan Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Amla, Shikakai (Aurvedic) Botanicals and various Fruit Extracts. As a result, the products are on the pricey side and are marketed as salon quality.

Cleansing Cream (£6.35/240ml)*
As much as I love that squeaky clean feeling, most dry or curly hair types can’t take that regular lather, rinse and repeat. This sulphate-free shampoo is a gentle cleanser which removes product build-up without stripping the hair. The shampoo texture is quite thick, resembling a conditioner. As a result, it leaves my hair very soft, moisturised and distinctly less frizzy after using which is always a plus. It doesn’t give me that deep clean feeling, so when I need to clarify my hair from build-up I prefer to use a stronger product (like KeraCare 1st Lather Shampoo) first.

Leave-In Conditioner (£5.75/240ml)*
This is a product I’ve come to rely on a lot post-wash as my roots are very prone to frizz. When my hair is about 50% dry I apply a little of this leave-in to smooth out my strands. It has a bit of slip too so it also helps ease a few of the tangles, preparing my hair for the styling that’ll follow. 

Hair Milk (£8.85/240ml)* 
Without a doubt this is my absolute favourite Natural Textures product. I love milk-y textured products as my hair drops and looks flat if I use anything heavy on my strands. This Hair Milk provides lasting moisture to my thirsty strands without leaving it lank and greasy.

Honey Shea Co-Wash (£7.30/227g)*
To me this product is pretty similar to the Cleansing Cream but it acts more like a conditioner. It’s another great alternative to harsh or stripping shampoos and it's perfect for those who wash their hair regularly. Whilst it’s supposed to be a stand-alone product I’ll always follow this with a deep conditioner as I'm a bit obsessive about ensuring my hair is conditioned to the max each wash day.

Deep Moisturising Masque (£11.95/227g)*
Deep Conditioners are always my favourite products to use. I strongly believe that regardless of your hair type or condition, the right deep conditioner can transform your hair. I have so many deep conditioners that I love already that I had high expectations for this masque. I’ve found it’s not one of those deep conditioners that you can feel working instantly. In fact, when I put it on my hair it always seems to take a long time to sink in and it’s not until I rinse it off that I can really feel how well it’s worked. A plastic cap is a must for this product to help it absorb fully and this is one of the few deep conditioners that I will put aside a full 15 minutes to use as the results are so worth the wait. The only downside is I get through a lot of this product with each use so each tub doesn’t last long.

Butter Cream (£8.40/227g)*
The Butter Cream is like a thick whipped version of the Hair Milk so unsurprisingly it's another favourite. I love using it when I’m twisting or braiding my hair as it gives my hair great definition and shine. I only ever really need to use a little of this product at a time so I’ve had this product on hand for a few months. I like to mix it with a little of the Hair Milk too for the perfect moisturising combo. 

Twist & Define Cream (£7.25/227g)*
I really wanted to love this product as it’s supposed to give ‘smooth, soft twists and twist-outs’ but it's the product I reach for least out of this range. It provides beautiful definition but you have to use this on wet hair each time or it can make the hair dry and sticky. I don’t always tend to wet my hair when doing twist-outs and I like to re-twist my hair each night so I just personally find it a little inconvenient to have to wet my hair every time to use this product.

Defining Custard (£7.10/227g)*
I’ve been on the look out for a great defining product, but I haven't been able to make this work for me. My natural hair lacks definition, so throw relaxer into the mix and without any product my hair can look like a fluffy mess. Like the Twist & Define Cream this ‘Custard’ needs to be used wet. Though I’ve followed the instructions to the letter each time I’ve tried this my hair never quite comes out right. My hair usually ends up dry and flaky which is a shame. 

Overall I love this range of KeraCare products. Most of them work well for me, smell great and I’ll definitely continue to use and buy most of them when they run out. The only products I’m not to crazy about are the Defining Custard and the Twist & Define Cream. I’ve seen many natural ladies get great results with these products so maybe its my transitioning hair which makes them not work for me. I'm hoping that if I revisit these two products when my transition is complete that they'll work better. 

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried any Keracare products before?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Style | Forever 21 Blazer & Missguided Playsuit

It's rare that I actually spend time exploring London, which is a shame as I don't live too far from the centre. Recently a really good friend of mine left London to return to her home in Australia. In her short 2 years staying in London she has seen far more than I have my twenty-something years of living here. There's so much to do and I want to make more time to see London. In that same vein, me and my other half did the tourist-y thing and visited The Shard, an 87-storey skyscraper in Southwark recently. The views are gorgeous and it was good to gaze at the sights I don't see enough of.

I didn't plan to make a blog post out of my visit, so this is an impromptu outfit post. I've been wearing this Forever 21 Boyfriend Blazer a lot recently as it's so comfy and the playsuit is a Missguided favourite I haven't worn since November. It's a little short on me, but I love the floral detail and white collar so I'm going to make a point of wearing it a lot more this summer.

Playsuit - Missguided | Blazer - Forever 21 | Shoes - Primark | Belt - New Look | Bag - Topshop | Watch - Olivia Burton

What have you been wearing?

Lesley x

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Hair | Bob with Bangs

After weeks of indecisiveness I finally decided to cut bangs (a fringe) on my rpgshow unit. When I bought this wig my intention was always to have bangs but when I first cut the hair on the unit I hated it.

I only cut a little when I first got my wig which meant I had enough hair left at the front which I could sweep to the side or braid. I've been braiding the front a lot and as much as I love this look (see here), having to deal with trying to style my curly 'baby hairs' and putting concealer in my part to make it look realistic just wasn't for me. I didn't want to have any leave-out at all either as the whole point of me wearing a wig is to protect my own hair from everyday styling.

I wanted my bangs to be pretty textured and kind of wispy-looking so I relied on a lot of point-cutting (cutting upwards into the hair) to get this effect. I probably need to cut more off as it's still a little too long for me but I'm definitely happier with how the wig looks now. I actually cut my own hair in this exact style (quite) a few years ago when I was in my teens but I was so obsessed with my hair being perfectly straight I quickly got frustrated with having bangs. I'm excited to play with this wig and try different looks with the bangs though and I've pinned a few looks I want to try on my Pinterest Bobs board.

Have you ever tried bangs/a fringe?

Lesley x

Monday, 6 April 2015

Style | New Look Sleeveless High Neck Midi Dress

I've wanted a high neck dress for a while so I finally caved and bought one a few weeks back in the New Look sale (I couldn't not at just £8). I've paired it with a few of the usual suspects here - this houndstooth scarf and floppy hat have seen so much wear lately. I also wore this slouchy camel blazer from Forever 21 which had previously been forgotten under a pile of woollen Winter coats. It's still cold in the UK currently but I've been mixing my Winter and Spring items together in an attempt to be practical and fashionable. Needless to say I can't wait for the warmth of Summer, especially as my arms and legs haven't seen much daylight in the past year!

Whilst we're on the subject of my legs, I got a cluster of insect bites on the lower part of my left leg last summer which became infected leaving various nasty dark pits and scarring. My skin has always been prone to hyper pigmentation and scarring, but I've never had it this severe. I can also usually fade my scars with a little regular exfoliation (which is minimal effort on my part). This scarring however hasn't budged at all and I think the only thing that'll get rid of it is by trying something like a laser treatment. I'm now looking into options so if anyone has tried something similar to get rid of some bad scarring let me know. In the mean time I've been relying on opaque tights, makeup or I just crop out or cross my legs in photos (as I have done here) to hide the scarring.

Dress - New Look Blazer - Forever 21 | Hat - H&M | Shoes - ASOS | Watch - Olivia Burton | Scarf - Primark

What have you been wearing?

Lesley x

Friday, 3 April 2015

Black Beauty & Hair | April/May 2015

 photo Black-Beauty-Hair-April-May-2015-Cover_zpskjymzrjz.jpg

The latest issue of Black Beauty & Hair is out now. I've not chilled out and flicked through a magazine in a couple of months so it's been great to have a good read today. It's wedding season, so this issue of Black Beauty & Hair features lots of hair and makeup advice to get brides-to-be ready for the big day. There's also a really interesting article on waist training. As someone who's body is more 'straight up and down' than curvy, I'm so intrigued to know whether waist training could actually work for me. Keisha Meikle explores the pros and cons in her article.

Also inside this issue is my article on how to add volume to fine hair. For a good number of years I couldn't work out why my hair looked so flat and lifeless until eventually I realised that a lot of my strands were naturally 'fine' and some had thinned out from chemical use. Fine or thinning hair needs completely different care so I've outlined the best way to treat fine strands and how to achieve a thicker-looking mane.

Have you got a copy?

Lesley x