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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…

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…

 

Everyday Cleansing Oils.

posted on: 8 April, 2014

I find cleansing oils the easiest product to cleanse with; despite my love of skincare, I still find the evening cleanse a laborious task- though mainly because I have to move. Now that a cleansing oil is a staple in my routine, it takes no time at all, and I can rest assured that my makeup has been properly removed.

The newest addition to my routine is the Elemental Herbology Harmonising Cleansing Oil (£29), the latest release from the brand. I consider EH one of my favourite skincare brands, I have three of their cleansers and I’ve repurchased the other two numerous times. I find the natural approach and ingredients list always agrees with my skin, and they’re so incredibly effective without the use of nasty chemicals. The latest cleansing oil is definitely my favourite of the lot, despite the awkwardly large packaging. It has a pump to dispense which is obviously amazing when it comes to oils, it’s also quite light – not a gloopy oil. I could say that about all four of these though, as that’s why I like them. I squeeze a couple of pumps in to my hands, rub ‘em together to disperse and then apply to my face. I start by gently massaging this in to my eyes first – one of the reasons this is now my favourite is that it completely melts away eye makeup in seconds. As soon as the oil touches eye makeup, you can feel even the thickest, toughest mascara being melted away. I then work it in to the rest of my face and use a face cloth and warm water to remove. Like most cleansing oils, it turns in to kind of a light milk on contact with water so it’s easy to remove and doesn’t leave residue.

Next up, the NUDE Perfect Cleansing Oil (£28) – before the aforementioned came along, this was my evening cleanser of choice. I have to say it’s quite similar to the EH offering, so I tend to swap them about throughout the week. I adore NUDE, it has the same ethos as Elemental Herbology and they use natural ingredients in their skincare products which I definitely prefer. I prefer the packaging of this, it is the same size of the EH offering but isn’t so chunky. This is pretty similar to EH to be honest, and a whole £1 cheaper – I use it in the same way as I use my other cleansing oils and this still takes off my makeup incredibly well. I find that it takes just that little bit longer to remove eye makeup though, so that’s why I tend to prefer using the EH oil. I would definitely repurchase this though, I love how effortless it is – my skin always looks so glowing and healthy after use too. I find cleansing oils are so great for decongesting the skin, as well as removing makeup, so they’re a great choice if you have problem skin like myself. Just follow up with your usual cleansing and ta-da, happy skin.

The next product is actually a pre-cleansing oil, the Super Facialist Rose Hydrate Miracle Makeover Oil (£9.99) is a product that you apply to dry skin before cleansing, it helps to eliminate impurities and creates a really lovely aroma (and therefore experience) when you cleanse. I’ve just about finished this bottle, I tend to apply it liberally because it just feels so lovely and luxurious. The nourishing formula is packed with great ingredients to soothe and hydrate the skin, I could spend hours massaging this in to the skin in the evenings – I find that it helps to lift makeup and impurities, so when you follow with your usual cleanser,  you get a really thorough deep cleanse. It feels gorgeous to use, and I think it’s great to massage your skin every once in a while. After spending a few minutes doing so, I use a warm cloth and wipe it away before using another makeup remover to ensure my skin is purified.

Lastly, the Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil (£21), this isn’t too pricey compared to the others here but my issue with this is that you have to buy a pump for it – which I never have so it doesn’t get used as much as it should. The opening is huge so you really waste so much product trying to tip it out. Other than that, it’s a lovely product – not so natural or effective as the Elemental Herbology and NUDE offerings so they tend to be my first choices, but it’s pretty reasonable for a premium brand – and I’m quite the fan of Origins.
This feels silky on the skin, removes easily and doesn’t leave a film on the skin. I love how quickly it cleanses and my skin always looks clearer after use – now, time to buy that pump!

Overall, I’m pretty sold on cleansing oils – they melt away makeup, tend not to smear it around the face, and they manage to remove impurities without leaving a film on the skin. They’re the quickest, more efficient way to remove makeup and they work for all skin types – even oily or blemish prone skin will find that these help the skin, they don’t leave any residue behind and actually manage to slough away dead skin cells and purify the skin. I definitely recommend giving one a try if you haven’t already.

Have you tried a cleansing oil?

 

Spring Beauty Picks.

posted on: 31 March, 2014

It’s that time again – I always feel so happy when the clocks go forward, lighter evenings are the one. Of course, it also means it’s a-ok for me to dress in only pastel colours for the coming months which is ideal. In terms of products, I’ve definitely picked out more brighter shades and lighter bases.

A couple of products that are on my skincare list right now are the Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel (£29.50) and the L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil (£17.50) – both of which smell heavenly and are perfect Spring picks. The Papaya Peel is one of my most loved face masks, the creamy formula leaves skin looking so bright and healthy and it feels lovely to apply. As for the almond oil, well this is another favourite – the luxe oil soothes and softens skin and turns in to a lovely milky lather under the water. My skin is never dry or dull when I’m using this.
Another spring-inspired addition is the Erborian CC Creme HD (£15), this has to be my go-to product right now due to its skin-perfecting ways. It has a subtle tint that translates to a dreamy glow once applied to the skin, it hides imperfections, makes my skin look dewy and adds a little colour. Definitely the perfect product if you have less than perfect skin like myself.
I usually finish off my makeup with a dusting of the Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder (£22.05), I’ve talked about this quite a lot over the last year – I often think of it as a natural, more affordable version of my much loved By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. It really perfects the skin, freshens up makeup and keeps it looking healthy all day. I couldn’t live without this stuff, it really minimises blemishes too!

Another couple of complexion perfecting products on my spring list are the Stila One Step Colour Corrector (£24) and the Estee Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Cream (£29). I’ve spoken about both of these before as they’re great products – I love the Stila base as it colour corrects redness and angry spots, any signs of sallowness and a dull complexion. It also applies really beautifully and adds a fresh, dewy look to my skin too. It really does improve my complexion ten-fold, so that although I have quite bad scarring, I still feel confident enough to use a BB cream. I was never much of a fan of Double Wear, I liked that it was reliable and lasted well but I wasn’t a fan of the heaviness, so when the brand announced the glow-inducing BB Cream, I was sold. It’s just as budge-proof as the original but this time it’s lighter, has more skincare properties and blends seamlessly. It has great coverage but looks natural and has a very healthy finish.

I always think of Spring as being THE time to get your glow on, I tend to think about fake tanning in this time as I’m a little pasty after the winter. I always try and do something about my face though, as it’s always so pale. Luckily I have the Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster (£18), these are little drops of tan goodness that you add to your moisturiser or serum for a healthy glow to the skin. You can build them up to achieve a tan, but I tend to just opt for a light radiant tint by using them every few days. I adore every facial tanning product that Clarins bring out, and these make the whole process oh so easy!
I also have here the MAC Pink Rebel Lustre Drops (£18), adding a couple of drops to foundation or primer gives skin such a perfect finish. I usually add these to the Erborian CC Creme, it always promises healthy, fresh skin.

A few other makeup bits that are out in my MUJI drawers for Spring include the Korres Lip Butter in Quince (£8), a really lovely pink-red lip balm that adds a glossy wash of pigmented colour. I have a few of these in various shades and they’re always perfect all year round. I’m also wearing the Revlon Powder Blush in Haute Pink (£7.99) constantly at the moment, it’s weird for me to make a switch back to powder blushers all of a sudden but I cant help myself with this. It’s gorgeous and it really works with my fair skin and blue eyes – definitely my spring and summer staple.
Another product I wear quite a lot at the moment is the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Birthday Suit (£15.50) – I adore this shimmery taupe, either alone or under powder – it’s so easy to dip a finger in and wash it over the lid. I just apply a little eyeliner and lashings of mascara and I’m set. These last all day and look great smudged in to the lower lashes too.

As for lips and nails, I chose my favourite Essie Watermelon Nail Polish (£7.99) because it always looks beautiful – a bit more feminine than plain old red and the glossy finish is perfect. Also seen here is Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her (£7.99) which I think it’s quite a sophisticated pastel shade – it’s more of a grey/blue and it looks perfect when applied. I wear this all year round but it feels more suited to Spring. My lip products of choice are the Revlon Colourburst Lacquer Balm in Demure (£7.99) and the YSL Gloss Volupte Lipgloss in 204 (£21) – both of which are low maintenance and lovely pink hues.

Have you tried any of these?