Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Black Beauty & Hair | Oct/Nov 2015

Is it really Autumn already? This year feels like it's gone so fast, but with another month almost over it brings another issue of Black Beauty & Hair which is out now.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the cover? The image is from UK Hair company Khairmax featured inside the mag. The company's founder Sade Akinosho is all about inspiring women to 'do more' when styling wigs and encourages her clients to try different hairstyles and colours whilst still making them look natural. This grey curly unit is just one stunning look of six shown inside. Reading the feature has definitely made me think more about being more daring when wearing wigs and extensions.

Also this issue is the Africa Fashion Week London 2015 (AFWL) report, beautiful makeup looks for this season and hundreds of hairstyle ideas. My article 'HD Curls' talks through tips on getting and keeping curl definition, as well as a few products to help. Below is a small sneak peek of my article.

Have you got a copy?

Lesley x

Monday, 28 September 2015

Beauty | Updated Everyday Makeup Routine [Video]

I've made a few tweaks to my everyday makeup routine so I've uploaded an updated version for my YouTube channel. The look is pretty similar to my last Everyday Makeup Routine uploaded in January but it's a tad more simplified with a few different products.

I only ever really ramp up my makeup for evening looks or if I'm going somewhere special at the weekend and it's then that I might play with a little 'strobing', eyeshadow and liner. I rarely use concealer daily too or colour correct on my scars. I tend to do any extra steps when I'm having a bad skin day so I felt like this video was more accurate in showing what I actually do on an average day.

Though it's obvious I'm wearing makeup I tend to go for a more 'fresh faced' approach even with a full face applied. If you'd like to see an evening look, contouring routine or similar, let me know.

The Video:

What's your everyday makeup like?

Lesley x

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hair Update | September 2015 [Video]

I've been debating cutting my straight relaxed ends off pretty much all year and whilst I wanted to wait it out at least another 6 months I just couldn't. I grabbed my shears and started cutting off about an inch just to see how I felt. What started out as a small cut led to me chopping off all of my ends over the last few days and I'm just relieved that my transition to texlaxed is finally over! I've got 10 months worth of natural new growth still but I definitely prefer only having natural and texlaxed hair without my straight relaxed ends in the mix as well. I've probably got more cutting to do but for now I'm happy.

The Video:

What have you been doing with your hair recently?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Initial Impressions | MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk

I was given a sample of newly released MIZANI 25 Miracle Milk Leave-In* way back in June when I attended the MIZANI Curl Power event. It took me a while to get around to trying it but once I did I used the product up inside a week. I didn't get to really test whether there are '25 benefits' but so far so good.

The claim is that this milk pretty much does it all with a variety of styling, strengthening and moisturising benefits. It's suitable for all hair types and is safe for relaxed and colour-treated hair. It's made with Coconut Oil to condition and Xylose which is suppose to give your strands strength and helps prevent heat damage. You can use it on damp hair after washing or on dry hair as a refresher.

I'd say the sample I had was roughly 50ml (there is no marking on the packaging to confirm this) which is about a fifth of the amount of the full-size product (pictured above). I used the sample sparingly where possible mostly on dry hair. It gave my natural new growth and texlaxed curls gorgeous definition, minimal frizz and it was so shiny! It also made my hair easier to detangle in general. The product is heavily scented (or at least my sample was) and whilst I love my products to have a clear fragrance it was a tad overpowering for me.

I've seen the full-size product available online for £14.99 which is almost double the price of some of my other favourite milk-like moisturisers but the definition alone makes this product worth purchasing in the future for me. I wouldn't rely on the Miracle Milk solely for moisturising as I'd probably run out of the product pretty quickly. Instead I would use it alongside other products for easy styling and refreshing my curls. Even though this product is suitable for relaxed hair it does kind of exaggerate the difference between my texlaxed and relaxed ends so I'll wait to purchase this when my transition is complete.

*Sample. See my disclaimer here.

Have you tried anything by MIZANI?

Lesley x

Monday, 21 September 2015

Urban Outfitters Beauty USA

I was sent some of Urban Outfitters' top beauty picks for September through to October from their US website. The US UO online beauty department is filled with an eclectic selection of unique and often exclusive offerings from across the globe. It's been great to get a taste of some products us Brits can't always get our hands on or are much more expensive over here. This post rounds up a few of my favourites from the ones I was sent.

I say it often, but I really love using milk-y products on my hair so I was happy to see Reverie Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment ($42)* sent over. It boasts an impressive ingredients list with lots of natural oils and flower extracts. The scent is pretty natural too - you can really smell the sage and rosemary in this! I've only used it a handful of times but it's left my hair smooth, soft and it's so light. I like it so far but this leave-in is hella pricey. I don't mind paying a bit extra for a great product but I do have my limits. This product would probably suit someone who uses minimal product and doesn't mind paying the extra buck for a quality leave-in.

Eau De Parfums The Matcha and Oud Sahara ($18 each)* also made their way from across the pond. The Matcha smells absolutely gorgeous. I really love floral, feminine perfumes so it suits me to a tee. Oud Sahara has more earthy, woody notes which are often my second choice. Both perfumes seem high quality and are long-lasting. It's a shame these aren't available in the UK as I'd definitely buy these.

The Nudestix Sculpting Pencil ($24)* is something I've been wanting to purchase but the UK £24 price tag is just a bit too high for me especially as I rarely contour. It's been great to try this product which makes sharpening those cheekbones a breeze. Blending is effortless and there's none of that chalky, dirty finish which can sometimes happen if contouring isn't your forte (like me). The Nudestix colour range isn't great though. I was sent the darkest tone and it only just about works for my skin. I really love the concept though so I might just have to find a better medium skin friendly dupe when my skin inevitably gets darker in the summer.

I do love a face mask but rarely make the time to enjoy one. I tried the Pearl Brightening Facial Mask from The Skin Lounge 3 Mask Seoul Collection ($12)* as I typed up this post. Korean beauty brand The Skin Lounge has attained a cult-like status in the last year for their sheet masks. The ingredients, which include witch hazel and castor oil, are soaked onto sheets which you peel the backing off of and apply to cleansed skin. It feels (and looks) pretty strange on but after removal my skin seemed 'fresher' and I'm definitely excited to use another. It's suggested to use these mask sheets 2-3 times a week but as I'm acne prone I'm always careful not to 'overdo' my skincare routine in case I cause inflammation. This set is available in the UK for about £18 though and I would buy these to use every now and again.

Receiving these products has definitely made me realise there was more on offer at Urban Outfitters between the edgy fashion, quirky homeware and gifts. My blog has a pretty diverse readership so for those of you in the US that have tried any of the products here or have bought beauty products from UO what did you think? UK ladies the UO equivalent here isn't as vast but there's definitely a lot more than I realised despite frequenting the UO website often. Have you purchased from them or other stores like Topshop, ASOS and H&M who also sell fashion and beauty?

*Sample. See my disclaimer here.

What beauty products have you been using lately?

Lesley x

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Aphrodite O3 Ultra Hair Steamer

My hair can get quite dry where it's more texlaxed than relaxed now (see here) and having my hair steamed for a KeraCare blogger photoshoot brought back the kind of ultra-softness I haven't really felt in my hair since I started transitioning a year ago. I ended up buying a steamer as a result - the Aphrodite O3 Ultra Hair Steamer. I've written off the idea of having a steamer in the past as I don't have a lot of space for one but I read decent reviews of this particular steamer and I love that it can be packed away easily when it's not in use.

Retailing at £64.99, it's a fair priced in comparison to other similar steamers on the market. I got mine from distributor website beautyhair.co.uk. They were offering a 10% discount and free shipping at the time which definitely swayed my purchase. This product also doubles up as a face steamer but I haven't tried this option yet.

This steamer is really easy to use and set up. It's separated into 3 parts which slot together with minimal effort. You fill it with water from the top until it reaches the maximum level indicated on the water jar. You then press the steam button and it starts heating up pretty quickly taking roughly 5 minutes. The steamer has a safety function which makes it stop working if it's not on a level surface or the water level is too low. 

I've been using my steamer 1-2 times a week since I filmed my Wash Day Routine in August and it makes such a difference. I apply my deep conditioner as usual, though I don't use as much product as I used to, and steam my hair with it on for about 10-15 minutes. I thought I was doing a good job just relying on my usual plastic conditioning cap but my hair has so much more bounce and feels stronger with the addition of my steamer. 

In terms of cons the design of Aphrodite Steamer isn't as polished as it could be. The parts could be better made and I wish the position of the steamer hood wasn't fixed. It can be a bit awkward to steam the back of the hair properly as you can't adjust it and the hood itself could do with being a little bigger. 

Regardless of this steamer's flaws I'm really happy with this purchase as it's made such a huge difference to the condition of my hair in a short time. I'm definitely going to continue steaming my hair every wash day.

Do you have a steamer or receive steam treatments at a salon?

Lesley x

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Review | MAC Lipstick in Paramount

To usher in the new season I finally took advantage of the 'Back to MAC Program' and picked up this MAC lipstick in Paramount (usually £15.50) - a brown/red classic 90s shade.

Of all the MAC lipsticks raved about online this shade rarely gets a mention. The brown-ish tone possibly puts people off but as it looks plum on me I think it's a very wearable shade both when applied fully or dabbed on as a stain (like I have in the picture above). I tend to prefer the latter as I don't tend to wear much bold makeup in general. When I want to ramp it up I'll apply this lipstick fully after lining with a Barry M Red Lip Pencil (in shade 1) which really brings out the red tones in the lipstick.

It's a satin finish lipstick so the formula is matte but creamy. My lips usually need to be buffed and a little balm added first for a smooth finish but I love the result. The pigmentation is perfect for my naturally dark-toned lips and it stays put fairly well.

This is definitely going to be one of my most-used shades for this autumn and I'm excited to create a few different makeup looks with this lipstick. 

What shades of lipstick do you like wearing?

Lesley x

Sunday, 6 September 2015

How To | Big Textured High Bun [Video]

A big textured bun is my go-to style as it's quick, easy and hides my straight, stringy ends. You don't need many products to do this style - just a moisturiser and a gel. I've never shared how I do my everyday bun before so here's a quick video outlining my process. If you have any questions or requests for videos, let me know.

The Video: 

How do you style your hair?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

How To | Styling My Wig with Curlformers [Video]

I've been wearing my RPGShow Glueless Lace Wig on and off over the past few days and the main way I style it is with Curlformers. I've already written a post on this here but I didn't go into great detail about the process. The video below outlines exactly how I do it.

I'm using the Long Spiral Curls Kit (also known as Long & Wide) in the video. It contains 40 Curlformers, 20 which twist clockwise and 20 which twist anti-clockwise (indicated by two different colours). These Curlformers work on hair up to 14 inches long so it's perfect for my wig which is about 11 inches. I bought this kit 4 years ago and I never liked using it on my own hair but it's so easy to get these in and out of my wig, creating gorgeous heatless curls.  

This particular tutorial doesn't require many products, other than the Curlformers. I usually just use a little setting lotion mixed with water in a spray bottle to dampen the hair a little first. For more hold you can use hair spray afterwards. Have any questions? Let me know!

The Video: 

How do you style your hair?

Lesley x