Friday, 18 November 2011

Making your highlights last longer...

There's nothing more unsightly than big black tramlines on bright blonde hair 6 weeks after you're appointment at the hairdressers.

If you want to spread out your hair appointments saving you money and the condition of your hair there are a few nifty at-home tricks you could try...

1) Naturatint in Light Dawn Blonde - This mild colourant available from Holland & Barrett has no ammonia, a little bit of Hyrdogen Peroxide and natural extracts to gently lighten hair with minimal damage. Once you mix the colour up apply only to the roots. Then after twenty minutes apply the formula to the rest of the hair for a 'brightening effect'. 

2) John Frieda Sheer Blonde Lightening Spray - This isn't one to use on a daily basis as it does contain Hydrogen Peroxide and a hairdresser friend of mine says it can leave a greenish tinge on very light blonde hair if it's daily. I would advise just using on the roots. Simply spray the product onto wet hair and blow dry.

3) Batiste Dry Shampoo with a hint of colour (blond) - If these products containing 'Hydrogen Peroxide' all seem a bit scary, a simple and temporary measure is this dry shampoo. The lemon coloured powder will disguise roots until you can get to the salon again.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Credit Crunch Cut

 My absolutely pet peeve is long straight hair with no layers cut in. It has absolutely no movement and no volume at the roots. I like to keep the bottom half of my hair quite long (past shoulders) while snipping off the top half of my hair around ear length. This 'mushroom' shape means hair looks big on top and sleek underneath - and can be exaggerated with extra back combing.

Fixing your layers at home can be done surprisingly easily and a professional effect can be created with the help of a hairdressing blade. This sounds like it could end in a bloody mess, but salon suppliers sell blades with plastic handles and you can hold this tool as you might hold a kitchen knife. I have found a really cheap one £1.99 from this direct supplier (picture right).

The blade ensures that the ends are slightly uneven and look more natural than if you cut straight across with scissors. While a hairdresser can create this effect effortlessly with cutting techniques the blade is a 'quick fix'. By angling the blade you will feel it either cut very sharply, or it will appear to drag with resistance meaning it is blunter and not cutting as sharply.

To cut in the layer pull the desired section up in the air directly above your parting. For neatness I tie the section below up tightly in a bun so it doesn't interfere. By applying the blade in this position the hair that grows nearest the parting will be shortest and the hair that grows nearer your ears will be a about 2cm longer (creating that layered look).

Once you decide how much you want to lob off, push the grooves of the blade against the hair as if you were combing it. The 'teeth' on the blade will mean the hair isn't sliced off 'uniform' at one length. Slowly wriggle the comb pulling it towards the ceiling. You will feel tension as the hair is grabbed and cut. Soon the blade will have severed through the chunk of hair and you will be left holding the chopped off bit in one hand.

Brush the hair back up the air one more time. Does it look straight / even across the top or have you pulled tighter one side than the other? If the latter repeat again and be consicous about keeping the blade level throughout.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Top skin brightening tricks

We have waved bye bye to flat, heavy powders and thick foundations that set like concrete. They leave skin looking dull and flat - and can be incredibly ageing.
Youthful skin has a plentiful store of sebum which is packed with lipids, these naturally moisturize the skin and are responsible for it's 'healthy glow'. (In fact in our teenage years we might even suffer from an overproduction of sebum which leaves us with hair you could fry chips on and a chin of pussy pimples).

But over time sebum production dwindles and we need to moisturise daily to keep that youthful glow. Plus there are an array of incredible products specially developed to give your skin a gorgeous glow. Here are my top 3:

No7 Skin Illuminator
This cheeky cream is peachy-bronze in colour when you squeeze it out. It has a brush for easy application and is ideal for sweeping across the cheeks, down the nose and up the side of your temples - anywhere with a contour - so when light hits your face it will reflect beautifully. It works best under a tinted moisturiser or light foundation, rather than on it's own.

Bare Minerals Mineral Veil in 'illuminating'
Mineral make-up is not only great for creating a subtle, polished finish it's kind to skin as the naturally sourced powder doesn't clog your pores. The Mineral Veil is truly a wonder product and if you only purchase one pot this winter make sure it's this one. I love the 'illuminating' shade, it looks quite pale in the pot, but brushed on it creates an incredible fresh-faced shimmer. Use on bare skin or over tinted moisturiser, I apply to my whole face with the silky smooth brush available from the same brand.

Benefit High Beam
This old favourite is a peachy-rose cream with an incredible shimmer to it. The bottle comes with an applicator brush and you simply dot on to the areas where you want to create super-healthy shine. I dot this just under the arch of my eyebrows, above and below my eyelids, on the brow bone and on the apples of my cheeks. This product is best applied after foundation I find and I dab the product gently until it blends in. A little goes a long way, so you can justify the Benefit price tag as it will last for months and months.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Is 'Rose Gold' the new black?

For someone who looks and sounds like a member of N-Dubz, you would be suprised by my expensive tastes, but I am totally in love with this new season Mulberry in perfect pink with Rose Gold fittings. The £1,787 price tag makes this 'Tillie' bag almost a grand more than it's black, brown and beige contemporaries. Is Rose Gold the new black?

Rose Gold (also known as Welsh or Russian gold) is actually cheaper to produce than usual gold as it is an alloy made from merging yellow gold with cheaper metal copper. It is hard to describe why it looks so much more desirable.

To get a rose gold accessory into your life without breaking the bank I love Michael Kors selection of watches which has about four models in this colour.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Melanotan… the new smack

Illegal, fulfils your cravings and you inject it. No I’m not talking about heroin, it’s the latest craze in the beauty world – tanning injections.

We’re sick of smelling like stale bacon and don’t want the premature wrinkling brought on by sun bed abuse, so a quick shot in the backside and a Gisele Bundchen Brazilian Glow with no effort required is very appealing. But we thought beauty was pain? This goes against all our fundamental principles? What is it people say when something’s too good to be true? It’s probably not very good…

So what do the critics say?
“A letter to the British Medical Journal reports a ‘concerning’ new development. The letter says that two recent users of the drug had visited a skin clinic after moles on their bodies had rapidly changed in size and “darkened over a few weeks”. Both women had injected Melanotan I and II.”
(And when we say we’re worried about moles we don’t just mean an unsightly coco pop – we’re meaning ‘cancer risk’)
Nursing Times
“In addition to the possible side effects of Melanotan itself, there are also other potential dangers. Using non-sterile water to prepare the injections can cause serious blood infections, and sharing needles spreads blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Injections by untrained individuals can cause skin and tissue damage, and might result in permanent or life-threatening injury.”NHS
“The concern is over the unnatural stimulation to melanin production in order to darken the skin and that this may be found to cause cancer. Cancer cells are, put simply, mutations. Obviously changing your natural skin colour permanently in this way is in itself; MUTATION.”Blogger on
“Melanotan has not been tested for safety, quality or effectiveness. Therefore it is not known what the possible side effects are or how serious they could be. For a start, because these products are being sold illegally, there is no way of knowing if they are what they say they are, and not contaminated by dangerous chemicals. Nor do we know how they might interact with any licensed drugs a person is taking. If you have used Melanotan and have experienced unwanted side effects, talk to your GP. They can give you advice and help you to fill out a yellow card, which allows the MHRA to keep track of the side effects of commercially available medicines.”Cancer Research UK
So we know there has been a pilot study (this means a small study with very limited numbers of people) – what did the doctors observe in clinic?
• Drowsiness
• Fatigue
• Mild nausea
• Severe nausea
• Yawning
• Spontaneous penile erections (yay!)

None of that sounds too troubling does it? Hmm except this bit at the end “two subjects had increased pigmentation in the face, upper body and buttock”. Increased pigment means darkening of the skin in patches and is not attractive or healthy looking.

There are tons of forum posts from people affected by this so if you do notice your tan is distributing unevenly – TAKE THAT NEEDLE OUT OF YOUR ASS!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Forehead you could show a film on...

Many of us were shocked when it was revealed this week that Russell Brand had been using his wife Katy Perry's forehead to screen old episodes of 'Ponderland'*. But can you blame him? The perfect square of perfectly flat, unblemished flesh sure beats a hanging strip of linoleum.

"Baby Botox" means that some people are getting frozen under 30, under 25, Lindsey Lohan is 24 and she's been doing it for years and I've got to admit I want in on the fixed and emotionless face trend.

The tell-tale signs are the unachievably smoothness of the forehead and the extreme waxy shine - not sure why that happens? - but as fake as it looks I marvel at the 'airbrush' effect Katy Perry achieves and that Nicole Sherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls**. Just perfect.

I'm yet to try it myself, but it's something I'm thinking about but when I do decide to take the plunge the before and afters will definitely be on here.

* story has been fabricated for a good opener to this blog

** No contestants were blinded by the reflected light bouncing off Sherzinger's face during the filming of this year's X Factor

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The best a (wo)man can get?

As the weather is starting to warm up I am reminded that I won't be able to live my life in tights, jeggings and over-the-knee socks for much longer - hiding my stubbly pins.

I have always been a fan of leg-waxing and have a home kit of wax you warm in the microwave and cotton strips you can wash and re-use. Very eco-friendly, but very messy.
When I was bought the Remington 2 in 1 epilator and foil razor I was very apprehensive. Would it hurt? Would it cut my skin? The gadget makes a fierce whirring noise when you turn it on, but it's bark is worse than it's bite.

The sensation does sting at first - particularly near the ankles - but the cms of skin you clear of black hair is a great incentive to persevere. I'm such a fan I have even done my armpits with it - a particularly ouchy area.

The packaging says your hair need only be 0.5mm, but I think a mm is more realistic as it doesn't really suck up the hairs this short. After my first attempt I did need to have a quick shave to tidy up the areas I missed, but a fortnight on my legs have so little re-growth.

Shaving is still an essential part of my beauty regime as using the epilator is time-consuming and it did leave me with red spots on my angry follicles. For a really close shave use Bio-oil instead of shower gel. It leaves you with the smoothest finish you have ever experienced and moisturised skin. However be warned your razor will blunt almost twice as fast.

Lastly the Remington Epilator is just too painful to use on the bikini area (I did try and managed to clear about 10 hairs, but it wasn't worth it!). However I did borrow my boyfriend's razor and was really pleased with the result.

It's Gillette's new pro-glide razor and has a battery to power it's vibrating action which apparently is what gives it such a clean shave. There was no redness, no bumps, no cuts and no irritation with grow-back so I can't rate it enough.
Just don't get distracted with the vibrate motion ;-)

Friday, 21 January 2011

Don't believe the hype...

You would think that being a beauty PR I would be able to see the past the celebrity endorsement and realise just got Geordie-Chocoloate-Eyes is sat there grinning with half of China's sawn off hair attached to her head it doesn't mean the product is superior.

But when I saw the shiny pink can with Chezza's face on it I couldn't resist and happily began using my new purchase. I back comb my hair about 4 times a week with a fine tooth comb (I know surprising I have hair left!) ... spritzing into place with a light mist of hairspray.

Imagine my shock on New Years Day when after just a few weeks usage my can was empty! I couldn't believe it when I compared it to my trusty vat of TreSemme which lasts for months on end. If you want a hairspray that looks and smells like any other hairspray on the market, go for the 75ml can of Elnett. But for me it's the big boy 500ml TreSemme all the way.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

New Year Weight Loss

Contrary to popular belief I do not maintain my size 8 physique through a cycle of bingeing and purging. While I occasionally gorge myself on a large takeaway or treat myself to a bit of cake, my diet is pretty good(ish) with lots of salad, fruit and my favourite food of all time VEGETABLES.

I’m determined to drop a few pounds this month. As well as eating more healthily and avoiding alcohol, here are my top 5 weight-loss tips…

1. Start late…
I know that every dietician under the sun says you must eat breakfast but I don’t rate this. If you have a bowl of cereal at 8am you’re peckish again by 11am which is no use. I start the day with a green tea, then I’ll have an Actimel a bit later and when my hunger pains can be ignored no more I’ll finally give in and have a banana. By then it’s nearly midday so you can delay lunch until 2pm/3pm and you won’t snack again through the afternoon as you’ll feel full until dinnertime.

2. Carbs are the enemy…
Bread is the invention of the devil and if you cut it out completely you’ll notice your tummy shrink within a few weeks. Pastries and white bread are the absolute worse – don’t go near them. They are fast-burning carbs too, so you won’t even feel full up for very long. If you need a bread-fix go for complex carbs – brown, wholemeal, nutty breads – or a crumpet which is pretty much air. A light spread of crunchy peanut butter contains about 4g protein, 1g fibre, magnesium, zinc and essential fatty acids which will give you energy.

3. Feel fuller from salad…
Salads are my favourite lunch. I pack out watercress and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and celery. If you’re used to eating a big lunch, salad might not fill you up at first. You could try adding a couple of hard boiled eggs into the mix or some prawns. I sprinkle yummy pine nuts on mine as I had heard they swell in your stomach and fill you up. In fact they release a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) and that is what reduces appetite and helps you feel fuller.

4. Burn the roof of your mouth…
Then you’ll never want to eat again! No not literally, but you should consider adding chilli into your diet as it is a great way to speed your metabolism. The metabolism-boosting effects of chilli last up to three hours after ingesting them, so a hot, hot dinner could help you burn up an after-dinner snack. Your tolerance will increase quickly if you eat it regularly.