My new favourite shampoo: Sulphate Free!

Sulphates, usually in the form of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), have been used in shampoos for decades. They act as a de greaser and a foaming agent, removing oils from your hair and helping the shampoo to reach that lather that makes us feel like it is really cleaning our hair. They are also used by mechanics to clean car engines. They don’t remove oils from our hair, they strip the oils away, leaving our hair dry and brittle. 

The more we find out about the effects of sulphates on hair, the more popular sulphate-free shampoo becomes. The worst effect they have? Stopping hair growth. Sulphates can cause scalp irritation and blockage of pores, blocking your hair from growing. It’s no wonder when you find out that dermatologists use sulphates to simulate a skin condition in order to test treatments. 

I am currently using this inexpensive shampoo which my hair just loves

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I love the way this shampoo makes my hair look. It almost looks instantly thicker and longer. The last shampoo that did this was John Frieda’s Full Repair. 

This particular shampoo from the Everstrong range focuses on dry and brittle hair, making it supple and less prone to breakage. I’ve only used it for a couple of washes so far, but I think my hair can tell the difference. Sometimes hair gets used to a certain shampoo, however, and it stops working after a few weeks. I have heard that this is because of sulphates, so this one shouldn’t stop working, but I’ll let you know. 

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Dress Up look: Cholaaaa

Sometimes I like to dress up and see how many cool things I can do with my makeup. If I was a boy, I’d be a drag queen. Anyway I had some free time so did a look I’ve been wanting to play around with for aaaages. CHOLA B*$£%ES!

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Next halloween look? Seeing as we are all embracing the nineties. Although both RiRi and Karreuche did this last halloween (awkward), but it’s a really fun look. I just blasted the reggaeton and made sure I had plenty of black liner and it was pretty easy. I already pretty much dress like this anyway. 

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All you need to do is line the hell out of your eyes (tear drops optional) draw on some thin black upside down Nike tick eyebrows, and line your lips with a black kohl pencil. These are the staple looks. Then just grab your bandanna and your plaid shirt and some MAJUH attitude and go and scare your neighbours. If you have baby hairs, gel them down! And don’t smile.

A great look for a costume party. 

 

 

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Who wore it better last halloween? RiRi or Kae? 

Or does Nicki have them both beat?

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Food to make you beautiful (and live forever)

Disclaimer:  By beautiful, I mean food that’s is good for your skin and hair and also food that is good for your health that will make you live longer. I don’t like using the word beautiful because a) it implies that it matters whether you’re beautiful or not and b) it implies that other people aren’t beautiful. Which isn’t true because cliché or not, I genuinely believe that everyone is beautiful.

So recently I’ve been really craving apples. I eat about 4 a day. And no, I am not Anne Boleyn and I am not pregnant with Elizabeth I (little history fact: Anne Boleyn craved apples when she was pregnant with Elizabeth I). So I thought I would write about other foods that ‘keep the doctor away’ but because this is a beauty blog I do have to include food that makes you ‘beautiful’.

First up, this smoothie recipe contains ingredients to give you glowing skin, and it is actually kind of delicious.

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It is more ‘chewie’ than ‘smoothie’ but it is weirdly quite addictive and it is quite easy to drink the whole thing. This recipe serves about 2 people. And as well as making your skin glow is it also very good for you because of…

Kale!

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I know you may think Kale is just the new trendy food, but it’s not because technically it was trendy way before it reached our media. And it’s not just Kourtney Kardashian that can eat it. Because she’s probably ‘so over it’ by now. But whether in fashion or not, this little guy is a staple of a healthy diet.

Apparently, Kale has more iron than beef. And you can be pretty sure that if you’re a girl, you are not getting enough iron. Feel tired all the time and dizzy? Probably iron deficiency. It is full of Vitamin K which can prevent some cancers and even Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants: also protect against cancers. Vitamin A: great for your skin and preventing lung and oral cancers. And Vitamin C which is great for your immune system. It can help stop you getting ill, and who wants to be ill?

Just don’t overdo it, because too much can be a bit hard on the ol’ digestive system, causing bloating. But that’s if you ate a whole bag of it raw in one sitting. So I wouldn’t worry.

Disclaimer: If you are on Warfarin or any other blood thinners avoid kale because Vitamin K helps with clotting. But if you are on Warfarin you shouldn’t be changing your diet drastically anyway without consulting your doctor first.

A great and easy way to consume kale is kale chips! And they’re really easy to make. Just wash and dry your kale, cut out the stalks, cut the leaves into 2 inch long crisp shapes and then toss these leaves in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil so all the leaves are coated. Then place on a baking tray and bake at 150 Celsius for 11 minutes. Warning: can be addictive.

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Overtaking kale in trendiness is Beetroot!

Yep, beets are the new kale. But as well as being the new ‘it’ food and Dwight Schrute’s favourite food, they are also incredibly good for you.

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This little root vegetable is great at lowering blood pressure. So if you have high blood pressure, or someone you love does, get dem beets son! High blood pressure puts you at risk of stroke and heart attacks. Which are sudden. So it is important to try and keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

Beets also help mop up the bad cholesterol in your blood, so again if someone you love has high cholesterol this is the food for them.

Beets contain lots of folic acid which is very important if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Beets contain nitrates which help more oxygen to get into your blood and therefore into your brain. Studies have shown that this can help prevent dementia and generally improve neurological function.

Try them in a salad, or a smoothie. They are also delicious roasted or soaked in vinegar.

 

Green Tea

Green tea makes you live forever. Not actually forever, but close enough. People in china who drink about 5 cups of green tea a day can be chain smokers and still live to over 100. This is because of green tea. More specifically EGCG or Epigallocatechin Gallate. This is the antioxidant in green tea that contains all the health benefits. We don’t drink nearly enough to get the benefits, however. I feel like congratulating myself if I have just one cup a week but to get the benefits from this ingredient we need 500mg a day. That’s about 5 cups a day. And lets be serious, green tea doesn’t taste great. So to make it easier you can buy EGCG supplements (with or without the caffeine) which taken every day will help prevent heart disease, all kinds of cancers, osteoporosis and lengthen your life span.

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Pumpkin Seeds and Kidney Beans are great for long beautiful locks. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc and omega 3’s and kidney beans contain zinc and biotin which are the main ingredients in those incredibly expensive hair and nail beauty supplements. Fortunately pumpkin seeds and kidney beans are not incredibly expensive. Kidney beans in particular are incredibly cheap. Pumpkin seeds also contain a lot of magnesium which not only gives you energy but can also help with period pains.

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Blueberries  are a two-for-one because they not only make you beautiful but they also have amazing health benefits. The antioxidants in blueberries are really good at softening dry skin when applied topically. But they also, like cranberries, when consumed help keep UTI’s at bay by removing bacteria from your bladder. And they are great cancer fighters by preventing some tumor cell growth. All you need is about a cup a day.

They are also good for your vision, reducing your risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration. Eating 3 servings a day can lower the risk by 36%. Plus they’re delicious.

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Bananas are natures cup of coffee. When I gave up caffeine about 3 years ago, I started eating bananas every morning instead. They are proven to help wake you up. (Also great tips to wake up are drink a whole glass of water and do ten star jumps. Not in that order). Bananas are high in potassium which funnily enough is what your body is lacking in when you are hungover, which makes bananas great for a hangover. The high potassium content is also great for lowering blood pressure. As well as increasing your energy which can help your mood, bananas also contain tryptophan which can improve your mood, especially during the darker months when we are all suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I also use bananas to help control my blood sugar. I often get huge drops in my blood sugar if I don’t eat often enough or eat something too high in sugar. I eat a banana between meals to help keep me level.

Just don’t eat 50 in one day and end up in hospital with potassium poisoning like Peter Andre.

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And last but not least, my current favourite, Apples!

Apples are very high in Vitamin C which as we know is great for the immune system and is where the saying ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ comes from.

They are also a great teeth cleaner because it increases saliva as you chew and reduces bacteria.

Apples also have been found to help prevent and slow down the effects of ageing on the brain, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

And in a time when a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer is 1 in 3, apples are essential as they reduce the risk of breast cancer.

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Plus Anne Boleyn ate loads of them when she was pregnant and she gave birth to one of the greatest Sovereigns this country has ever known. Not that that helped her at the time, poor woman.

So there is my list of my personal favourite health and beauty giving foods. If we all eat them in abundance we could live forever with the vampires.

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Angel ❤

 

Beauty Basics Part 1: the underwear of beauty

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve had the Easter weekend off. But I’m back and today I’m going to write about something that I’ve been meaning to write about since I started this blog. The basics of beauty. 

First of all, primers. If makeup were clothes, primer is the underwear. Bad underwear can make your whole outfit look ill fitting and unflattering, but good underwear can make a difference you never thought possible. It is the same with primer. You don’t know how good a difference it can make until you use one. No primer, or bad primer, and your makeup will look bad from the start and only get worse. You wouldn’t paint your house without a base coat of primer on first, so don’t paint your face without it either. 

There are three different types I use on my face. Foundation primer, eye shadow primer, and lip primer. Regular readers will know which foundation primer I currently use, and it is NARS Radiance Enhancing Pro-Prime Light Optimizing Primer (£24) a bit of a mouthful but it works. You can wear it on it’s own on a no makeup day for a natural glow, or as a primer to make your makeup last 8+ hours without setting spray and 24 hours with setting spray. Some more affordable primers are Smashbox which are designed to make your makeup last under the hot lights of a studio, and Benefit’s Stay Flawless 15 hour Primer. Or if you really want to splash out Laura Mercier has a range of different primers that are fantastic but expensive (£28-35).

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I use many different eye shadow primers, as I have a lot, but my most reliable one is again NARS. Eye shadow primer is the most important of all, because sometimes a good enough foundation can look ok without a primer, but a good eye shadow primer can make even cheap eyeshadow last all night and day without creasing or melting off no matter how hard you dance. It also gives your eyes an even base to apply shadow onto, so you don’t have to work too hard to get rid of redness. I also use various Urban Decay primers because I get a lot of these free. They are also very good and they have different types for matte or sparkly eyeshadow or even anti-ageing. 

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Lip primer is not essential, as you can just use a combination of lip balm and concealer, however it does make a difference. My favourite is Mac’s Prep and Prime Lip (£12.50). This is colour free so you can still add concealer over it, it just moisturises the lips and helps lipstick stay put and not to dry the lips or flake. If you want a neutralising base, Mac also do Lip Erase (£14.50) which “neutralizes and erases natural colour from the lip” 

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But again, not essential as concealer will do a similar job. 

Some people might think “primer, what’s that? is it worth spending extra money on for something you can’t even see?” because that is what I used to think when I was a youth, but it IS worth it. I never take makeup out with me because I simply don’t have to re apply and that saves a lot of grief on a night out. So trust me and invest. You will not regret it. 

My Hair Growth ‘Secrets’

DISCLAIMER: The following is my personal experience on how I managed to grow my hair after I had killed it with bleach so badly that it wouldn’t grow past my shoulders. When I say I no longer dye my hair, that doesn’t mean I don’t think anybody should dye their hair. I love hair dye but my hair just personally couldn’t hack it. All hair is different and has different tolerance levels to dye and heat. Unfortunately my hair had reached saturation point so this is my extreme hair detox that happened to work for me. 

I knew my hair could grow long because at school it was down to my waist. However when I started to dye it blonde that is when it started to go downhill for me. At first I only had natural highlights which didn’t seem to damage my hair. It was when I started getting it bleached that the damage began. Of course at the time it seemed to be in it’s best condition yet, as I was also getting it trimmed regularly. I went back every 6 weeks for more bleach and a trim. However after time the damage caught up with it and each time I got it trimmed it wouldn’t grow back. I ended up with shoulder length hair that had been waist length.

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Eventually I had to choose: length or colour? I loved being blonde but I also missed my long hair. I decided to take a break from dying and give it a chance to grow. However it still wouldn’t  grow. It was so damaged that my hair would just break whenever it reached a certain length. I stopped using any heat on it. I had previously blow dried it every day because it made the colour look better, but since I had decided to let the colour take a back seat I stopped blow drying, straightening and curling. I even wrapped it up when I went on sun beds. At first it was a frizzy mess and it took a lot of self control not to go back to blow drying, but I pushed through the frizz barrier and after 2 weeks it started to dry in loose waves. 

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This is argan oil, and this is what really saved my hair. I started applying this to the ends of my hair after every wash and that is when it really just seemed to grow back over night. The damage was repairing and growing out, allowing my hair to grow without breaking. Seeing some growth gave me hope, and I began to take an active interest in hair care. A key to healthy hair is doing one deep conditioning treatment a week. 

One of my favourites is the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (£28) however a more affordable option that worked for me was the John Freida Full Repair deep conditioning treatment (£7). And of course stick to the ‘comb wet hair, brush dry hair’ rules. Unless you have a Tangle Teezer (£10) in which case you can use that all the time.

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This has got me up to where I am now. But one thing I do worry about is my hair reaching it’s terminal length. When I was at school it reached a certain length and never grew past it. This wasn’t due to breakage, this is because hair grows in cycles. Once my hair reaches my waist it stops and any more growth just falls out. To make sure my hair was still growing I took a photo of it last month and then another photo exactly 1 month later and..

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It’s still growing! I have never taken hair supplements, but I do try to eat a healthy diet. If you eat well enough you should provide your hair with all the vitamins it needs. And that’s all those fancy hair supplements are; vitamins. Two natural products that are also great for hair growth are Aloe Vera and Coconut oil, but as I explained in my hair porosity post, because my hair is low porosity they just dry my hair out which can cause breakage. 

So there are my ‘secrets’. I just avoided heat and dye and use a lot of argan oil. I haven’t had a trim in about 2 years so those who say you need to trim your hair in order for it to grow are liars. The hardest part was pushing through the frizz barrier when I stopped blow drying it but it only lasted two weeks and I just kept my hair tied up. Now that I know more about caring for it I am thinking about dying it again, what do you think to blue?

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Miracle Product of the Month: April

My miracle product this month is MUCH cheaper than last months and is perfect for getting your skin ready to bare. 

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It is the Frozen Verbena Body Scrub from & Other Stories (£7)

& Other Stories is a store that is the child of H&M and sister to Cos, it is located on Regent Street. Not only does this store sell amazing clothes, jewellery, lingerie and shoes, but it also has a huge beauty section full of it’s own brand makeup and beauty products, and other great brands such as This Works. Their own brand has tons of different scents, and each scent has it’s own line of products such as lotions, hand creams, soaps, cleansers etc. My favourite of these is the Frozen Verbena. It is a gorgeous and fresh citrus smell with a hint of mint. Moroccan Tea is also another favourite of mine, but it makes me thirsty. The store has a huge sink with each of the body scrubs of all the different scents open next to it ready to try. You rub some on the back of your hand, wash it off in the sink using one of the posh soaps, then moisturise with their selection of lotions ready to try and you will leave with brand new hands. This makes your skin so soft, you have to try it to believe it. 

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A little goes a long way so one tub will last you a while, and when it’s finished just return the packaging to the shop and get 10% off your next beauty purchase. And go now, because they are giving away free Easter gifts with every purchase! This is not just a great exfoliating product, it also moisturises and leaves your skin smelling amazing till you next get in the shower. So for £7 it’s a no-brainer. 

Gel Liner Pictorial

Gel liner, as many of you will know, is pretty tricky to accomplish. You may have finally grasped kohl and liquid, but gel is some next level stress. So here is a simple pictorial which should help:

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Start with a primed eye. If you are planning on wearing eyeshadow do this before you apply your eyeliner.

Take an eyeliner brush, I use a Mac 210, load it up with a good gel liner. I use Mac’s Fluidline in Blacktrack. Hold the brush as low down as possible, this will help you control the brush better. Start by drawing the straight line across your lid, with the brush held sideways against the lid (as shown in the picture).

Step 2: Next draw a line starting in line with your lower lashes and pull the brush up towards the end of your eyebrow. You may use the point of the brush for this bit, as the point is good for precision.

Step 3: Draw another line starting where your last line finished, pull the brush back down towards the lid. You should now have a little triangle.

Step 4: Fill in this triangle

Step 5: Go over any errors and fill them in. This may make your line thicker than intended, therefore always start with a thin line so there is room to expand.

Step 6: Line your lower waterline with a white kohl pencil.

Step 7: Apply mascara, finish the rest of your face, and go!

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I love this look. It’s very Lil Debbie

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How to make your own lipstick out of CRAYONS

That’s right. Legit Crayola Crayons. And it’s really easy too!

I was browsing the youtubes (definitely not singing Let It Go on karaoke) when I came across a load of DIY makeup videos. The Crayola lipstick one caught my attention in particular because I have loads of Crayolas lying around from when my niece comes over so I thought I’d try it for you guys and see how well it works.

You will need: Crayolas, coconut oil, containers

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Method: Fill a pan with a cm or 2 of boiling water from the kettle, place on a low-medium heat. Chop up your chosen crayon into inch long pieces. For a sheer look add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per inch of crayon, for a more opaque look use 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil. Place the crayon and coconut oil in a heat proof bowl and place in the pan. This way the crayon melts slowly and won’t burn.

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Once melted, pour the mixture into a container:

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Repeat with whichever colours you want, or you can mix colours together.

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Once the mixture sets, you are ready to use it as a lipstick! Because Crayola are made for young children, this mixture is safe to wear on your lips because it is non toxic as toddlers have been known to eat crayons. Kids, eh.

This is what they look like:

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Unfortunately they don’t make the best lipsticks, as you can see. But it’s free and a great way to experiment with colours, or doing a look you would never usually do and you don’t want to splash out on black lipstick you are never going to wear again. The coconut oil makes them soft on the lips so at least so won’t dry your lips out.

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And it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. Have fun!

No Girls Allowed: Men’s Skincare 101

This post is just for the boys. Since Joe Biden revealed the secret to his gorgeous skin (Clinique for Men) it’s got me thinking about whether this is a subject boys would appreciate some direction in. Biden claimed he just uses what his wife tells him to, but I think you guys are capable of making your own decisions on your skincare, there just aren’t many beauty blogs that focus on men so it is hard to know where to start. 

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Joe Biden revealed to Rachael Ray the secret to his glowing skin is Clinique. As if I could love him any more. Clinique is an absolute classic in skin care for men and women. Clinique have a line designed especially for men, the standard moisturiser costs £23. This is just a simple moisturiser with SPF so if you find all the specific treatments a bit intimidating, this is a great place to start. 

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If you are already comfortable with moisturisers and want to target more specific problems, Clinique for Men also has creams for dark spot correcting, blemishes, fatigue and anti-ageing. 

If you want a product that will impress whoever is going through your medicine cabinet, Tom Ford has a men’s skincare range. It is pricey but if I saw them in a boy’s bathroom I would be very impressed/jealous. Their daily moisturiser is £75 (eek!) so this is really top end of the budget. They also do a concealer for £32 and is designed especially for men to help cover up blemishes, redness or razor cuts. 

You don’t need to spend a lot, however, for a good basic moisturiser. Nivea for Men have a re-hydrating moisturiser for £6.95 which, as the name implies, is good for dehydrated skin as well as dry skin. Dehydrated is an often overlooked skin care issue. Nivea also have a wide range of products to ease shaving and to cool the skin afterwards. Another cheap but effective moisturiser is Vaseline Men Extra Strength Body and Face Lotion (£3.73) (As seen in Esquire). Apply this at night to make the morning shave more comfortable and less irritating. 

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Another popular brand among men’s skincare is Kiehls. Their Facial Fuel range is incredibly popular and their “caffeine and vitamin non oily formula” claims to “energize the skin and control shine” so this is one for those of you who have trouble getting to bed on time (Facial Fuel Energizing Moisturiser £21). This range also includes cleansers, exfoliating scrubs and eye creams. All of which are products which everyone should be using, regardless of gender. 

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I hope this helped some boys out there decide which direction to go in when entering the confusing world of skin care. For those who are already experienced in this area, I know this post is very basic but it is mainly aimed at those who are completely new to skin care. Any requests or questions, feel free to comment.