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The Fine Hair Kit.

posted on: 18 April, 2014

It sometimes feels like I’m the only blogger with hair on the fine/thin side – what I wouldn’t do for lovely, thick locks! I guess this is good in some ways as at least I can test and trial the products that might save your locks. I find with my hair that it’s very flat and yet also very tangled, so I have to find products that detangle and hydrate without weighing it down or leaving it looking lank, and also thicken it up without products looking obvious in my hair. Sigh! So here’s a few ‘kit essentials’ I think make all the difference when it comes to fine, thin hair.

Reverse Washing
You may have heard me, or just about everyone else, talking about reverse washing recently; I’ve been doing it for the last week or two and haven’t looked back. It’s perfect for my fine hair, especially when it was long (I’ve just had it all cut off, eek!). The idea is to use conditioner first, massage it in and leave for a minute, rinse out and then follow with your shampoo – just massage it in and rinse out. It’s literally just your usual routine but backwards. A lot of the time when you use conditioner, especially on fine hair types, you can’t wash it all out and so hair looks greasy and weighed down even straight after washing. Not nice! I had a period of this from the last few months, and this reverse washing has completely saved me. I just use my usual shampoo and conditioner choice, which is just the Herbal Essences classics – usually the yellow one. Thank God the original formulas are back, I’ve been waiting so long for this.
I know the whole reverse washing sounds gross but it will change your life – I dare you to try it and tweet me and let me know how you got on!

Leave In Conditioner
I swear by a detangling leave-in conditioner, especially now I’m reverse washing my hair, but even before that. The fine mist of conditioner allows you to nourish, smooth and detangle the hair without weighing down the hair – I have a couple of favourites, right now the Sachajuan Leave In Conditioner (£21) is my everyday product but I will never, ever be without a bottle of the Dove Nourishing Oil Care Leave In Conditioner (£3.59) – this stuff is divine and smells like a bathtub of heaven. Yep.
These will mean hair is much easier to brush through, therefore resulting in less breakage and healthier, shinier hair.

Tangle Teezer
I don’t think my life would be complete without a Tangle Teezer – I think I own four now! FOUR. I love them. My hair gets seriously tangly, I’ve actually just had it all cut because I couldn’t handle the constant dreadlocks (or as Jordan calls them, my rat tails). I use the Tangle Teezer Aqua Splash (£10) the most, it’s designed to be used on wet hair and it’s amazing for detangling after washing your hair. It’s also great for brushing through conditioning treatments in the shower too.

A Light Hair Oil
I used to think hair oils weren’t for me, I would use them lightly on my damp hair but by the time my hair was dry, the ends were completely greasy. They were just too rich for my hair type, even if I just used a pea-sized amount. I then found the L’Oreal Mythic Oil (£13.60), a product I’ve been using for YEARS. This stuff is my saviour, it really helps to smooth and hydrate the ends and it leaves my hair looking so swishy and glossy. Plus you can apply pumps and pumps of this and it’s always absorbed – I’ve never had a greasy-haired experience from using this. Plus, it smells amazing.
I wouldn’t really recommend anything else, I’ve tried so many others but they’re all designed for really dry hair and they’re far too rich. Best stick to this one, I use it every day and I’m actually embarrassed to say I still have the same bottle I got in a Glossybox four years ago. I store it well though!

A Salt Spray
I find salt sprays do wonders for my hair, they really add volume and thickness better than any other product. I discovered the Kerastase Spray A Porter (£17.25) recently and I haven’t looked back, it uses their special technology to ensure hair is tousled and textured but without the crispy feeling! Seriously, there’s no signs you have a salt spray in your hair – well, apart from your effortless beachy ‘do obviously. I get actual waves when I use this, which is AMAZING. I can’t recommend this stuff enough for adding volume and texture.

Volumising & Texture Products
In terms of adding life and body to my hair, I have an old favourite in the Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray (£25) – I use this stuff most days and a lot of people don’t even know I have quite thin hair naturally. I think it’s heat activated so I only use it when I blowdry my hair, and then use a circular brush to add body at the roots. This really delivers, I can’t believe how much volume it adds to my flat hair!
I’ve also just started using the Bumble and bumble Grooming Creme (£22) – which is a kind of ‘do all’ product that results in an effortless, tousled look to the hair. Just a little bit of product really allows you to get a bit of body in to the hair, and it gives it a nice undone, tousled finish. I used to use the Texture (Un) Dressing Creme (£22) from the brand, and while I haven’t got rid of it just yet, the Grooming Creme is less sticky and generally gets a more natural finish in my hair. I will post a full review of this if you’re interested.

Dry Shampoo
Now, we all know that if you have fine, flat hair, dry shampoo is a MUST. Seriously, I own bottles of the stuff, but I have noticed that all I use now is the Bumble Pret-A-Powder (£21.50) – this stuff is my dream product. It’s a dry shampoo, style extender and volumising powder in one – you just shake it on and massage it in. I don’t just add it to the roots either, I work it in to the lengths to make my hair appear fuller – it’s amazing for working in to waves and curls for a little extra body. I know this stuff is talked about everywhere, but you really can’t live without it.
I shake a good amount in my hair before bed (without massaging it in) so I wake up with a really undone, but not greasy look. It’s amazing stuff, it really freshens up and cleanses the hair, and it smells incredible. If you buy one product, make sure it’s this!

Of course, you don’t need every product here (I wrote ‘hair’ there instead, too much hair chat) but it’s a guide to understanding what works for your hair and what doesn’t. I have made so many purchases for my hair and it just hasn’t worked out – I actually find it hard to hydrate my hair as everything is aimed at really dry hair, but I find leaving a mask in my hair overnight or even for twenty minutes and then washing it out with shampoo works a treat. It goes back to reverse shampooing, but there’s so many thick hair products (and even things like coconut oil) that won’t come out of your hair without shampooing, so I do think it’s essential.

I would say a good hair kit would contain the Dove Leave-In Conditioner, the Pret A Powder and either the salt spray or the Oribe Maximista – you can then add in anything else if you need it. Remember, the good thing about fine hair is that you only need to use a TINY bit of product each time, so it’s worth investing in premium brands where possible because they last years. Finally, something good about fine hair eh.

Remember to dry reverse washing and let me know your thoughts!

Anything else to add for us fine hair girls? Share the wealth…

A Tarte Tale: My Thoughts.

posted on: 16 April, 2014

I realise I’m a little late to the party here, but it was time I shared my thoughts on the Tarte releases now they’re a little more readily available in the UK. If you haven’t heard, Tarte are now available on QVC – great news for us British girls. I have been trialling the products for a little under a month now, and I’ve tried everything here so I thought it was time for a full on review! I realise quite a few bloggers have already done a similar post, but I always like to have a good ‘weeks later’ review of the products too. Quite often I buy a product (ahem, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil) love it for a few weeks and then start to wonder what all the fuss was about.

I’ll start with the brilliant Tarte Amazonian Clay 12Hr Blushers, these are currently sold out or unavailable on QVC but I believe they were around £23 when they were up. I have these in a couple of shades and I completely adore them – I have to say they have given me a whole new love for powder blushers! These are just as delicious as everyone makes out, they blend seamlessly in to the skin and always look so incredible on the skin. So natural yet so perky too. I love True Love the most, that deep cool pink on the left.
I recommend you bookmark these sexy things and keep checking back for them, if you don’t already own one. If you buy one thing etc etc.

Another great love of mine that I’ve already given my seal (arf) of approval is the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Cover Airbrush Powder Foundation (£34) which also comes with a handy buffing/kabuki brush. One thing I will say is that the Tarte brushes are seriously good, I’ve been all over them – sometimes when you get free brushes it’s a bit… well, you don’t expect much do you? These make the product so it’s almost worth it for them alone! Back to the powder, this loose wonder has been my base of choice lately and I’ve been getting ALL the compliments.  I posted about this in full here so I won’t go in to too much detail, but let’s just say Tarte have thought of everything here. Even the packaging is amazing and doesn’t allow for any mess! It’s flawless and so lovely when applied.

I also love the Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (£32), which also comes with a super amazing brush. It’s that one in the top right, with the lighter bristles. It’s FAT. And phat. The darker one is a smaller brush that goes with the powder, if you’re wondering.
When I first dispensed this on to my hand, I couldn’t help but notice that it has almost the exact same consistency as my much loved Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation – that kind of mousse-y formula that applies like a dream. This is actually pretty similar in every way, it applies beautifully and is really perfecting, concealing all blemishes while looking natural on the skin. I don’t really need a full coverage foundation so I use a tiny amount and really blend it in – I do this with Silk Creme too, which is also full coverage, and the results are always amazing.

I haven’t given the Tarte Amazonian Clay Concealer (£22.50) much time, I thought I quite liked it for around the eyes but I’m not sure – I think it’s a little heavy for my needs. I adore the double-ended brush though – great for eyeshadow! I do, however, love the Waterproof Eyeliners (£20) – these are amazing as cream eyeshadows. I have the three shades but only Bronze is seen here (the larger of the pots underneath that blusher) – these are so, so creamy and they smudge beautifully. I lightly work them in to my lower lashes, but I have applied them like a liner too – they’re not really dark enough for what I like but still lovely.
I will probably stick to using them as cream eyeshadow, I think it’s the ultra creamy formula that makes them so sultry when blended and smudged.

I also gave the Waterproof Brow Mousse (£24) a go too, despite being happy with my brow routine. All I can say is WOW – these are incredible. If you like definition, these will be for you. The brush is flawless, once again too – that slanted edge allows you to get such an incredible shape, but also a very hair-like result. These are so creamy and offer so much pigment, it’s actually fun to apply them because the results are incredible. I will have to give you a little brow demo soon as I think you will love them.

Also here is the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara (£17.76) – I think this is another one of the brands hero products as I posted about it on Nouvelle and so many people said that it was the best mascara they had tried. I love the 4 in 1 action, meaning it lengthens, curls, volumises and conditions. I adore big lashes so of course this was a hit with me, I really love it. Not sure about the packaging though? Interesting.
Finally, the Tarte Sultry Sunset Eyeshadow Palette (£26.50) – I really didn’t need any more palettes so I was thinking of avoiding this but I started using it yesterday and I actually love the shades. It’s very easy to work with as the texture isn’t crumbly, and the warm shades are actually very flattering. I don’t think I’ll keep this but I guess if you actually need an eyeshadow palette (I definitely don’t! Is that an ok thing for a blogger to say?) then it could be the perfect purchase. There’s a good mix of matte and shimmery shadows which is great to see – a really lovely palette all in all.

Overall, I am LOVING Tarte. I can’t express my joy at the brand being available in the UK, I do hope they branch out and come in to stores as I think it would be great to see them in person and be able to swatch the shades and just get a feel for the products. Until then, QVC UK it is!

Has anyone purchased anything so far?

Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel.

posted on: 15 April, 2014

Elemental Herbology are a brand that make up a big chunk of my skincare routine; I’m pretty loyal to a good brand when I find one, I come to trust their products and regularly trial new bits and pieces. Over the last couple of years I’ve made many repurchases from Elemental Herbology, and I’ve never tried a product I don’t completely love. I’ve been moving towards more natural skincare for some time now, and my latest choice is just one of the many reasons why.

I have had a sample size of the Elemental Herbology Facial Glow Radiance Peel (£39) in the past, it was the 30ml size from the Weekend Facial Kit (£30) – which I really recommend! It’s great to sample their masks, I gave them all a go and then waited until I had finished each up (and some other masks I needed to use up!) and then chose which one to repurchase – it was between this and the Facial Detox Mask but with my acne-scarred skin at the moment, this was always going to win!
The Facial Glow mask is a peel mask – this means it exfoliates away the dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, fresher complexion. The EH offering is packed with skin-loving nutrients and botanical extracts to pump skin with everything it needs to look clear and healthy – these botanical ingredients are the reason why I keep coming back to EH and their products.
To use, I tend to just remove my makeup, cleanse my face and then apply a liberal amount of this all over my face and neck, before leaving for four minutes. That’s the beauty of radiance masks, they usually work in no time. I then remove with a face cloth under warm water, I can always notice a difference to my complexion straight away.

I find radiance peels the most effective products, they slough away dead skin cells which are clogging the pores and dulling the skin’s surface – have you ever noticed your pores a little on the large size or your skin isn’t as bright as usual? You need a lil peel action up in there! It also helps to promote cell turnover, which means that it encourages the production of new cells, thus a fresh complexion in no time.
The brightening ingredients work miracles on uneven tone, acne scars and even just a dull complexion – and it’s quite gentle too (remember, it’s all natural) so you can rest assured that it won’t irritate the skin. I love using this once a week, I find the overall look of my complexion improves so much, and it helps to even out any problem areas. The mask also does wonders for any dry patches or skin that has been exposed to the elements for too long (if you’ve been out in the wind, cold, sun or live in the city).

Overall, it’s a little pricey but I’m always prepared to pay a little more for natural products AND face masks – I expect to get a lot of use out of this as the 30ml sample size lasted me ages!

Have you tried anything from Elemental Herbology?

Everything You Need To Know About Primers.

posted on: 11 April, 2014

Now, primers are a big deal to me. Doubling up on primers is an even bigger deal – you may remember my ‘The Ultimate Priming Duo’ post, or even the ‘Another Perfect Priming Duo’ feature. I really am big on primer – any kind of primer…

When it comes to primers, I know the recipe for a fantastic base and so I wanted to share it with you. In case you don’t already use a primer (we need to have words), they come in many different shapes and sizes. I think they are a must, and not for helping makeup to stay in place (or, not just for helping makeup to stay in place) but rather to expertly perfect your skin so you don’t have to use a heavy foundation. Go in with a primer or two first and I promise you will be so much more smitten with your complexion.

TYPES OF PRIMER
Correcting Primers
Correcting primers are usually slightly tinted to neutralise the skin tone – yellow or green helps to cancel out redness, lavender tones disguise sallowness (a yellow tinge to the skin), peach tones help to even and brighten. The two I use most are the Clinique Superprimer Colour Corrects Redness (£20) and the Stila One Step Correct (£24) – while the Clinique offering deals only with redness (angry blemishes, acne scarring, redness around the nose etc.), the Stila One Step Correct contains three tinted ribbons to help perfect a variety of issues – redness, sallowness and dullness mainly.
I would recommend these for any skin type or concern – the Clinique Superprimer comes in 6 varieties so you can choose one to match your concern. These two have very different finishes, the Clinique primer is very matte and very smoothing – it can even be quite drying if you overdo it. I tend to mix it with an illuminating primer so my skin feels hydrated and also benefits from the brightening properties (see more below) – my favourite to use this with is the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light (£11.99).
The Stila offering is much more hydrating, it leaves the skin looking very dewy. This doesn’t do much in terms of smoothing so I like to mix it with the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (£22.85) – both are light and work well together, either mix them in or layer them up.

Illuminating Primers
As you would expect, illuminating primers deal with brightening the skin. They usually contain light-reflecting pigments that soften the skin, giving it a lovely soft-focus look that blurs imperfections. Sounds like a load of rubbish, but I swear by illuminating primers – I have a lot of angry blemishes and acne scars and any sort of illuminating primer really, really helps to minimise these imperfections. Really!
Two of my most used are the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light (£11.99) and Soap & Glory Hocus Focus (£11) – again, I chose two quite different options here. The Revlon option is slightly tinted, I love this because it sort of adapts to the skin and helps even more to achieve a lovely, imperfection-free finish, whilst also promoting an illuminated skin tone. It really is amazing stuff, I feel so much more confident with my complexion after I apply this.
The S&G Hocus Focus is quite a pearl shade, once blended you only have a ‘lit from within’ look to the skin so it’s not going to leave your skin a pasty shade – it’s just lovely to use. I often combine it with the Stila One Step Correct (£24) for an extra boost to my skin, the results are incredible! Such a dewy, flawless glow.
Again, illuminating primers work great for all skin types – even those suffering from redness, acne scarring etc.

Tinted Primers
Tinted primers are pretty few and far between; I can really only think of the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer (£38) – I like this but in all honesty I think you’re better off with the Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights in Bare Light. The Sunday Riley offering is quite a thin fluid, it comes in three shades and helps to perfect the skin while allowing it to still “breathe” – something I don’t really agree with, skin is always breathing, surely?! It’s nice enough, but it didn’t wow me. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely product but I don’t think it’s worth it.) You would be better of using a budget CC cream or similar for a fraction of the cost – applying it lightly under your foundation for a more natural base.
When I do use it, I find that although it does perfect the skin a little, it doesn’t do much for refining the texture or helping to brighten, so I tend to mix it in with one of the above – usually the Clarins Instant Smooth to get more results from it. Mixed with the Clarins offering it really makes for a lovely product – expect a concealed complexion and a lovely soft look to the skin.

Smoothing Primers
These are some of my favourites, you won’t believe you ever lived without one of these until you try one! Does that make sense? My favourite is of course the Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (£22.85) – I’ve been through POTS of this stuff! It’s been a staple in my routine since I can remember, probably about three years. I always have a tub in my makeup bag. If you buy it on Escentual (linked above), it’s cheaper  than in store and I find a pot (when used liberally) lasts about a year. Pretty good going!
The best bit about this is that it really helps to minimise acne and blemishes – the smoothing formula really manages to hide the size of those big under the skin spots that look like a mountain on your face. It’s also amazing for combination types as it deals with oil, reducing shine – yet it also helps to keep dry areas hydrated. It’s amazing stuff – oh, and it does wonders for helping pores!
You do get quite a few smoothing primers, but I find that the Clarins one never breaks me out, always does an immaculate job and really results in longwearing, flawless makeup.

HOW TO APPLY
Primers are designed to be used over moisturiser and under makeup (if you wear any) – they can be used alone, but it’s usually always over moisturiser. You only need a tiny amount, just use fingers to blend.

CLEANSING
A lot of people avoid primers because they see them as comedogenic – meaning they clog pores, cause blackheads or irritate acne. I have a blemish-prone skin type and I never see any evidence of this from the ones I use – but I think it’s really, really important to double cleanse in the evening to make sure you remove every trace before you go to bed. By that I mean you use a cleansing oil/balm to remove makeup thoroughly and then another good cleanser to purify the skin and give back whatever your skin needs. I usually follow this up by toning (usually twice) and so I know that there’s no way any product can be clogging my skin. Even if you don’t tone, make sure you double cleanse at night – it makes a world of difference!

IMPROVING WEAR OF MAKEUP 
I never really use primers to help improve the wear of my makeup because I never notice my makeup slipping away during the day! This may be because I always wear a primer. I swear by the By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder (£42) for keeping makeup looking perfect all day – you can dust this on like a primer or apply it over makeup to set, it’s completely translucent.
If your makeup isn’t lasting the day, I would reconsider what you’re already using; a too-rich moisturiser perhaps? Too much or the wrong type of foundation? I do think that all primers help to keep both skin and makeup fresh, but if your makeup is slipping off throughout the day, I would think about what you’re using currently as that might be the source of the problem, or try a makeup setting spray.

PRIMER V SKIN CONCERNS
Acne: I tend to find that some of the illuminating primers can make acne more obvious; since illuminating primers use light particles to make the skin appear brighter and more dewy, these particles can make bumpy skin stand out. Therefore, I think it’s best to use a smoothing primer in this instance – stick to the Clinique Superprimer that helps to neutralise redness, and the mattifying properties will help to keep lumps and bumps to a minimum. As I said already, the Clarins Instant Smooth is also amazing for helping acne and pores. Remember, you can always apply two different primers but to different areas of the face – an illuminating primer where you need it, a mattifying/colour-correcting option over problem areas.

Redness: I think I’ve just about covered this, remember that anything with a yellow or green tone should minimise redness. If you want a dewy glow, go for Stila. If you want more of a matte complexion, go for Clinique. They’re both pretty amazing in terms of correcting. There’s no reason you can’t use a brightening primer with redness, remember these ones help to soften flaws and promote a healthier glow to the skin. I also love the Revlon Bare Lights for helping to minimise redness.

Scarring/Uneven Tone: I use a lot of different options to help minimise my acne scars, namely the Revlon Bare Lights, the Sunday Riley offering or any of the illuminating primers. I mix them up to see best results, but I think the illuminating products do the most good – they really help to blur out uneven tone and create a healthier tone.

Oily Skin: If you have quite an oily complexion, I would stick to something mattifying – the MAC Matte Gel (£15) is really good, I haven’t included it here but it’s a great product. You can apply this over makeup throughout the day, it doesn’t wipe away your foundation but instead it absorbs any excess sebum. The Clarins Instant Smooth is also really great for balancing the skin – apply it under your makeup to keep skin fresh but not shiny.

Dry Skin: Anything offering to hydrate the skin or keep the complexion fresh will help with dryness. I love the Clarins Instant Smooth and the Stila Option – both keep skin in check.

I think I’ve covered everything now! As you can see, I’m quite the primer fan – do you use one in your everyday routine? If not, why not? Maybe I can change your mind…