Sunday, 27 March 2016

Review | Sudio VASA Rose Gold White Earphones

I rely on music daily and earphones are just as much as a fashion accessory for me like a necklace, bag or belt. As a result the look has to match the sound and recently nothing can beat beautiful minimalistic design. Actually most of my music-related tech takes a nod from contemporary Scandinavian designers so I was really excited when Swedish earphone company Sudio contacted me about reviewing their Earphones.

I chose their VASA Rose Gold White Earphones (£55)* which is one of Sudio's premium models. Inside the box are the earphones, spare earbuds, rose gold cord clip, leather storage pouch as well as the manual and guarantee certificate. The earphones are undeniably well designed with Rose-Gold painted aluminum housing. They feature a flat anti-tangle cord, 3 button remote compatible with iOS and Android and quality sound.

Sudio state "the user is now able to hear every detail, in every instrument, in every song, giving a unique unforgettable sound experience". I've had my fair share of earphones over the past few years and these are easily the best in terms of sound quality. The in-ear feature blocks outside noise making them far superior to the standard Apple earphones which came with my iPhone 6. I've tested them with a range of musical genres and the audio is crisp and bassy with minimal sound leakage. They have better sound quality than my Frends Layla Headphones which retail for almost triple the price. These are a great option for those that want a stylish pair of earphones which sound as great as they look.

You can browse the full range of Sudio Earphones on their website. If you're interested you can get 15% off with the promo code 'freshlengths15'.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Which earphones/headphones do you use?

Lesley x

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Event | Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection

Award-winning hairdresser Charlotte Mensah unveiled her new haircare collection at her salon (Hair Lounge) on Thursday evening and it's stunning. On the night Charlotte talked us through her high-end collection which has been 6 years in the making.

Manketti Oil Shampoo (£18/250ml) | Manketti Oil Conditioner (£18/250ml) | Manketti Oil (£36/100ml)

The Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection contains 3 products at present, a shampoo, conditioner and hair oil - all containing sustainably sourced Manketti Nut and Ximenia Oil. I've tried a whole host of oils on my hair and skin but Manketti, which has been used in Africa for centuries, is entirely new to me. At the event vials of the Manketti Hair Oil were available and it melts beautifully into the skin. I can only imagine what this will do for my hair so I can't wait to try it properly.

Decorated with beautiful gold detailing, Charlotte (left below) assured us that what's inside is every bit as luxury as the packaging. She's created her line by testing it on her clients throughout development and it aims to deliver hydration, superior softness and shine to undernourished hair.

At the event she demonstrated using the Manketti Hair Oil and the Manketti Conditioner on a variety of curly hair types (see above) and explained that her products have multiple uses. I'll definitely be trying the Manketti Oil as a pre shampoo treatment and to seal in my moisturiser. Charlotte suggested applying the Manketti Conditioner as a leave-in too by mixing a 50p sized amount of the conditioner with water in a spray bottle. I'm excited to see how well these will work for me so I'll keep you posted on the results.

The Charlotte Mensah Haircare Collection is available online at www.charlottemensah.com
Images of the event were provided courtesy of Charlotte Mensah Press Office.

What haircare products do you use?

Lesley x

Sunday, 20 March 2016

What to know before starting a blog

I'm definitely still learning when it comes to blogging but I have been receiving more questions lately on blogging tips than anything else. There's definitely a few things I wish I knew before starting a blog so hopefully this helps some of you who are hoping to start.

1. Really think about your blog name, I mean really
I think a lot of bloggers end up deciding a few years in that actually the first thing they thought of as a blog name wasn't such a good idea. I'm not crazy about 'Fresh Lengths', as it can cause a little confusion in person as usually people don't understand what I've said or don't 'get' the name as I blog about more than just hair now. Definitely take your time when thinking of yours, it doesn't need to be a rushed decision. If you're really stuck for a blog name just use your own. It sounds obvious but you're unlikely to hate your own name after a few years! Also, if you pick something fairly short and that's easy to spell you're onto a winner.

2. Research platforms and having your own domain
I chose Blogger to start a blog as it's free, easy to use and a lot of the bloggers I followed at the time were using the same platform. There are other options though like Tumblr, Wordpress or you could have your own website entirely. All have pros and cons so it really depends on your budget and what you're looking for. I would recommend getting your own domain name early on too as it instantly makes your blog look a little more professional and shows you take it seriously. I'm in the process of sorting mine out and I definitely wish it was something I did sooner as it's proving to be an awkward process.

3. Have a clear idea of what content you want to post
I knew when I started a blog that most of my posts were going to be about hair but I didn't really consider doing anything else. If you have a clear idea on your content it will make it easier to appeal to your audience as they'll know what to expect. You can of course introduce other topics you're passionate about at a later stage (like I did) but if you have a clear idea in the beginning it'll help you stay focused.

4. It's about more than just the writing 
Having a blog, especially if it becomes more successful, is like having a small business or brand. My whole blogging experience has been a learning curve from photography, html coding, video editing and even marketing. You don't need to know it all when starting, I certainly still don't, but at least be ready to learn if you're not able to rely on someone else to help you. Google and YouTube will be your best friend in helping you learn.

5. Having a blog will cost you initially 
This really depends on the individual and what you have at your disposal already. I didn't spend much money initially and I would encourage anyone to rely on whatever you have before pumping a lot of money into your blog. Eventually I purchased items like blog layouts, cameras and accessories to take photos, props, equipment to make videos and a Macbook as I knew that would be more reliable than my old tired laptop. These are technically investments which you could use for other purposes and not just blogging but you may not see a tangible 'return' on these.

6. You don't need the best or most expensive camera, but great photography helps. 
Visuals are critical. It's a fact that websites, Tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts with high quality photos generate the most clicks and likes. You can take great pictures with a basic digital camera or a smartphone but for me a DSLR took my pictures to the next level. I knew nothing about using a DSLR when I started my blog so I used a point and shoot camera for a long time but I was never quite happy with the result. Lighting has always been an issue for me as I have a small space with minimal light. A DSLR is a lot more flexible when taking and editing photos. I definitely saw a massive shift in readership as soon as I started taking better photos and I've seen the same happen to other bloggers too.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

NYX Lip Lingerie Lipstick in Teddy

Nude lipsticks are everywhere currently and my Instagram feed is full of photos of one lip range in particular - the NYX Lip Lingerie Lipstick (£6.50). It's a new offering from American beauty giant NYX and was released in the States in January this year. For us Brits we've only just been able to get our hands on the Lip Lingerie range after Boots started stocking it online in the past week. Not too long ago I said to myself I would not buy any more lip colours for at least a few months (as I have so many already) but I couldn't resist.

There's 12 (mostly nude) matte shades to choose from in total which suit a range of skintones. I've been swooning over Instagram snaps of the brown tones most but I narrowed my purchase down to just one colour - Teddy - and it is such a beaut. Teddy is a deep chocolatey brown tone (though it looks a little purple on me), perfect for medium and darker skin. I don't own anything like it in terms of texture, wear and product type which makes breaking my own spending ban slightly more acceptable. Maybe.  

It's a liquid lipstick so has similar packaging to a lip gloss with a doe-foot applicator. Your lips definitely need to be smooth for this product to look good on so I've been giving mine a good scrub prior to application. It's fairly easy to apply though and coverage is buildable. It dries pretty quickly too so I've been applying one layer first and then go back in with more to ensure full opacity. I've found that 2 or 3 layers is usually enough for me. 

It's perfectly matte but it does feel slightly dry and a tad sticky on the lips. However it doesn't crack and lasts amazingly well throughout the day. You could put balm underneath but it lost staying power when I tried this. Instead, if my lips are feeling parched, I'll dab a teensy bit on balm on top after the lip lingerie is fully applied so it doesn't takeaway the matte effect or slip off. 

Overall it's an awesome product for the price and I can see why it's been so popular with many beauty addicts across the globe. I would definitely buy another even though I know I shouldn't! 

Have you tried anything by NYX?

Lesley x

Thursday, 10 March 2016

DIY Hair Growth Oil [Video]

Until recently I haven't really been concerned about the length of my hair and I stopped doing all of the things which helped me get longer hair in the past. It wasn't a conscious decision but where I obsessed over hair growth for 4 years, when trying to reach waist length relaxed hair (see here), I naturally took a step back and just enjoyed my hair for what it is. I've been pretty scissor happy lately too, chopping randomly at my ends since I completed my transition (to texlaxed) back in September last year. As a result I haven't retained a lot of length in the last 6 months but I would love to have a little more hair to play with since the shrinkage is a killer!

I used to regularly rely on an oil mix containing natural and essential oils to promote growth when my hair was fully relaxed. I'd apply it with a massage every few days and mix a little into my shampoos and any conditioners which needed a boost. In past year I've only really been using Coconut Oil or premixed oils and I've merely used them to detangle or as a pre shampoo treatment.

I've been loving Fiona's (Love Your Tresses) posts on hair growth recently (found here and here). She reminded me how beneficial natural oils can be for the hair, especially essential oils like peppermint, and detailed a really interesting study regarding its effect on hair growth in her post. She suggests putting a mix of peppermint essential oil and carrier oils in every product which comes into contact with the scalp to boost growth which is such a great idea. I've now gone back to making my oil mix which includes peppermint oil and I'll be applying it to my scalp regularly. I'll probably add it to certain products like shampoos, conditioners and hair gel too, but I haven't tried this yet.

The below video details the oils I use and how I mix them together. I'm relying on oils I've always used in the past so feel free to make substitutions if you try this or let me know what your favourites are if you already do this. I don't have an exact ratio for my oil mix but I always ensure there's enough carrier oils in the mix to counteract the potency of the essential oils included as they can cause irritation. If you've not used them before, definitely test the essential oils on the inside of your forearm first in case it results in a negative reaction.

The Video:

How do you boost your hair growth?

Lesley x

Monday, 7 March 2016

NYX Bronzer & Blusher in Bora Bora

NYX is fast becoming one of my favourite beauty brands especially now it's easier to buy some NYX products in the UK. I received a few of their products at an event back in June but it's only recently that I've been using this NYX Bronzer & Blusher in Bora Bora ($9)*.

This duo compact is gorgeously pigmented and this shade (which is 1 of 5) is more suited to medium skintones. The blush is a beautiful terracotta tone whilst the bronzer is a shimmery gold. They complement each other perfectly though the sparkle in the bronzer means it acts more like a highlighter. The highlighter can emphasise imperfections though, so I avoid this when I've got any pimples on my cheeks.

It usually takes a few swipes for the perfect coverage. I tend to mix the two powders together and apply with a blush brush. The colour lasts fairly well throughout the day, despite my oil-prone skin. I've mostly been using this compact as a way of warming up my dull complexion in lieu of the sun! I'm definitely excitedly anticipating the summer months. 

Sadly I've not managed to find this compact available other than across the pond in the US and it's currently on sale so I hope they don't discontinue it! Fingers crossed that by the time I've reached the bottom of the pan more NYX product lines are available in the UK.

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

Have you tried anything by NYX Cosmetics? 

Lesley x

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Irresistible Me Extensions [Video]

As much as I've enjoyed getting used to my curly hair, I've definitely missed my former longer lengths lately, especially when trying to create styles like this. I was sent these Silky Touch Extensions by Irresistible Me* and it's been fun to play around with different hairstyles I would have done when my hair was much longer. The extensions are beautiful and despite being quite silky blend fairly well when my hair is straight. I'll definitely be relying on these whenever I'm looking to add a few inches!


Colour: Natural black (1b) 
Length: 24" 
Weight: 200g
Amount: 10 pieces (1x 4 clips, 2x 3 clips, 5x 2 clips and 2x 1 clip)

I've only had these extensions a few months so I've outlined my experience so far in the below video.

The Video:

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried extensions before?

Lesley x