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