Thursday, 28 June 2012

Hair Series: Ladder Braid

This style is really nice for summer, and it's also great for disguising second day hair. I'll be in Uganda when this is published and will probably be wearing this quite a lot!

In order to recreate this, you do need to be able to do a simple French braid. If you can Dutch braid, then that will work too, though it will give a slightly different look.

start with a small section of hair over one temple. Braid/plait it normally through 2 cycles.
Start French braiding along the hair line, untill you reach the ear.

Once you get to the ear, the braid will be converted into what's called a half laced French braid, but very loosely. The way you do this is by adding hair as you normally would in a French braid to the side of the braid opposite the ear, but braiding normally and not adding any hair to the side nearest the ear. It's important to keep the sections loose as you add them, or the braid will start to wrap around the head, and you are aiming for the braid to fall straight down over the shoulder.  
Secure the end of the braid with a clear elastic, and then use your fingers to pull it outwards, making it wider and a bit messy. You can do this all the way up the head, back to the start point, for a really dressed-down look.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Hair Series: Hair Up, No Pins or Bands

I have been wanting to do a hair series for a while, as I love coming up with different styles, but styling your own hair and taking pictures of it at the same time was virtually impossible! Thankfully my lovely friend Leonie let me borrow her hair so that I could get some decent step-by-step shots

Anyway, onto the style! I quite often need to get my hair out of my face, but don't have anything to secure it with. This style is something I just tried once when I was learning how to create a french twist, and I have been using it since! It's super useful and unusual, people are constantly asking me how to do it, so I thought I'd share.

The first thing you need to do is gather your hair in a ponytail fairly high on your head. You can do this at virtually any height but I think higher tends to look better.

Twist the hair, and wrap it around itsself into a bun. It doesn't matter if it isn't neat, or if you have layers that stick out, as this is all going to get tucked underneath. The most important thing at this point is to make sure that there is a fairly equal amount of hair on each side.

Now comes the hard to explain and hard to photograph part! Holding onto the bun, use two fingers to make a hole above it. When I'm doing this on myself, I keep my wrists together underneath the bun, pointing towards my neck, and then my hands cup it and make the hole at the front, towards my forehead. To give you an idea of perspective as this photo is at something of an awkward angle, the little bit of skin you can see in the bottom corner is Leonie's temple.
Now, holding the hole open, use the heels of your hands to push the bun up and over into the hole. This can pull a little bit, but it gets easier (and less painful!) with practise.
Push any loose strands down into the hole, and if you need to make it more secure, you can roll more hair inwards into the hole.

I hope that I explained everything enough! If you just start experimenting it might start to make more sense!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Nailed: French Gradient with Tutorial

Today I decided to do something a little bit different with my nails. I like the classic french manicure but I sometimes think it can look a little bit too prefect, and I know a lot of people think it can look tacky (though personally I like it!). This look is softer and is inherently easier than doing your own french manicure as well!

The steps are really very easy, but I'll go through them anyway. You're going to need a nude nail polish, I used Maybelline Everstrong in Ivory Rose (£4.09, here), a base coat, I used Save the Nail Repair and Rescue Base coat as my nails are quite weak (£7.50, here), a french white polish, I'm using Collection 2000 French Manicure in French White (£2.99, availbile from Boots and Superdrug, but irritatingly not online) and a topcoat. I'm using Seche Vite Dry Fast Topcoat (£10.50, here), a nail file and/or buffer, a makeup sponge and some sort of non-porus surface, I just use old packaging.

The first step is to prep your nails. File them into a shape you like, and then I always use a nail buffer to give a smoother finish, but you could skip this. Apply your base coat.

 Apply your nude polish, using enough coats for it to be opaque, though if your nail line shows it doesn't matter too much.

Once that is completely dry, you need to pour out a little bit of your nude polish onto the plastic. Dip the edge of your sponge into it and then dab it off on a clean part of the plastic. If the sponge is too wet you wont get a nice gradient, just a harsh white patch, so this bit is important! Start to stipple the sponge onto the tips of your nails. concentrate on getting a subtle wash of colour at this stage, and dont worry if your tips aren't completely white yet. Once you have done this on all 10 fingers, you can go back and use the sponge just on the very ends of your nails to make the tips fully white. Apply your topcoat and you're good to go!

Using a matte topcoat can make the gradient even more fuzzy and soft looking, it's a really pretty effect.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Maybelline SuperStay 10h Tint Gloss Review

To forewarn; this is a scheduled post written a few weeks ago as I am currently teaching in Uganda. You can read about that adventure here

A few weeks ago I saw a video by FleurDeForce raving about the YSL Glossy Stains. I was really intrigued and desperately wanted to buy one several. However, being a student broke, I couldn't afford to drop £22.50 on one lip product. Then I saw an advert for Maybelline Tint Gloss, and a lightbulb went off in my head. I don't think their similarity is a coincidence!!

I have the shade Lasting Pink, which looks like a bright fuschia pink in the tube, but comes off more red on the lips.

The applicator for this gloss is really interesting and well designed, it is a loop rather than the standard doe-foot applicator, which pulls more product out of the tube, and distributes it more easily than a doe-foot too. More gloss wands like this please!!

When I applied this, I took Fleurs application tips into account, despite that fact this is a different product. I applied one coat which I buffed into my lips, and then another to give a glossy, even finish. I have included a lip swatch because the colour is quite different on the lips than on my arm, though my mouth looks like it belongs to an 80 year old lady in all the pictures, so please ignore that!! (and the two dark spots are lip freckles, they're wierd, I know.)

This lasted a fair few hours, and was not at all drying like a lot of lip stains are. I don't think it really lives up to its claim of being bright and glossy for ten whole hours, but it lasted a lot longer than a regular gloss. And at just £6.99 (here) I think I can live with needing to touch up.

I originally swatched this on my arm, planning to see if it remained after 10 hours. The problem is, I only decided to do this at about 9pm, so there was quite a high risk of me being asleep at the 10 hour mark, and of my getting bright pink stain on my bedding. Needless to say I removed it well before the 10 hours were up. Check out the swatch anyway though, as the colour is quite different to on the lips. Something to bear in mind when purchasing!

The bottom line? Totally reccomend. Great for summer!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nailed: Lilac Charm

Today is a scheduled post as I'm currently living it up in Uganda! This is a polish I bought a few weeks ago now, but that I have only just gotten around to wearing. It's a strongly cool toned lilac colour, it reminds me of parma violet sweets that I used to buy as a kid. In this photo it looks like its very sheer, but in real life my nail line was nowhere near as visible, 2 coats was fine for everyday wear, 3 would have made it perfect.

This polish is from the Maybelline Forever Strong line (£4.09, here) application and removal were without problems.

Monday, 11 June 2012

What's in My Travel Makeup Bag?

I did a post on this last year, shortly before I went to Turkey with my family. At the time I wrote that I wouldn't be bringing any makeup with me on my subsequent trip to Uganda, which is something I later regretted.  My general makeup routine has changed quite a lot in the past year too, so I wanted to do an updated post on what I will be taking with me to Uganda when I set off this evening.

Much of my everyday makeup routine is made up of MAC products, and though I actually only have ten MAC makeup items and three brushes, most of them were carefully chosen to be part of my daily routine, so that I get maximum use out of them.

Face products: Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation SPF15 in shade 0, Porcelain. (£29, here), MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation in shade NC15 (£19.50, here), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light (£20.50, here), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade, from the Reel Sexy collection (£21.50, here), MAC Blush in shade Fleur Power (£17.50, here), Benefit High Beam (£18.50, here), Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer in shade 1, Fair (£4.19, here)

Eye products: MAC Paintpot in Rubenesque (£14.50, here), Maybelline Colour Tattoo eyeshadow in On and On Bronze (£4.99, here), MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack (£14.00, here), Sleek i-Divine palette in Au Naturel (£6.49, here), Maybelline Volum' Express The One By One Mascara in Black (£8.49, here)

I haven't pictured any lip products as I haven't quite decided which ones I'm taking, but I will definitely be taking some of my Revlon Lip Butters. (£5.99, here)

Going to be MIA

Just to let you know, that all posts after this one (in fact, incuding this one) have been written in advance and  scheduled because I'm leaving today, to teach in Uganda. If you are interested in reading about my time there you can, here. Blogging from Uganda is do-able but beauty blogging is far less so, as the only internet access I will have is via an internet cafe, and so uploading pictures is virtually impossible.

If you are interested in volunteering, the organisation I used last year can be found here. In my opinion they aren't all that great, but they are vary low cost compared to other programmes and they will get you a placement. A very good organisation that I have seen in action but is more costly (you really DO get what you pay for with these things) can be found here.

If you are interested in the specific project that I will be working at, whether for volunteering, donating, sponsoring a child, or just for more information, you can find their website here.

I am planning to have posts appearing twice a week, on mondays and thursdays. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Muji/Travel Haul!

I know that this isn't strictly beauty related, but I love watching travel videos from beauty gurus on youtube, and I'm so excited about my trip that I couldn't resist posting this!

When I'm packing for a trip I love to organise all of my stuff, I'm a bit of an organisation freak! I have loads of different little pouches that I use for all kinds of stuff, from makeup to medicines.

The big white case is a medium Tarpaulin Cosmeic Case from Muji (£3.95, here) which I'm planning to use to transport my shower gel and conditioner just in case they leak in transit, as this is waterproof. It should also be pretty useful for transporting wet clothes/bikinis after trips to the lake and stuff. There is a custom in Uganda of never allowing people to see your underwear (even when you're not wearing it!), so once you have washed your clothes, there is a definite possibility of having to wait a while to dry them. 

These flat pouches are useful for so many things. The mesh ones I will probably use for my first aid and sterile kits, which are pretty huge. The kids at the school I am going to be working in often always have health problems, and trips to hospital with your students are frequent. Last time I was there I was one of the only qualified first aiders, and ended up taking about 10 children to hospital in 7 weeks. Having my kit to treat minor problems in these mesh pouches means that I can see easily what is in there, and makes everything quicker. They are Large Nylon Mesh Cases, also from Muji (£2.95 each, here). The floral pouch was £1.50 from Primark and will probably end up being used to transport my Tangle Teezer and hairbands.

I bought the Large Hanging Travel Washbag (£11.95, here) because I realised that despite having loads of pouches I don't actually own a washbag! We won't actually have bathrooms in Uganda per-se, but there is a little shower cubicle in the corner of each room, with a few nails in the wall, so this should be really useful as I will be able to keep all of my stuff off the floor, and at eye level. this has loads of compartments so I should be able to further organise everything as I pack! 
I learned some good lessons about travelling when I went to Uganda last summer, and many of those lessons related to what you should and shouldn't bring! As I was flying alone for the first time I was very conscious of the fact that I needed to look after my passport and travel documents. I had a little cardboard folder that was provided by the agent I booked my flights through, which I kept everything in. The problem was that it was only really designed to hold a couple of sheets of paper, not a bulky passport and other important documents! This Muji Purple Passport Case (£9.95, here) should be much more suitable, and has enough room for my passport, tickets, cash, cards, even my keys and a pen!

The last thing I bought in my little travel accessories spree is a free standing mirror from good ol' Poundland. Last year the only makeup I took with me was a limited edition Sleek palette that wouldn't be availible when I got back that I bought on the way to the airport. I thought that as I was doing charity work it wasn't a holiday and I wouldnt have any reason to get glammed up. Was I ever wrong! Every friday saw us go out to a local club to dance, and when I was staying with my cousin in the capital I went to some of the most glamorous places I've ever been! I ended up buying eyeliner and mascara while I was there as I didn't want to be walking into casinos and posh restaurants looking like a scruffy backpacker! Anyway, lesson learned. This time, I'm definitely bringing some makeup!! So I bought this mirror as they were in seriously short supply at the lodge, and they were not free standing. For £1, this will do the job nicely! 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Nailed: Shock.

Since the weather has finally warmed up, I've been able to crack out the summer brights!

This is by LA Colors from their Color Craze line in the shade Shock. I got this for the bargainous price of £1 from Beauty Base in Westfield Stratford.

The formula was not great. For a £1 polish, I didn't expect great things, but the other polishes I have from this line have had much better formulas, so maybe I've been spoilt by them in the past. This polish was really very sheer, the abover photo is with 5 coats, and my nail line was still visible. The colour is lovely, but if i was going to use this again I think I would try it over a white base. Overall it's not a bad polish, but be prepared to have to work quite hard to get it to look like the bottle. Removal was without problems.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Some New Things...

My aforementioned shopping extravaganza did not end with Primark hair accessories, so I thought I'd share.

Sunglasses. I used to have absolutely loads of pairs of sunglasses, and then I went to Tanzania, and then I went to Uganda. The kids there are compleely obsessed with them, so I came back from Tanzania with none of the sunnies that I'd taken with me, but still some left at home. When my trip to Uganda came around the following summer, I took all of my remaining pairs (six in total!) and I came back with only one pair. (see evidence of adorable sunglasses theives below). So, having learned my lesson, I decided tostart stocking up on cheap sunnies from Primark. These were only £2 each and offer full UV protection, which is important. The super pretty Cath Kidston-esque sunglasses case was only £1.50 too!

The two Maybelline Forever Strong nail polishes were impulse buys really, but I really love the colours. they are Ivory Rose and Lilac charm.

Lastly I got a new foundation from Bobbi Brown (review coming soon!). It's a different forula to the one I used to use, and is supposed to be long wearing and is oil free. We shall see!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Selfridges Big Beauty Bang Event

Last night my friend Leonie and I headed out to a beauty event at Selfridges Oxford St. They are having a whole series of events collectively called 'The Big British Bang' to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and last night was the opening night of the beauty event.

We bought tickets the previous week when we were shopping in the beauty hall, which cost £10 but is redeemable against purchase on the night. The reason I'm telling you all about this now is because there is another big event on the 7th of June, and I highly reccomend you get tickets if you can! Essentially it's a free event as you can claim your £10 back, and there were plenty of goodies to sample, from free champagne to jelly beans and of course, beauty samples.

Upon arrival we were provided with big yellow rosettes to wear so that the staff on the counters knew that we were part of the event, and that they should shower us with gifts! I'm exagerating a little, but there really were lots of things going on, and people without tickets were gutted that they werent allowed to join in with any of the festivities.

I spent quite a lot of time at the Illamaqua counter where the artist created a really amazing eye look for me, and I bought the palette that he had used, redeeming my £10 ticket cost at the same time.

Unfortunately not the best photo, Taken a few hours later when I got home, as my compact camera that I took with me really wasn't standing up to the low light conditions, but the look really was beautiful.

Leonie getting her eye-makeup done at NARS

NARS cupcakes!

Trying Chubby Sticks at Clinique
One bottle of champagne is never enough!
Leonie getting her eyes re-done at Bobbi Brown
There were also a few performers laid on at the event. The first and most obvious was a brilliant drag artist who was dressed as Mary Portas. He was really very convincing! He seemed to be 'master of ceremonies' and also had a photo area where you could dress up as the queen and have your photo taken. We obviously couldnt pass up this opportunity, but Leonie has the photo and I wanted this to go out as soon as possible, so I can't post it here! There was also a performance by Marawa The Amazing who appeared on Britain's Got Talent 2011, I believe she reached the semi-finals. Anyway, she was very entertaining! Sorry again about the photo quality!

Lastly, they had a 'grabber' machine, like you get in amusement arcades. It was filled with iconic yellow selfridges bags, which contained various (unseen) beauty products. If you spent over £60 on the night, you got to have a go. Leonie and I spent £60 between us, so we pretended that I had bought both of our shopping and they let me go without a problem, so definitely team up with people! Also, I reccomend going at the end of the event, as the guy running it was just picking out bags for people who didnt manage to grab one as the event was ending soon, and they certainly weren't doing that at the beginning of the night! I actually did manage to grab one and it contained Shu Uemura UV Underbase BB Mousse, which is worth £29 and is absolutely brilliant!

Would you go to an event like this?

Primark for Hair Accessories?!

Yesterday I went on a bit of a shopping extravaganza with my friend Leonie. When we left our flats that morning we were planning a day of cluture at the Natural History Museum Bodyworlds exhibit (totally reccomend it!) but we ended up getting round it quicker than we thought we would, and ended up on oxford street until about 8pm!

I had never been to Primark Oxford St before and as it was a weekday we decided that it wouldn't be too busy so we would brave it. I was surprised that I didn't actually buy any clothes, but bought some accessories and quite a bit of hair stuff. I have bought a bun ring from primark before for the bargainous price of just £1, and it was of the same quality as a £5 one from Boots, but they seem to have broadened their selection of hair accessories.

I stupidly chucked all the packaging in the recycling last night when I was in a bit of a cleaning frenzy, so the pictures are without it, sorry! I got the hairbands first, I love these as they come in all sorts of colours, natural and otherwise, and they don't have that annoying metal bit that can catch your hair, and it's only a pound for 30. As someone who is constantly loosing hairbands, that is important!!

The clear and black elastics caught my eye as I like to use the clear ones when I'm doing a more intricate style or when it's important that the band doesn't show. The black ones I probably won't use but I can take them out to Uganda with me where the local women can use them for when they braid their own, or visiting tourists hair. These were also £1 and there are 300 in the pack.

The spiral pins are the thing I was most excited about. I have looked at Goody Spin Pin (£5.50, here) in Boots lots of tims but never bought them because I just couldn't justify spending that much on two glorified hair grips. Enter Primark, with their flagrant copy priced at just £1, and just as good. I'm planning to do a tutorial on these but put simply you pretty much gather your hair in a bun, screw one in from the top and the other from the bottom, and voila, it stays. Much better value and I'm pretty sure the quality is similar.