Last September I decided to get a new look and treat my hair to a brown Balayage. I chose the Balayage technique as hair maintenance is not my strong point – just the thought of having to deal with ‘root touch ups’ exhausts me. I loved the initial results and decided to do whatever I could to preserve the look. I reduced washing my hair to just once a week, used cold water only and stocked up on blue shampoo. To my horror, the brassy orange tones started to surface after a couple of months. Here is an picture of the freshly Balayaged hair (left obviously)…
Above on the right, is my hair after 5 months…brassy, orange and the obvious overgrown roots. I was conscious of my hair colour but tried to ignore it as much as possible, purely to save money. The moment came when I could no longer ignore the absolute disastrous hair situation, when I went to an event and took a whole load of pictures. I came back completely cringing at the orange locks I was donning.
The length of my hair doesn’t help because it just means I have to pay double the price for hair treatments. Still keen to save money, I decided to try a bit of DIY and purchased the ‘Wella Color Fresh Semi Permanent Hair Toner – pH 6.5 Silver‘ costing £13. I chose this violet shade to neutralise the brass whilst maintaining the highlights (note; a brown toner can also lessen the orange look but would just do so by darkening the hair). I followed the instructions which were very easy to follow. The 75ml toner was just about enough for all my hair – so plenty! Once evenly distributed, I left the toner on for around 10-15mins (recommended 5-20mins).
On the right is the results post – toner. You can certainly see an improvement! and it was a fairly easy and cheap process. To be honest I am pleased with the results and will probably continue to tone at least once a month, in order to build up the ashy tones. I am also keen to try a blue toner as this is known to be more effective for orange hair. I will let you guys know how that goes, so stay tuned.
Although it has recently become something of a super food, Turmeric is no new revelation. The ingredient has been used for centuries in Asia, and is a common ingredient in herbal remedies. Even turmeric as a mask, is a well established tradition in Southern Asian wedding ceremonies, used for purification and in wedding preparation to give the bride and groom a healthy glow. Spanning from curing acne, treating eczema to even delaying ageing, the supposed skin benefits are certainly impressive.
Given all these health benefits, it is no wonder why Kiehl’s have leveraged this unique ingredient to sell their ‘Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque’ retailing at £34. Along with the Turmeric, the added cranberry seeds are high in antioxidants, protecting the skin against environmental free-radical damage. Winner!
As soon as I applied this product to my face it caused an instant cool, tingling sensation. For me, this is a good thing as it gives the illusion that something must be working. I washed it off in a circular motion with warm water providing that added exfoliation from the cranberry seeds to reveal a noticeably brighter complexion. There is no doubt that this product does brighten the skin. Sounds great?…yes, but the truth is you don’t need to fork out £34 because the undisputed benefits of turmeric, can be achieved by using any homemade turmeric mask for a fraction of the price.
Get your hands on some turmeric powder, gram flour, and mix with yoghurt, lemon juice and honey. This is a tried and tested recipe for skin brighting and fighting blemishes at a fraction of the price.
Being a hair dye virgin, I must admit, I have always found the prospect of getting the foil and bleach out a little daunting. Every time the thought crossed my mind, questions like, ‘will my hair get damaged?’ or ‘what if it looks horrendous??’ circled my brain until I eventually convinced myself it just was not for me. To be completely honest, my experience with hair dye of any sort, was pretty much limited to a bi-monthly chore of box dying my dad’s greys with a toothbrush.
Having minimally tinkered with my hair since birth, I recently had an unexpected moment of spontaneity and decided to take the plunge. Actually, it wasn’t completely spontaneous—I was inspired by my sister Jas—she has a lot of greys and seems to be going for the Cruella de Vil look lately (sorry Jas!). Anyway I was her guinea pig, and she too, will soon be getting hers done!
Right, first and foremost, my sister and I were a little obsessed with finding the perfect salon. We wanted a place with good hair reviews at affordable prices. Some salons offer hiked up prices in exchange for extras such as a glass of champagne on arrival. For us, this just sounded like unnecessary kerfuffle so we stayed clear of these options, seeking rather the skill and ability for our money. Having very long, thick hair, we needed an accommodating place that was willing to take on the challenge—some were not so keen . Trawling the internet, luckily we stumbled upon a cosy hair salon tucked away in West Hampstead called Crystalise Salon. This place had everything we were after, highly skilled staff, with creative vision and a genuine passion for what they do (not to mention great prices & discounts)—perfect.
The day of the appointment arrived. I felt mixed emotions. A little apprehensive about this decision, it was now or never and I knew I could not back out. Equally, the rebel inside of me (which I rarely let out), couldn’t wait to just go for it. Jas & I travelled quite far to get to West Hampstead. Luckily we arrived just in time to grab some lunch and a coffee before the appointment (I say luckily, as the appointment ended up lasting around 4 hours). We arrived to a very warm welcome. I didn’t have time to research extensively about what I was after, so asked for a warm brown/subtle reddish balayage with Olaplex to limit the damage. I wanted a balayage as opposed to highlights as it is more subtle and blended. Balayage is a technique in which hair is delicately painted with dye in a natural and blended manner. I was not too nervous at this point as I saw all the other customers looking beautiful with their new hair, so immediately felt confident that I was in great hands. I was a little confused though, as I had always believed balayage is done without foils—I guess every colourist has their own method.
Within a couple of minutes, the foils were out. I don’t think I had mentally prepared myself for this point, but felt a sudden gush of excitement that overcame any doubts. It took a good hour to get all my hair foiled up, an additional 45 minutes to let it all marinade (not too sure of the technical term for this). With the lovely atmosphere and the staff regularly offering tea or coffee, the time went by pretty quickly.
When the foils were removed, I was in utter shock. My hair was bright red. The colour of a London bus. Although I was on a daring streak this was a little too far. Fortunately the hair stylist had no issues with toning it down for me.
The result was better than I could ever have expected. A fiery mahogany brown/red. The perfect shade that I could not have described even if I had tried. In fact, I was so happy with the results, I had to give the salon a tip! The Olaplex treatment has left my hair feeling healthy, it is still in the newly blow dried state so I can’t fully commit to an opinion on the success of this treatment, but I can honestly say that my hair doesn’t feel particularly damaged after the bleach—which I somewhat attribute to the strengthening power of Olaplex.
I got home and couldn’t wait to play with my new locks. Here are a few styles I tried out…
I have found that I need to tone down my make-up a bit now though, I use more neutral colours…with nude lipsticks looking the best to offset my new fiery locks.
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk…the name ring a bell? I am sure it does as it has been everywhere, and actually for quite a long time – I admit I am very late to jump onto this particular bandwagon. Kim Kardashian loves this foundation, and over on our side of the pond, the beautiful Michelle Keegan swears by it too. I had to try this legendary foundation for myself.
Lightweight and does not look cakey
No SPF means no flashback
Dewy, glowy complexion
It is extremely expensive, retailing for £40 in the UK
Can get very shiny on oily skin
This foundation looks amazing when first applied – it provides beautiful glowy skin and it just fuses onto the skin to look quite natural. I was a shade 6 (I am NC 30 in Mac and 3W1 Tawny in Estée Lauder); this was a beautiful match for my skin tone. Although I must admit, when I first put it on it looks like a bit of an odd, almost dull, slightly greyish colour. Once all of the highlighter, blusher, bronzer and whatever else has been applied over the top…the colour is a lovely healthy warm shade. At this point it was all looking extremely promising…had I found my HG foundation?
Not quite. I found my face was getting shiny after a few hours, it was such a shame. This foundation looks amazing on my sister, who has dry skin; her pictures come out beautiful as well. Part of me was still so adamant that I could make this foundation work for my skin that I contemplated buying the Luminous Silk Powder Compact along with it: It can be used to set the foundation as well as blot during the day. The sales assistant assured me that you can apply the powder multiple times during the day and you still will not get a caked-up look as this powder is very sheer. I did try powdering this over my foundation once the shine had started coming through and it does make a difference – but I feel I would need to powder quite regularly to keep the shine at bay. I was recommended shade 4.5 in this powder. It retails for £38 but this is only for the refill…to buy the plush Armani compact case to store it in, costs an additional £18. Because this is the best Armani foundation for flawless photos, the sales adviser still recommended this foundation for occasions (despite my oily skin) and advised the use of the powder to quell any shine that decides to creep through. Although, this is an option, at a combined price of nearly £100; I decided there must, surely, come on be another foundation option on the market which can offer me a shine-free, healthy and flawless (or at least less flawed) complexion. So I have decided to continue my search…I am thinking of trying the Power Fabric Foundation by Armani next. It is one that a different sales person at Armani recommended for lasting, shine-free coverage and apparently it is a less cakey alternative to Estee Lauder’s Double Wear. Sounds like it could be a contender…
My relationship with Huda’s liquid mattes so far…head over heels in love with some of the colours in her initial offering (Venus, Trendsetter and Icon.) Then I ordered one of the special effects shades, Socialite; a shimmery, peachy, pink which I was not bowled over by.
However, I was confident that I would love any of the nudes released by this brand so I ordered 3 out of the 4 new shades that released as part of the Nude Love Collection; Sugar Mama, Girlfriend and Crush. I could not get hold of Wifey as it was sold out on Cult Beauty…it seems to be in high demand! I was eagerly anticipating my parcel…
Pav kindly tried these colours on for me…I have posted pictures below with a short description of each colour:
Sugar Mama—a warm peachy nude.
Crush—the lightest colour of the three. A very light nude with cool, pinky undertones.
Girlfriend—this was a lot lighter than I had anticipated. It is a light, very warm brown—with yellow undertones.
I would say that Crush, Sugar Mama and Bombshell are extremely similar in the undertones and hue…in fact, Crush and Sugar Mama just look like lighter variations of Bombshell, with Crush being the lightest shade.
These new colours are lighter than the lightest nudes in the previous product offering by the brand—Bombshell and Venus. Bombshell and Venus were nudes that were still dark enough to wear with minimal make up, and were able to make my face look more polished regardless of the amount of make up I was wearing. But in my opinion, when a nude gets light enough, it becomes the kind of colour that looks best with a full strong-eyed, bronzed look; I feel these new shades that I purchased fall into this realm.
They are the kind of very muted, light colours that look amazing offsetting a face of full make-up, but they are not colours that you wear on the days when you have little or no make-up on. The application of these was also a tad streaky I found (Crush, in particular )…which was not the case with her previous shades. Crush is pale and chalky on me so to avoid it washing me out I would need a very bronze, warm, full face of make up to make the colour work. Also, I like to draw a little around my lips to make them look bigger, and these shades are a little too light for that trick to have any impact. I am sure I could use these to mix and blend with other Huda shades that I have, to make them a bit lighter and experiment…but I wouldn’t intentionally pay £18 each, for this particular use. I have seen that a recommendation from the brand is to use a darker shade of liquid matte to line the lip and to use these lighter colours in the middle for an ombre look; again that does seem like a faff and not something that instantly appeals to me. I still love the formula; it is long-lasting, wears well and feels comfortable.
Pav liked Sugar Mama out of these 3 shades…she has NC35 skin and I have to agree with Pav on this one. I guess Sugar Mama is the warmest…(healthiest?!) looking colour of the 3—compared with the other 2 you do not need loads of make-up with this one. It is the nicest and most flattering of these 3 nudes. Girlfriend and Crush are pretty with the right make-up—but would look awful with the wrong or too little make-up. I think Crush is probably too light for any skintones above MAC NC30, it may look too washed out. Bombshell, Trendsetter and Venus are definitely more versatile nudes which will flatter a greater range of skin tones.
Next time Huda releases any more colours, I think I will have to test before buying…as these were a lot lighter than I was expecting…you live and learn.
Hi all, as I mentioned in my previous post I went a little crazy recently when I discovered this fantastic, all-natural make-up brand…I was extremely excited to find a UK company specialising in natural make-up. The sheer fact that a lot of self-confessed make-up junkies in this country have never heard of this brand, highlights how little natural make-up has flourished on these isles.
Lily Lolo do not use use a lot of the nasty ingredients typically used across the make-up industry; no parabens, silicone, talc or mineral oils. Plus, they have kindly chucked in some excellent, nourishing ingredients into a lot of their products. The lipsticks have lanolin so are extremely moisturising; the illuminator includes argan oil, a superfood for skin. Whereas the brand’s eyeliners are infused with jojoba oil and other conditioning ingredients to make them perfect for sensitive skin.
I wanted to try their entire make-up range; every single type of item that I would wear on a normal day, everything from a highlighter to a lipstick. Luckily for my bank balance they do samples of some of their products for £1-£1.50, so I opted for these where I could. In the end I ordered: A colour correcting powder, Peepo (£9); a loose mineral blusher, Sunset (£9); a loose mineral bronzer sample, Bondi Beach (£1.50); a loose mineral highlighter sample, Star Dust (£1.50); a brown eyeliner pencil (£7.50); a lipstick, Intense Crush (£9.50); a mineral foundation sample, Butterscotch (£1.50); a powder brush (£11) and two finishing powder samples (£1.50 each), in tinted and matte variations, Flawless Silk and Flawless Matte. I also wanted a mascara but there was a two-week wait on that item!
Verdict on Individual Items
Corrector, Peepo: After I ordered this I realised Lily Lolo also do a creamy concealer which I would have probably preferred. Although this does look quite yellow in the pot, it does cover my under-eye darkness to a certain degree and I will continue to use it. It obviously has nowhere near the coverage of my Kevin Aucoin concealer but I didn’t expect it to; I wanted this product for days where I don’t need flawless make-up.
Loose mineral blusher, Sunset: I am not in love with the shade I picked. It is quite a dark pink and I would have preferred a more contemporary colour. I do, however, think this colour would look quite nice on darker skin tones. Longevity- and pigment-wise it provides a good, buildable coverage.
Loose mineral bronzer, Bondi Beach: Beautiful, shimmery bronze colour; a good colour for my NC30 skin. It stays put quite well throughout the day.
Loose mineral shimmer, Star Dust: This is an extremely subtle, natural highlighter which you could probably build up if you prefer. I find it’s too lightly pigmented for days when I would want a full make-up look…but nice for everyday make-up.
Lipstick, Intense Crush: A beautiful, wearable, light pink/peach colour. I am extremely happy with the colour; and for me, that largely determines whether I will ever wear it. It is not too bright and is a muted enough colour to wear on a daily basis. In terms of the formulation, I am impressed. And I am not easily pleased when it comes to my lipsticks, let me tell you. It is a highly pigmented, creamy matte colour, with a subtle shine. It feels so moisturising on the lips and the staying power is actually better than I expected too!
Eyeliner, Brown: The black coloured one had a waiting list, but actually I prefer brown anyway. Again, I am surprised at the pigmentation of this product. It also lasts quite well, and doesn’t smudge too much in a really bad way…basically it is not all over your face by the end of the day, just to reassure you.
Powder brush: I haven’t really tried any expensive brushes so I cannot compare this brush to high-end alternatives. I do however, use EcoTools brushes, and this one is so much softer and silkier. In fact, I want to purchase a few more.
Finishing powder, Flawless Matte: I used this after moisturiser and before the mineral foundation…it has kaolin in it which absorbs oil so when layered directly over moisturiser it should mean a less slippery surface for the foundation to adhere to. It worked! My make-up lasted around 6 hours; despite not using any primer or finishing powder over my make-up.
Note: I have not yet tried the Flawless Silk finishing powder (which looks a little pink..!) or the mineral foundation.
Wow, I am blown away. I had almost accepted low coverage and weaker pigments as a given, but still wanted to try these product because I thought they would allow my skin to breath. I was wrong. These products combined (I wore with my Bare Minerals foundation) provide a nearly flawless look. Based on performance alone, these rival normal, chemical-ridden, high-end make-up products. Peepo didn’t entirely get rid of my dark circles…but I think I am meant to combine with a mineral concealer – I was under the possibly wrong impression these performed the same function. But, to be honest, I am happy with the coverage Peepo alone provides for the everyday make-up that these products were intended for.
My make-up (minus lipstick) lasted around 5-6 hours – which is pretty good. My Bobbi Brown BB cream (with a primer) typically lasts me for less than that. I think it could have been the Flawless Matte foundation placed in the order that it was, that made all the difference.
In conclusion, I am in love with Lily Lolo. Affordable, nourishing make-up that is free of so many nasties that are prevalent in make-up these days. This company is a breath of fresh air and I am sure they will go from strength to strength as more people find out about their gorgeous product offering.
I am on a quest…two things that I am trying to find. Firstly, that perfect set of medium-full coverage make-up products to make me look airbrushed and look my best for those photo-ready occasions. A set of go-to wonder products that just work on my oily/combination skin, for days when I need my make-up to last and look flawless. Secondly, I want to amass a selection of completely natural, no-nasties make-up. Products which help to perk me up and improve my complexion, but do not have to be as long-lasting or full coverage. I would like make-up for everyday use that does not clog up my pores and which could potentially even improve my skin over time…I don’t ask for a lot do I? 😉 I haven’t got a massive budget…so I want to love every product I get…rather than get loads of different options. I can’t afford to buy a whole heap (2 heaps even) of expensive items – I want to be able to achieve the above while purchasing the fewest number of products possible.
Some of the high-performance items that I am contemplating…(after a lot of research!):
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (in shade 6)
Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation (in shade 3W0 Warm Creme)
Dr Brandt Pores No More Primer
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (not sure about colour yet)
Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer
The all-natural, no nasties make-up that is looking good to me:
Lily Lolo – the entire range looks impressive and extensive… And they sell samples 🙂
I do not know a lot about natural make-up products…I have only just stumbled onto the concept and am looking to take my first step into this magical new world. The trigger for me is that my skin is looking worse than ever before. Surely, all of these harsh chemicals and additives, although they may provide short term results, could be dramatically harming our skin in the long term. I feel like I need to do something now, as in right now (yes, I have literally just made an order on Lily Lolo in the last few hours..! ) to prevent any further damage to my skin. ‘BB creams are fine though right? They aren’t as heavy as foundation, so my skin is able to breath.’ Wrong. I used to think like this. But when your BB cream contains silicones your pores are getting clogged…even on your no-make-up days.
I am looking for natural products free of silicones, parabens, silica, talc. It is so much harder than it seems – these ingredients are everywhere. It seems like the Australians are miles (light-years in fact) ahead of us on this…so many big players are Australian, which can make products difficult to get hold of here and expensive to ship I then stumbled across what could be my saviour, Lily Lolo. A rare UK-based company specialising in cruelty-free products with all-natural ingredients, and they are very reasonably priced too with outstanding reviews!! I do not understand why I have never heard of them before now – they look really promising.
Me and Pav (she is looking for an alternative, natural make-up routine too) are looking forward to trialing some of the products mentioned above over the coming weeks/months…