Monday, 29 June 2015

Glowwbox | June 2015

With Summer officially here the June Glowwbox* features 6 beauty products to help keep our hair, skin and makeup in check during this beautiful season. I've written a few Glowwbox posts before but in case you didn't know Glowwbox is a beauty subscription service (£15 + P&P per month) made with women with darker skin in mind. Each box also comes with a mini magazine - Gloww - and in this month's edition I share a few tips on how I care for my hair during a typical British Summer.

I've not had as much time as I'd like to get acquainted with this box (let's just say it's been a busy few weeks) so this is more of a 'what's inside' post than a review. Of the 6 products included, 3 are full size - Mehron Velvet Finish Primer (£18) Black Opal Colour Splurge eye colour in Dusky Glow (£6.95) and Black Opal Colour Splurge Patent Lips in Orange Blaze (£8.95). The other 3 are sample sizes - ClaySpray White Clay and Ginseng (full size £25), Silvertree Moroccan Argan Oil (full size £14.99) and Lucy Annabella Argan & Bergamot Organic Treatment Oil (full size £38).

I'm always struck by the quality of the products included in every Glowwbox and the recommended retail price of Mehron Primer covers the cost of the whole box so it's really great value for money. My combination skin makes it difficult for my makeup to last, especially in the warmer summer months, so a primer is something I end up relying on daily. The Mehron Velvet Finish Primer is oil-absorbing which means it should help makeup stay put. It contains a 'Vitamin C Complex', Aloe Vera extract and Vitamin E which supposedly smoothes and evens out the skin's texture. I look forward to putting this to the test during the next few months.

I love using oils on my hair and skin so I was quite excited to see two different brands of treatment oils included this month. The Silvertree Moroccan Argan Oil can be used on the skin and tresses but the ingredients are really similar to a few hair products I have. It smells awesome and the silicone content helps tame frizz so it's a great finishing touch. The Lucy Annabella Argan & Bergamot Organic Treatment Oil however contains a blend of 9 100% organic oils, including lemon, lavendar, sesame and avocado oil. This is the kind of product I'd rely on for daily use all over my body, especially post-shower on dry areas such as my knees and elbows.

Also inside this month are two Black Opal products, the Colour Splurge Eye Colour in Dusky Glow and the Colour Splurge Patent Lips in Orange Blaze. It's the first time I've tried anything by the brand so it's good to be introduced to something new. The eyeshadow compact features two bronzed neutral shades, which are my favourite tones to wear. The lip colour however is brighter than what I'm used to, but it's an undeniably beautiful shimmery red-orange tone and very pigmented.

Face masks have become my go-to for an instant 'pick-me-up' for my skin. The ClaySpray White Clay and Ginseng Mineral Treatment Masque claims to brighten and tighten skin. I'm hoping to make a little time at the end of the week to really indulge in pampering myself with this. The size of the sachet is quite small, but it should be enough for two uses which is a nice taster into a brand I'm not familiar with.

This Glowwbox is on sale until Saturday 4th July. You can get yours here.

*Sample. See my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Glowwbox or another Beauty Box Subscription service? 

Lesley x

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Style | New Look 70s Style Maxi Dress

Having sun in London always causes me chaos with with figuring out what to wear as most of my wardrobe accommodates windy, rainy weather. I've loved being able to wear maxis and sandals recently and this split side 70s style dress from New Look is one of my favourites. I love the pattern which works surprisingly well with a number of pieces I have like this off-white blazer from H&M and Carvela Kurt Geiger handbag.

Admittedly as I write this it's muggy but raining and cloudy outside. I ran a few errands earlier in a hooded jacket and all black converse which have seen better days, but I'm hoping to do more outfit posts soon which feature more of my British Summer style.

Dress & Sandals - New Look | Blazer & Necklace- H&M | Belt - Next | Bag - Carvela Kurt Geiger (via ASOS) | Sunglasses - River Island (via ASOS) | Watch - Olivia Burton 

What have you been wearing recently? 

Lesley x

Monday, 22 June 2015

Review | KeraCare Overnight Moisturizing Treatment

I've been using a lot of KeraCare products over the last year and the Overnight Moisturizing Treatment(£10.95/115g)* has become one of their products I couldn't do without.

When I first heard of this product the name and the apricot '2' on the packaging had me thinking this was a rinse-out deep conditioner but it's actually more like a moisturiser. KeraCare describes this product as 'a moisturizing nightcap for dry hair' and it really does soften my thirsty strands whilst I sleep. This is one of my favourite KeraCare moisturisers, second only to the Natural Textures Hair Milk. It's a creamy consistency which provides the right amount of moisture without overloading the hair with product.

When I first used this product nightly as directed I didn't notice a huge deal of difference the following day. With regular use over a couple of weeks however, my hair became much softer and easier to manage. As much as I love how much volume my hair gets naturally (as it makes an awesome high bun without any padding) it's cotton-like texture can lead to a lot of tangling and matting, especially at the roots. Even when wearing buns daily my hair (which creates most of the matting issues) when I'm using this product I've noticed a lot less tangling. 

When moisturising I generally split my hair into 2-4 sections (depending on how dry my hair is) and I stick to applying no more than a walnut sized amount of this moisturiser to each section. The product is quite rich and as it's a small tub too I try to use it sparingly. I now mostly use this product in combination with something else to make it stretch further. My typical routine is to use a milk-y product or conditioning mist first and then apply a little of the Overnight Moisturizing Treatment before styling my hair for bed. I keep my hair in place by sleeping in a silk scarf or on a satin pillowcase and this routine has definitely made my mornings smoother and less hairy (pun intended).

Have you tried any KeraCare products? 

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Lesley x

Saturday, 20 June 2015

MIZANI Curl Power Event

On Thursday I attended MIZANI's Curl Power Event at L'Oreal HQ in Hammersmith. The event celebrated 10 years of MIZANI and their achievements over the last decade. Also revealed at the event was their newest product - 25 Miracle Milk. It's a lightweight spritz made with Coconut and Fennel Seed Extract with a multitude of styling, moisturising and strengthening benefits (more info here). 

There was a live demonstration by Celebrity stylist Charlotte Mensah. She used the 25 Miracle Milk to prep the model's hair before rolling up small sections with straws. Charlotte finished the set with a blow dryer and picked apart the curls with an Afro comb for a fuller look. The results were absolutely gorgeous and the definition was beautiful. Charlotte suggests to anyone looking to recreate the style, to keep the straws in over night to make the style last longer. I'm definitely more interested in trying straw sets now as a way to get my ends to match my roots.

Alongside live demonstrations, Charlotte shared her hair tips recommending the use of silk scarves at night, the use of natural oils and stressing the importance of a good diet and exercise. There were also hair consultations in which Charlotte personally recommended products to suit each individual attendee's needs. For my transitioning hair as I like to do curly sets Charlotte suggested I try the True Textures Perfect Curl and True Textures Moisture Stretch Cream. I was given them both to try so we'll see how well they work for my hair. I also received a small sample of the 25 Miracle Milk which will be released later in September this year. A lot of products I use already are milk-like so it'll be interesting to see how this compares! 

Have you tried anything by MIZANI?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Skincare | Bravura London Chemical Peels

I rarely make any dramatic changes in my skincare routine but something I've introduced in the last couple of months is consistently using chemical peels from Bravura London. I've refrained from blogging about these peels for a long time as I wasn't really sure how well they were working until now.

Chemical solutions (like Glycolic and Salicylic) can be used to help lift dead skin and unclog pores. They can be particularly beneficial to acne-prone or oily skin and can help if you suffer from milia (trapped oil under the skin which create little bumps with no head) which is the main reason I started buying peels from Bravura London way back in 2013.

I like to keep things simple with my skin so for a long time I found it really hard to get into a set routine of using these. My use of chemical peels was really inconsistent but recently I've committed to using both Glycolic and Salicylic acid on alternate days as they both have different benefits. Glycolic acid is great for reducing hyperpigmentation, whereas Salicylic is better for acne-prone skin.

All of the products come with full instructions so you know exactly what to do. You have to start with thoroughly cleansed skin that has had time to return to it's usual ph (which is roughly after 30 minutes). If you're strapped for time (or impatient like me) you can apply Bravura's Ginseng toner (pictured above) before your peel which only needs 5 minutes to sit.

The peels come in glass bottles with pipettes and it's best to dispense a few drops separately into a glass dish and then apply this to your face with a synthetic brush (like these) or use your fingers. Depending on the peel you use, with the first applications you start off quite small, only leaving them on for a few minutes at a time and gradually with each use you can add a minute to your application time. When you've finished you just rinse your face with cold or tepid water. As I do these at night I usually just apply a little natural oil or The Body Shop's Vitamin E Serum-In-Oil after my peel is rinsed to keep it moisturised.

When I first used these I worried that my skin might be red raw after use or would get worse but I've never experienced any redness or irritation. The peels are actually quite mild and the main benefit has been smoother skin. Specifically the Glycolic acid has helped get rid of some stubborn dark marks and the Salicylic acid has really shifted some blackheads on my nose. My monthly breakouts have persisted and I still have annoying bumps under the skin (milia) but as it's only been a couple of months I'm hoping I might see more benefits in time to come.

Have you ever tried chemical peels?

Lesley x

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Beauty | Acrylic Makeup Storage

When it comes to keeping my beauty stash organised acrylic pots and containers are my go-to. It's a bit of a blogger cliche as these types of storage are always raved about online but its so much easier to see exactly where my makeup is without having to root through various makeup bags. I think getting visible 'fingerprints' on the storage puts a few people off these but I've never really had an issue with that. Though I'll admit they do show up dust more than your usual makeup box.

I bought my acrylic storage mostly from MUJI and IKEA. I've also bought a couple of pots and organisers from AMAZON, TK Maxx and BHS too for organising some of my hair accessories, nail polish and jewellery. The pots are usually pretty cheap but for the drawer organisers the cost can add up. I bought my storage in stages as I wasn't sure how much I'd like these. Now I can't imagine using anything else to store my beauty items.

I use this MUJI 5 Drawer Acrylic Box (£24.95) mostly for my lip products with lipsticks at the top, lip glosses in the second drawer and lip pencils in the third drawer. There's a couple of rogue eyeliners in the third drawer too and the fourth drawer is reserved for bronzers and blushes. The last is where I put my mascaras and the pieces which don't quite fit anywhere else.

On top of the drawers are a couple of pots from IKEA Godmorgan (£10 set of 5 boxes) which is so great in terms of value for money. I only really keep my MAC makeup in these, particularly my foundations, powders and concealers as these are the most used items and I don't have a lot of MAC makeup.

On the other side is the biggest box from the IKEA Godmorgon set which has all my eyeshadow sticks, compacts and palettes. The box comes with a lid and I keep this out of the way as these makeup pieces barely get any use. On top of the box are my brushes with the smaller brushes in MUJI Retangluar Pots (£1.95 each) and the bigger ones in an OASIS Cube (£4.41) I bought from Amazon.

Keeping my makeup this way definitely encourages me to keep my makeup stash organised in a certain way. It also limits how much makeup pieces I'll buy now as unless I have a clear out not much more will fit in the boxes I have!

How do you store your makeup / beauty items?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

How To | Henna Gloss [Video]

I used henna for the first time in a few months last week and decided to film how I do it for my YouTube channel. I love using henna as my hair just feels so much stronger, shinier and silkier. I really like the red colour too, though it's a shame you can only really see it in certain lighting!

I used henna with conditioner here (known as a henna gloss) and the results were just what my hair needed as it's been looking a little lacklustre lately. I only show the prep, application and what I do after the treatment here as I already have a video on how I mix up my henna here.

The Video: 

If there's anything you'd like to know about henna use you can read my Henna FAQ.

Have you tried henna before?

Lesley x

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Style | Summer Shoe Staples

Now it's officially summer I know there's a few styles I'll be relying on throughout the season.

ASOS Black Lace-Up Peep Toe Ankle Boots | ASOS Nude Pointed Mule Flats | Converse All Star Mono Canvas Sneakers 

ASOS END IT Black Lace-Up Peep Toe Ankle Boots £50
These are my favourite of my summer shoe staples. I had to stalk these shoes on the ASOS website for a few weeks as they kept going out of stock and I couldn't find anything else like them on the highstreet. I love the block heel which isn't too high so these are actually comfortable to walk around in. They look so cute on (you can see a snap here) and add an extra edge to relatively causal outfits. I've been wearing them most with high-wasited jeans and loose tees.

ASOS LABORATORY Pointed Mules £20
I've been looking for a nude pair of shoes for so long for those outfits where black footwear just doesn't cut it. I went back to basics with these slip-ons. I love the leather-look finish with minimal detail. These are perfect for a lazy summer outfit like denim shorts and a cami or a baggy shirt dress.

Converse All Star Mono Canvas Sneakers £44.99
I don't really wear trainers but I love converse. I have them in quite a few different colours and currently this all white pair are my favourite. These have been worn the most out of the shoes here as Converse are always my go-to shoe in the summer. I love these with stripy dresses and bleached denim.

What shoes have you been wearing this season?

Lesley x

Monday, 1 June 2015

Review | KeraCare Gels & Waxes

As my hair has quite a lot of texture I've come to rely heavily on styling products to keep my hair slicked. There's so many different products out there delivering a range of holds and finishes. KeraCare has a huge range of products dedicated to creating sculpted styles so I thought review my favourites here.

KeraCare Styling Wax Stick (£10.70/75g)*
I love this wax and though it's probably more suited to shorter crops, this can be used to tame any flyaways or add texture to longer hair. It's not a product I use every day as the hold is flexible rather than strong. I use this mostly for when I'm wearing my hair in braids to keep my strands smooth but not stiff. I apply a little of the wax straight from the stick down the parting of each section of hair to keep my hair in place whilst styling. When I last used this wax before braiding my hair it still looked pretty smooth even after a gym session which I wasn't expecting (a picture can be seen on my Instagram here). It is pretty pricey for a product I don't use all the time so it's definitely more of a luxury product than a necessity for me.

KeraCare Protein Styling Gel (£3.60/115g)*
I really wasn't sure how much I'd like this initially as I thought the protein content might make my edges hard. This is actually my ultimate favourite product of the three here as the hold is perfect for me and it doesn't flake. I usually wet my hair a little before applying this and smooth the product in either with my fingers or a brush. The finish is very natural and not overly shiny. I'm definitely going to pick up another of these when it runs out.

KeraCare Edge Tamer (£8.80/65g)*
This product is really similar to so many other gel products I've tried before (like ORS Edge Control and Elasta QP Glaze). It gives a nice hold and the finish is super shiny. I prefer a more natural look so I tend to use only a little of this after using the protein Styling Gel if needed. It's suggested on the packaging to smooth this product in with fingers but I always end up using a soft brush as the result is more seamless that way. Whilst this is a good product, you do have to contend with this gel melting throughout the day. If you're anything like me and constantly have 'hand-in-hair syndrome' expect to get a little gel transfer on your fingers.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What hair styling products do you like to use?

Lesley x