Sunday, 31 January 2016

Haircare | Spot Hair Conditioning

I've always had such great success with conditioning certain areas of my hair separately, specifically my ends or my edges. Mid 2010 was the first time I started applying conditioner only to the last couple of inches of my hair as it was in such a terrible state that I hoped it might curb the breakage. It became a great pick-me-up for my strands, and targeting problem areas in this way really helped with overcoming some serious hair damage.

I recently spent a week skiing in the snowy French Alps and one day it was -14! My ends suffered so much from the cold even with daily moisturising whilst the rest of my hair stayed relatively hydrated. I was only able to fully condition my hair once whilst on holiday (due to having limited product) and eventually I had a lightbulb moment. I could have focused the conditioner where it was needed most - my porous, dry ends.

Since I've been back home (in a marginally warmer climate) deep conditioning my ends more than I would do my whole head has really injected some life back into them. It's so much quicker than having to deep condition my whole mass of hair just to keep my pesky ends in shape. My ends dry quickly too so I'm not always having to go to bed with a wet mop of curls post-wash. I'm definitely going to continue this method in between wash days for the rest of the winter.

Key things to remember when spot conditioning...
- Identify the most damaged or dry areas of your hair (if any). This method is not intended to replace regular conditioning but add extra attention to areas which are weaker than the rest of your hair.
- Rinsing areas with water first helps remove some product build-up but be sure to let it dry a little before application to maximise conditioning.
- You can spot condition with a regular conditioner, deep conditioner, heated oils and even henna.
- Apply a generous amount of product and leave on for at least 15-30 minutes. You can do this overnight if you prefer.
- Covering the hair after application helps it stay warm during the process for better conditioning.
- How often you condition depends on your personal hair needs and lifestyle.
- Consistency and patience are key so you may have to try this a few times before you see results!

Have you tried spot conditioning?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Review | Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus

I've been experimenting with a lot of different products of late and whilst I try not to play favourites these products from the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus line are the ones I keep reaching for again and again.

The Curl & Shine Conditioner (£10.99) gives a lot of slip and definitely makes my hair feel soft and shiny. It's made with Silk Protein (to smooth the hair) and Neem Oil (for shine and anti-frizz) as well as Coconut Oil and Hibiscus Flower extract. The consistency is quite thin and runny though as it's a daily conditioner. I was definitely expecting the formula to be a lot thicker given the ingredients and that it's produced for thick, curly hair. This hasn't been a problem for me though as it does get out tangles fairly easily. I usually apply post-shampoo, detangle and then rinse after a few minutes. If your hair gets weighed down easily this is probably a winner, but if it takes a lot more to keep the moisture in you'll may need something heavier.

The Curl Enhancing Smoothie (£12.99) is my go-to product for adding extra definition to my hair. It's very thick and the perfect partner for frizzy hair. I love that you can use it on wet or dry hair and it gives really soft crunch-less curls regardless of when you use it. I usually add a little in sections after moisturising or apply it to my ends when they're starting to look a little flat. The ingredients are similar to the Curl & Shine Conditioner but this product is also made with Carrot Oil, Avocado Oil and Aloe Vera Extract and it smells so good.

I've been using the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Styling Milk too but as I've already reviewed this I won't detail much of what I've stated already. I've been using it mostly with the above products and it provides the right amount of moisture to my strands. The bottle is tiny though so I get through it quite quickly!

I'll definitely be picking up the Curl Enhancing Smoothie and the Styling Milk again soon. The price is a killer and I wish the products were much bigger. There are certain brands I'm willing to pay more for though and Shea Moisture is definitely one of them. I like the Curl & Shine Conditioner but it's no patch on the Superfruit Complex Conditioner so I'll be grabbing another bottle of that when it's all finished. I picked up the Shea Moisture products here from Boots in-store but they're also sold online and more online retailers based in the UK are finally stocking this brand.

Have you tried Shea Moisture products?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

New In | NYX & KIKO Makeup

I've been taking a pretty minimalist approach to shopping recently but with a KIKO gift voucher from friends to spend and NYX cosmetics available from more retail outlets in the UK, I couldn't not acquire a few new beauty items.

My favourites of the items here are the two NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (£5.50 each) purchased from feelunique.com. I've heard good things about these and there's 21 different colours to choose from. Cannes and Prague appealed the most to me and are a good fit for my medium skintone. Cannes is a beautiful soft mauve and Prague is a bright berry shade. Both have a velvety finish which is matte but not too drying. I usually prefer to wear balm underneath matte products but I've found without balm the formula of these lip creams stays on better.

From KIKO I picked up a few more lip products - two Smart Lipsticks (£3.90 each) in Mauve (915) and Rosewood (913) and a Smart Lip Pencil (£2.50) in Rosewood (703). I realised afterwards that I bought shades which were similar to the NYX products. I have a really bad habit of accidentally purchasing several products in similar or the same colours! I love these too though as they're easy to wear and the silky smooth finish of the lipsticks are so pretty.

Also from KIKO I got the Mat Base Corrector Primer (£8.90), a gel-like cream which claims to absorb sebum. I've tried a lot of primers on my naturally oily skin and none have really had a truly long-lasting effect. I love this product so far as it instantly removes shine and preps it perfectly to make my foundation last longer than usual.

Lastly I got the KIKO Shade Fusion Trio Blush in Abricot (£10.90). This product contains 3 colours which you can use alone or you can blend them together. The compact is perfect for my handbag as it snaps shut (and stays shut) magnetically and it's fairly small.

Overall I'm pretty happy with all of the items here and they're already featuring in most of my makeup looks.

What beauty items have you been using lately?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Haircare | Gentle Products To Dry Hair

I air dry my hair about 95% of the time and my blowdryer barely sees any use. I have a video on my air drying process here and a key part of this process is relying on cotton materials or microfibre towels to dry my hair without damage and minimal frizz.

Why avoid using a normal towel? A regular bath towel has fibres which are far too rough for drying delicate wet strands. Even with gentle patting motions, this material tends to rub up against the hair cuticles which can cause breakage and, it sounds strange, but regular towels also tend to remove too much moisture from the hair. This makes hair (especially if it's curly) dry and frizzy. In comparison, cotton has a flat surface and microfibre materials aren't as fluffy or thick which allows them to remove moisture without causing too much friction on the hair cuticles. As a result, I never reach for a standard towel when it's time to dry my hair.

I've found that you do not need to buy any particularly special products to dry your hair. You probably already have something you can use which won't cost you anything! I personally use old cotton t-shirts (pictured right), sheets or pillowcases.

If you don't have anything you could use but don't want to spend much, you could use try browsing the sale section of any cheap fashion retailer or a charity shop for options. A large mens t-shirt is usually big enough for thick and long hair. If you get a t-shirt with sleeves or straps it's also easier to keep it secured to your head whilst your hair dries if necessary.

There are gentle products specifically designed for drying hair available too. I have purchased microfibre towels in the past (pictured left), some of which are available at little cost from the Poundshop and in supermarkets. If you don't mind spending a bit more BritishCurlies.com has various options like Curl-Ease Towels, Curls Like Us Cloths, Jessicurl towels or Curly Hair Solutions Hand Dry Hair Gloves. Most of these retail above £15 so it really depends on your budget.

I made the switch to cotton and microfibre materials years ago and seeing the benefits for my hair means I'll never go back to using a regular towel.

What do you use to dry your hair?

Lesley x

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Hair | How I Texlax [Video]

A video on how I texlax / relax has been long overdue as I get daily requests to make this video. It isn't a complicated process but there are a few precautions that you have to take when using a relaxer, as with any chemical process. Certain things are key for me to ensure texlaxed results which I explain in the video. However, my process won't necessarily produce the same results for someone else, even if we have the exact same hair texture naturally. It's that point which I want to stress the most as many of the questions I get tend to be how someone can texlax to get results exactly like mine. A lot of factors come into play when using chemicals unfortunately so this video is more of a guide or may provide some tricks to help with your texlaxing (or relaxing) process.

The Video:

I wanted to be as detailed as possible without this being a super long video, so if there's anything specific you need to know comment below.

What videos would you like to see next?

Lesley x

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Review | ORS Curls Unleashed Leave-In Conditioner

I've tried a lot of Leave-In Conditioners and ORS Curls Unleashed No Boundaries Leave-In Conditioner (£6.39)* is definitely one of the best ones I've come across as it softens my hair and defines even the limpest curls.

The instructions state that this should be applied to damp hair, which I've mostly been following, however I've had great results using this on dry hair too. The best thing about this leave-in is I can usually get away with just using this product. Most of my other leave-in conditioners need some sort of moisturiser, or curl enhancing product on top to stop my hair losing definition easily. I do however have to use a lot of product each time or use it more often as my hair seems to drink this up quickly.

The main ingredients are Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Mango extract and Keratin, and I love most of what's actually in it. It does however contain silicones which isn't ideal considering I've started relying on co-washing more often recently (silicones usually need a thorough sudsing to prevent build-up). I'm not crazy on the scent of this product either. Maybe it's the mango as it's so sickly sweet and overpowering for me. That's the only real problem I have with this Leave-In and it's such a shame as despite being a great product it's really hard to ignore how much I dislike the scent.

Trying this product has definitely piqued my interest in the ORS Curls Unleashed products which are currently available from Boots nationwide and boots.com. There's quite a few different types available and I'm hoping this means the fragrance of the other products are different too. I'm pinning my hopes on the Cocoa & Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioner to replace the one here or the Coconut & Honey Hair Milk. It would be great to know if any of you have tried these already!

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried ORS Curls Unleashed products?

Lesley x