My 2 Desert Island Products!

IMG_1939So you’re fresh off the plane from England waiting in Ibiza airport to collect your suitcase. You’ve been there for an hour and the baggage carousel is starting to look worryingly bare. You keep staring at that hole in the wall that spits out bags onto the conveyor belt and hoping that you’ll see a recognisable flash of pink. Nothing happens. Panic sets in. You grip your hand luggage protectively and peer inside at the two make-up products that will save you from looking like a washed up sea creature for the entire week ahead. … What are they?

1. Benefit Brow Zing 

IMG_1939 - Copy (2)Every girl remembers the moment that they filled in those sparse, over-plucked eyebrows for the first time. Granted, it was probably with a £3 product from Superdrug around 12 shades darker than your actual hair or even with an eyeliner pencil in a moment of spontaneity on a Sunday afternoon, but didn’t it look great?… At least we thought it did at the time. We all understand the power of the brows and how, if filled in correctly with the perfect product, they can make a drastic difference to your look. Benefit Brow Zing; you are the chosen one.

2. Mac Studio Finish Concealer in NC35

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I purchased this product around three years ago and haven’t looked back since. Rather than brightening up the under eye area, it provides the perfect coverage for any discolouration that you may have there or any blemishes on the skin in other places. The packaging of this concealer makes it so easy to carry with you wherever you go in order to make quick touch ups when necessary! This is a must have for me and the evidence is usually all over my clothing, handbags and car steering wheel when I decide to apply it with my fingers in a rush.

What are your two desert island products? I’d love to know!!

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Hair Salon Etiquette: Top 5 Awkward Stages

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For me, going to a new hairdresser for the first time is rather like being on a first date (only it’s far more physical and far less acceptable to be intoxicated). I’ll admit that I’ve got a slightly irrational fear about the whole ordeal. This probably stemmed from when I was a pre-pubescent 13 year old girl incredibly intimidated by the glamorous scissor-wielding grown-up that I’d have to awkwardly interact with in order to get rid of my split ends. Maybe a fear is too strong a word; let’s call it an awkwardness instead. These are the top 5 awkward stages of the hair salon experience:

1. Attempting a little small talk: Of course, you start with the good info; the holidays, Christmas, any upcoming birthday celebrations. Once this part is over the hard work begins. In your mind you are desperately delving through events that happened 6 months ago, nothing is out of bounds: Gone through a recent breakup? Great! Been cheated on? Even better!
Now comes the moment of silent acceptance as you take in the sad realisation of how boring your life actually is. Your brain punishes your mouth for abandoning it and you go back to exploring the sparse inventory of gossip within your mind.

2. A relaxing soak: Neck slowly craned back, your luscious locks suddenly become a giant clump of matted hair that you can hear gagging the basin’s drain. Your giant head is lolling about against the porcelain rim and reminding you of that time you got horrifically drunk in Magaluf and ended up spooning the bidet completely oblivious of its intended use or the irregularity of the cleaning rota at the hotel.
Another issue at this stage is your decision on what to do with your eyes. Do you pretend that this position is in fact so relaxing that you have begun to nod off or do you stare bulbous eyed at the ceiling for 10 minutes? She usually continues to scrub away at your hair undeterred by how uncomfortable you look or how your left eyebrow has slowly begun to run down the side of your cheek.

3. A frightful sight: Now sopping wet and resembling Severus Snape caught in a rainstorm, you are forced to stare at this reflection whilst the drying process slowly gets under way. You furrow your brow and desperately rub at the part that you have suddenly noticed has made its way over to your ear. 

4. Acting abilities: Your cut is finally finished and you prepare your best fake smile (that you luckily perfected during Christmas) in order to completely over exaggerate the joy that you feel over an inch of hair having been removed. ‘It feels so much healthier’ you say, which she has probably already heard three times that day. 

5. Tipping time: It’s safe to say that at the age of 21, I have not yet mastered the art of tipping. Every time the moment presents itself I feel like I’m attempting to do some sort of shady drug deal as quick as humanly possible before anybody sees. The worst scenario is when you are forced to pay in change. Do you just open up your purse at the end and begin placing random coins into her palm or do you grip your choices in your fist for half of the cut? I tend to just throw a selection of warm and slightly sweaty pounds at her and evacuate the building all in one swift movement. 

Somehow, miraculously, despite all of these scenarios, the experience is never as bad as you originally anticipated and you usually end up having a pretty good chat. Hairdressers seem to have this wonderful ability to remove the awkwardness from any situation so that even when your eyebrows are abseiling down your face and you are discussing the details of the time you pissed yourself on holiday you still feel rather comfortable with everything. Is this the start of a beautiful friendship or just the fact that she’s caught sight of the stingy tip that you are clutching in your left hand? … Probably the latter.

My Sulfate Free Shampoo & Conditioner: L’Oreal Hair Expertise

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I have been using and loving L’Oreal EverRiche Shampoo & Conditioner for over a year now. I first stumbled across these when a friend of mine had left her bottles in the shower and, having such wonderful hair herself, I knew I had to try them out. From the first use I noticed a huge difference in the texture of my hair, it was so much sleeker and much less brittle at the ends. This is what one reviewer on MakeupAlley had to say about the shampoo: “These L’Oreal shampoos and conditioners have completely blown me out of the water and this shampoo is no exception. I’ve tried a wide range of shampoos from both drugstore and high end brands cause I like to try new things and nothing beats this.”

What initially interested me in these hair products (other than the shiny gold packaging) was the fact that they were sulfate free. An extract taken from sulphatefreeshampoo.com explains in detail how sulfates used in many shampoo and conditioning products to remove oils can cause damage to your hair: “Sulfate is a detergent that can reduce the quality of the strands when it goes into the hair follicles. As a result, your hair becomes brittle and becomes prone to breaking. This can lead to an increase in hair fall. In addition, since sulfate is present in the follicles, they will have a hard time producing healthy strands to replace those that have fallen. Significantly, the volume of your hair will be reduced. You can prevent this from happening by using sulfate free shampoo.”

L’Oreal provides a variation of choices within the Hair Expertise range, all enriched with botanical oils and designed to tackle different issues: EverRiche = dry/fine, EverPure = dry/coloured, EverSleek = coarse/frizzy, EverStrong = fragile/brittle. Each of these bottles costs £5.99 but you will often find that there is a promotional deal on them which means that you wont always be having to pay £12 for the set. 

It seems that whenever I’m in Superdrug or Tesco I will have an unnecessary panic attack over not having enough L’Oreal Hair Expertise in the house and therefore buy another load. For this reason I have ridiculous amounts of the stuff on stand-by just waiting for my current bottles to run out! However, this Christmas I was given some Pureology Strength Cure shampoos and conditioners from my sister’s boyfriend that I have been wanting to try out. So, if I can bare to part from it for a few washes, my love affair with L’Oreal may have to be shelved just for a while!

Lip Voltage Collagen Lip Plumper: Before & After

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Since Dreamweave’s Lip Voltage first appeared around a year ago it has been tweeted and Instagrammed about by familiar faces from both Geordie Shore and The Only Way is Essex. In April of 2014 a tweet from TOWIE star Danielle Armstrong stated that; “A few people have asked me if I’ve had lip fillers…No girls it’s all down to Lip Voltage”. This product is described as a non-injectable peptide collagen lip plumper and works by increasing blood flow to the lips. The swelling/plumping effect claims to last for up to 24 hours although from my own experience I’d say it was realistically only about an hour or two before re-application was necessary.

I’ve always doubted the effectiveness of lip plumpers and thought that they rely heavily on a placebo effect where customers simply feel the tingling/burning sensation and therefore believe that the product has worked. Nevertheless, I was interested in trying out Lip Voltage due to it’s recent social media fame.

Lip Voltage is not currently available in stores so I purchased mine online from Dollywood Boutique for £15.99. The package includes a syringe containing an activating ingredient that enables you to choose how strong you want your lip plumper to be depending on the amount of drops that you mix in with the lip gloss: (1 drop = warm tingle, 2 drops = warm to hot, 3 drops = very hot).

The actual gloss itself comes with a wand applicator and makes your lips really shiny, so purely as a gloss I would say that it’s a nice product. Lip Voltage is a lot stronger than other lip plumpers I have used and its intensity surprised me. After a few minutes of applying the gloss you start to feel your lips burning slightly, a feeling that slowly increases in strength during the first 15 minutes. I would compare it to brushing a really hot chilli across your lips. It’s not unbearable but its definitely a lot more than the ‘tingle’ sensation that the product claims it to be.

The first difference that I noticed between my before and after images below was the change in lip colour. In the after photo my lips are a darker pink due to increased blood circulation in that area which proves that the product is doing its job. I believe that in the second photograph you can see an improvement in fullness and although the results may not be as good as actual fillers (which is to be expected), I would say that Lip Voltage is probably one of the most effective plumping lip glosses on the market.

I would advise anyone lacking lip volume and looking for an instant boost to give this product a try. However, due to the fact that it wore off quickly and didn’t result in a drastic change, Lip Voltage would be more of a night out novelty item for me rather than a make-up must have.

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