Monday, 29 February 2016

Review | ORS Curls Unleashed

I've been using ORS haircare products for years, especially when my hair was fully relaxed, but have only recently tried products from their Curls Unleashed range which is designed specifically for coily and kinky textures. There's a huge array of products on offer in the Curls Unleashed range so I knew I'd find something that I loved.

At the end of last year I road-tested the ORS Curls Unleashed Shea Butter & Mango Leave-In Conditioner and whilst I love the effect it has on my strands I just can not get over the sweet Mango scent. I rarely like anything that smells like, contains or even resembles Mango so I probably should have guessed it wouldn't be for me but as I still liked the product I thought I'd give some of the other Curls Unleashed products a try. I picked up the Coconut & Honey Hair Milk (£6.29) and the Cocoa & Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Crème (£6.39) from Boots in-store in January (ensuring the aroma was more to my liking first). Both are not as heavily scented as the Mango Leave-In and the Hair Milk has a gorgeous subtle coconut fragrance.

Both products are made with Shea Butter and Olive Oil giving them a creamy texture. The Cocoa & Shea Butter Leave-In is great for smoothing out my strands post wash. I usually apply a liberal amount in sections whilst my hair is still damp to lock in moisture. The formula is so rich and thick I can get away with using this product by itself. When my hair is dry and in need of moisture throughout the week I'll reach for the Coconut & Honey Hair Milk. I love the hair milk most which is great for creating super soft braidouts. The only downside for me is that the bottle is far too small as it's really easy to be heavy-handed with this product. I've now almost finished a second bottle, which considering it's only been two months and I also use other moisturisers seems a lot. I probably will pick up another though as it's cheaper than some of the other moisturisers I use and still does a good job.

Have you tried ORS Curls Unleashed?

Lesley x

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Event | Radiant London Salon Launch

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending the launch night for revamping of Radiant London's salon in Bermondsey. I remember first discovering the brand on Instagram at the end of last year and being in awe of the gorgeous on-trend styles created by the team.

Their Bermondsey salon oozes luxury and salon owner Rita Balogun says she aims to give customers "star treatment" and "take the client experience to the next level". The salon offers a variety of services including weaves, custom wigs, cuts and treatments. The salon also boasts a cocktail bar and a virtual mirror with built in lighting so you can share snaps of your new hairstyle across social media websites Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

On the night there was the opportunity for guests to experiment at the wig bar, have complimentary shellac, choose a style at the braid bar and have Demure Lashes applied. I opted for the latter two options, had these lashes applied and choose this braided style, and I am so in love with it (shown above). I posted the same snap on my Instagram page and I'm stunned by the response. So many of you loved this style and it was reshared more times than anything I've ever posted. Ever. It really is a beautiful braiding pattern and it's funny as I had actually attempted to create my own braided style on Tuesday to give my usual everyday bun a little more excitement. The braids I had created were so bad and my hair was still wet as I didn't expect to have my hair styled. It was such a treat to have my hair braided properly and I couldn't be happier with the look.

Here's a few some snaps* from the night including a shot of salon owner Rita Balogun below.
Radiant London's Bermondsey salon will be open for business on Tuesday 2nd March 2016.

*images of the event were provided courtesy of Radiant London.

Have you heard of Radiant London? 

Lesley x

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

New In | Beauty Feb 2016

We're almost at the end of another month in 2016 and it's fair to say I've relapsed a little in my attempt to become a reformed shopaholic.

The Lip Colours 

Let's just say I'm having a moment with lip products. I am really trying to have a general minimalist approach to how many items I own (my tiny space can only take so much) but there are a couple of things that I always end up slipping into my shopping basket. This month I've been collecting a lot of pink-toned lip colours. In fact, all of the lip shades here ended up looking very close in colour to my last New In post. I end up with the same colours constantly. I really need to check what I have already before making a purchase. Here my absolute favourite is the MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Creme In Your Coffee (£15.50). It's another shade I picked up for 'free' using the Back to MAC program and it is just so gorgeous. It's similar to Mocha but the formula is so much more moisturising making it easier to wear.

I first came across L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Gloss in Amen (401) (£6.99) when helping 'model' some lip colours for Annie's Find Your Swatch Gallery, which you have to check out if you haven't already (it really shows how the same colours can look completely different on varying skintones). I ended up buying it even though it is almost identical to the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes. I prefer the L'Oreal Matte Gloss as it's still quite moisturising gliding and staying put on the lips better. The packaging of the H&M Lipstick in Cream Chestnut (£7.99) duped me into thinking this would be a peachy tone but it's a muted pink on me. I did try to get something different here but alas I ended up with yet another soft pink lipstick and I recently acquired the Sleek MakeUp Twist Up Liner in Lychee (£2.50)* which is a bright fuchsia. Both are smooth, moisturising formulas.

The Makeup Accessories 

A lot of blogs have been filled with talk on the Artís oval brushes like this one priced at £55 and MAC's Oval 6 Brush at a slightly more purse-friendly £34.50. I've never been one to drop any more than £10 on a single brush. I couldn't be happier with my Real Techniques brushes and considering a few bloggers have broken these pricey brushes it's not worth it for me. I still wanted to see what these toothbrush-resembling products were like though so my £1.10 option here was a no-brainer. I got it from eBay here from a Chinese seller. It took about 2 weeks to come but it was little more than a £1! I could buy and break 31 one of these and still have spent less on the real deal (yup I did the maths). I've only tried this brush once and honestly the jury is still out on the verdict so I'll update you when I've road-tested this a little more in the coming weeks.

I also picked up the brushegg also from eBay here for £2.20. It's a brush cleaning glove which you slide over your fingers and use the grooves on the back to remove dirt and grime. It works perfectly and just makes cleaning brushes a little faster without damaging the bristles. I'm not sure if I bought the genuine brushegg product as the listing doesn't state the brand name at all. It's quite small too so if you have a lot of large brushes a bigger cleansing mat would probably work better. Lastly, also new in this month are these Celine False Eyelashes (£5)* by Demure Lashes which I received at event at Radiant Salon yesterday. I had them applied at the event and it was a shame to take them off at the end of the night. They are definitely one of the more natural-looking super long falsies I've used!

I'm hoping next month will be a little lighter on my bank account, especially as I buy similar items again and again. I definitely can't help getting a little swept up in the excitement of newness!

*sample received at an event - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been buying lately? 

Lesley x

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Skincare | Getting Rid of Dark Marks

Hyper pigmentation is something that has plagued me as far back as I can remember. Dark spots (or hyper pigmentation) occurs when there is an over-secretion of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin colour). This can be caused by various reasons, including hormone imbalance, acne scarring, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stress and pregnancy. It’s best to check with your GP to find out what the cause is for you but when they do occur you’ll be glad to know there are a few ways to get rid of pesky dark marks.

1 Hydrate
Dark patches and discolouration is often evident in dry skin and dryness is worsened by extreme weather, both hot and cold. Drinking plenty of water will help keep the skin hydrated, but try to moisturise daily too. It’s best to use gentle, unfragranced creams suitable for sensitive skin to prevent causing any irritation. When washing, avoid scolding hot showers as this can dry out the skin. Also swap out any harsh soaps or shower gels for more moisturising formulas with natural oils like jojoba and sweet almond. 

2 Exfoliate
A build up of dead skin cells can lead to clogged pores and uneven skintone. Counter this by gently exfoliating as often as you find necessary. Exfoliation also encourages the formation of new healthy skin, making your skin appear brighter and fresher. You can use a scrub (like this one), body brush or exfoliating gloves to slough away any excess skin. 

3 Natural masks
By raiding your kitchen cupboards you may find a natural solution for dark marks. Lemons, potatoes, milk or tumeric can be mixed and matched together into a face mask to help even out the skin. It's best to do these treatments at night, particularly as they tend to have a subtle bleaching effect which might make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Apply for at least 10-15 minutes to give the mask time to work and moisturise afterwards to keep the skin hydrated. Natural masks are not an instant fix so repeated applications will be needed depending on the severity of your dark marks.

4 Ditch shaving
Using a razor regularly irritates the skin and the resulting short, sharp hairs from shaving can grow back into the skin causing bumps and discolouration. You can either lessen how often you shave to prevent problems or switch to using hair removal creams or wax to get rid of any pesky hairs. The latter methods pull hair out from the root and generally don’t have to be done as often as shaving, preventing dark marks from occurring. 

5 Sunscreen
It's not just fair skin that needs an SPF. By applying a liberal amount of sun protection every day (yes even in Winter) your face and body is shielded from the sun rays, preventing sun damage. Several makeup and skincare brands now include products with small amounts of SPF to make protecting your skin easier. If you want maximum protection it's best to apply sun protection separately underneath your foundation. Look for products which claim to protect against both UVA and UVB damage. 

6 Professional Treatments
If you find your dark marks particularly embarrassing a professional treatment on the recommendation of your doctor or dermatologist might be your best solution. Popular treatments which help lessen the appearance of dark marks are laser treatments, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. These treatments are more invasive than using natural products, so the effects can be more dramatic and seen much more rapidly. 

How do you get rid of dark marks / hyper pigmentation?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

How To | Make Foundation More Yellow [Video]

Overly pink foundation is my biggest struggle when it comes to finding makeup which suits my skintone but I know I'm not alone. I've already written a post on finding the perfect foundation but what happens if you have something that isn't perfect?

I'll always mix up my own shade when a bottled one won't do. The foundations I use are all from MAC Cosmetics and whilst they are all suited to warmer/neutral tones there is a stark difference between the different types of foundation on offer. For example the MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation has always matched my skin perfectly in shade and undertone (in NC40 & NC42). However my skin is far too oil-prone for this foundation to stay put so I reluctantly looked to alternatives. The MAC Pro Longwear Foundation suits my skin type perfectly but the colour is so off. The NC tones which work so perfectly with the Studio Sculpt Foundations are just too pink for me with the Pro Longwear Foundations.

I've seen a few videos on using yellow food colouring, yellow eyeshadow and even turmeric to adjust foundation which is too pink but I really wanted an actual product made for altering foundation shades. Cue the Make Up For Ever Chromatic Mix in Yellow (£12.95). I purchased it from Guru Makeup Emporium and this tiny (pricey) bottle is a life-saver. Makeup looks so much more natural when matched correctly and I'm hoping this will be the end of my too-pink foundation woes for good.

I've had no problems using the Make Up For Ever Chromatic Mix so far and have been using it to adjust my foundation for the last few days. I got the water-based version to work with the foundations I have but there's also an oil-based version. The texture of formula stays the same after being mixed though I've noticed it changes the scent to a paint-like smell. That's the only negative I've seen so far and this beauty works with concealers too.

YouTube videos on this particular product are virtually non-existent, which may be as this is considered a 'pro' product and it isn't widely available. I created a video on the exact process I've been doing for the past few days to mix my foundation (including making it a little darker) and I'll probably put together a full review on the Chromatic Mix when I've used it more in the next few weeks.

The Video: 

As ever, let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions for videos you'd like to see next.

Do you have to tweak your foundation shade to match your skin?

Lesley x

Friday, 12 February 2016

FOTD | Valentine's Beauty

When it comes to Valentine's Day beauty my makeup is pretty straightforward. A bright lip feels most natural and I usually dress up my eyes with a little winged liner. Here I've added a swipe of shadow too. Granted this is far more 'overdone' for what will probably be an evening in with the other half and a takeaway, V-Day does fall on a Sunday this year after all. I couldn't not do a classic V-Day makeup look though so here's what I would wear. 

This lipstick from the L'Oreal Color Riche range is a new addition to my makeup collection. The colour straddles red and pink and it's a welcome change from the plethora of pillar box red lipsticks I have already. It's gorgeously pigmented and whilst it is supposed to be matte it has a slight sheen to it and I don't find it drying. 

I'm still a complete novice when it comes to applying eyeshadow no matter how many YouTube tutorials I watch, so I kept my eyes pretty simple. I used a mix of Iman Luxury Eye Shadow in Tiger Eye* (from April's Glowwbox) and Ted Baker Eyeshadow from their Brilliance of Beauty set. As it's Winter I have to rely on usual indoor lighting and as I was standing right underneath my ceiling light the tones of the eyeshadows don't 'pop' as much in the photos as they do in real life. I really love these eyeshadows though and they complement each other perfectly.

I've been missing my long hair a lot lately so will occasionally live vicariously through extensions. Here I'm wearing these bundles I bought from Aliexpress months ago. I just wrapped the tracks around the base of my ponytail and secured with a few bobby pins. I initially planned to make these bundles into clip-in extensions but the individual tracks are pretty thin so I've now made a u-part wig out of the hair. The curls are gorgeous, though looser than my hair texture, and blending them together is almost seamless. You can expect a few more snaps of me wearing this hair soon. 

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

Ted Baker London Eye Shadow Trio (Brilliance of Beauty Set)
Iman Luxury Eye Shadow (Tiger Eye)
KIKO Ultimate Pen Long Wear Eyeliner (Black)
L'Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes Mascara (Extra Black)

Eylure Brow Kit (Dark Brown)
KIKO Brow Mascara (Black)

Maybelline New York Dream Sun Triple Bronzing Powder (Blonde)

L'Oreal Paris Color Riche Matte Lipstick (430 Mon Jules)

*received in April's Glowwbox. You can read my disclaimer here

Do you have a typical Valentine's makeup look?
Lesley x

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Hair | How I Detangle [Video]

I've had a few questions on how I detangle my hair so I put together this video. The key things for me are only detangling when my hair is moisturised or dampened slightly with an oil or conditioner and working my way in small sections from the ends to the roots. I do most of my detangling on wash day so I've shown the exact process I usually follow below.

The Video:

How do you detangle?

Lesley x