See in the new year with some Bling Brows!

The latest trend from Benefit are their ‘Bling Brows’. A set of Swarovski stones and all the kit needed to apply them yourself.

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You can decorate your brows any way you want with a choice of coloured stones. You can buy the kit ($25) or get the experts to do apply them in the store for $5.

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This look is like extreme highlighter. The ultimate way to get that perfect brow bone shimmer. And great for the party season if you want a look that turns heads. Or just where them in the day, out and about, because why not. You’re fabulous.

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How knowing the Parent Company of a brand can save you money

Parent companies are the companies at the top of the brand food chain. Most of the beauty brands we know and love have a parent company. The brand ‘family’ are all the brands owned by one particular company. These are important to know because most of these parent companies own both high end and budget beauty brands. But the parent company has the same research facilities and products available to the whole brand family. For example the same company that owns Giorgio Armani Beauty, also owns Maybelline. This means that Maybelline have the same resources available to them as the much more expensive Giorgio Armani. So despite the major difference in price, these brands are essentially of the same quality. Below is a list of parent companies and their brand families.

Estee Lauder: Estee Lauder, Aramis, American Beauty, Aveda, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, Darphin, Prescriptives, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Jo Malone, Origins, Ojon, Flirt, GoodSkin Labs, Creme de la Mer, Tom Ford, Smashbox

L’Oreal: L’Oreal Paris, L’Oreal Professional, Maybelline New York, Lancome, Helena Rubinstein, Vichy, Biotherm, La Roche Posay, Redken, Skinceuticals, Garnier, Keratase, Matrix, Pureology, Mizani, Essie, Kiehl’s, Shu Uemura, Giorgio Armani, Roger & Gallet, Ralph Lauren, Cacharel, Diesel, Viktor & Rolf, YSL Beaute, Maison Martin Margiela, Stella McCartney, YUE SAI, Sanoflore, The Body Shop

Proctor & Gamble: Cover Girl, Max Factor, Olay, Clairol, Nice ‘n Easy, Ivory, Noxzema, Pantene, SK-II, Dolce & Gabbana Cosmetics and Fragrances, Hugo Boss Fragrances, Sebastian Professional, Fekkai, Wella, Vidal Sassoon, Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Old Spice

Johnson & Johnson: Neutrogena, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, RoC and Lubriderm.

Coty, Inc: Rimmel London, Cutex, Sally Hansen, OPI, Adidas, Playboy, Guess Parfums, Roberto Cavalli, Bottega Veneta, Vera Wang, Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Vivienne Westwood, Chloe, Joop!, Davidoff, Chopard, Calvin Klein, ck one color cosmetics, Cerruti, philosophy skin care, most celebrity fragrances (Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Kate Moss, Halle Berry, Heidi Klum, Lady Gaga, David & Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kylie Minogue)

LVMH: Fresh, Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy, Kenzo, Benefit Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Acqua di Parma, Nude

Revlon: Revlon, Almay, Natural Wonder, Charlie fragrances, Mitchum, Ultima II, Gatineau

Unilever: Dove, Impulse, Pears, Lux, Lynx, Pears, Rexona, SunSilk, Vaseline

(source: beautyholicsanonymous.com by Tine)

So, if you’re strapped for cash, give one of the cheaper brand siblings a try. It all comes from the same parent!

NARS Roman Holiday Review

You may remember a few weeks back I posted an article about great Christmas present ideas, in which I mentioned the NARS Roman Holiday collection. Well, my parents bought me it for my birthday! I was so excited, I wore everything in there.

First up, the Nails:

photo (3)Roman Holiday Nail Varnish (featuring cat)

This comes out as a pinky/purpley/shimmery mauve.

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Its a subtle, sophisticated pink, perfect for evenings or just when you want to look fancy.

The Lipstick is a gorgeous barbie pink, without being too fluorescent, and the same goes for the blusher:

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The pictures aren’t great. The first one is a snapchat in a pub and in the second one I’m not wearing the lipstick, but they looked cute I promise. I received many a compliment.

I always think pink is a flattering colour on everyone, because its not too harsh and it softens the features. Therefore I recommend this set to everyone! When in Rome(an Holiday)..

20 Hair Straightener Hacks

As you know from my recent Hair Growth article, I don’t use heated products on my hair and don’t recommend them if you are trying to grow your hair. However, if you aren’t on a mission of hair growth, you can have a lot of fun with heat.

Here are 20 Hair Straightener Hacks to inspire you to get creative with your hair:

http://www.coolblades.co.uk/hub/hair-styling-hacks/

Remember, when using any heated appliance on your hair, always protect it first.

NARS Lip Pencil Review

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas or non denominational winter holiday. I received these from my brother:

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These are five great colours consisting of 3 Satin looks and 2 matte looks.

First up is this festive dark red, Cruella (matte)

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Going lighter and a bit more orange toned, Iberico (matte)

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Then theres a classic winter Future, Yu

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And two nudes, Descanso

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and Torres Del Paine

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These pencils are great for accuracy. They wear like a lipstick but with the accuracy of a liner and no where near as drying. The satin finish gives a bit of a sheen, whilst still being highly pigmented. They are by no means sheer. And the mattes also manage the nearly impossible feat of looking matte without drying your lips. They’re comfy enough to wear all day and they are food proof, meaning the colour withstands a good meal.

I love these pencils and highly recommend them to anyone who wants a lipstick and liner in one.

Our Perception of Beauty

Society’s perception on what beauty consists of is constantly changing. You only need to look at paintings of great beauties from 100 years ago to see this.

Nathaniel_Hone,_Catherine_Maria_''Kitty''_FisherFamed Prostitute of the 18th Century: Kitty Fisher

A beauty of the 12th to 18th centuries was fair, plump, small mouthed and double chinned. Pale and prone to blushing was the preferred skin tone. To emphasise the point, this is Edward IV, who was considered the most good looking man in world (in the 1400s)

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His wife Elizabeth Woodville was also considered a great beauty, and she looks a lot more like what would be considered beautiful by todays standards.

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Still, her daughter Elizabeth of York was also meant to be beautiful and thats a bit more of a headscratcher:

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Olive skinned, full lipped, raven haired beauties would be considered sallow and too ‘wide mouthed’, just like Anne Boleyn was.

Today there isn’t just one perception of beauty, because everyone has different tastes in what they find attractive. As a society I feel we are far more open and accepting to different kinds of beauty. I guess this change occured in the sixties and seventies, where people generally started to open their minds. There was a brief dip in then noughties in diversity, and one kind of look prevailed: the long straight blonde hair with perfectly tanned skin and light eyes. This was made popular by the likes of Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie and The Simple Life.

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The kind of models seen in magazines like Playboy were all of this mold. The Playboy Bunnies are a good reflection of our perceptions of beauty. In the sixties and seventies through to the late nineties, they were diverse in their looks. Then the noughties happened, but if you look at them now they are as diverse as they’ve ever been. The Blonde and Tanned template doesn’t exist anymore.

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Another reflection of this is the Paris Hilton vs Kim Kardashian trend. In the noughties, Kim was Paris’ assistant and Paris was seen as the beautiful one. However Kim overtook Paris in popularity and now is generally seen as one of the most attractive women in the world. Regardless of your personal opinion of her, she is undeniably beautiful. Paris’ look is now dated, old fashioned and even cheap. An ‘exotic’ look is definitely a benefit these days.

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So what is attractive today?

It seems that big eyes have always been an attractive feature, and full lips are also very desirable now, although they haven’t always been. But one feature that has never been allowed to be big is the nose. Unfortunately for me, I have a big nose, yet I have always liked big noses on people. I personally don’t find that nose size affects attractiveness. Some of the most beautiful women, in my opinion, have larger than average noses. Yet, mostly thanks to Hollywood, a small straight nose is portrayed as the most desirable. Many famous actresses were told to get nose jobs when they started out, however its the ones that refused who became the most successful.

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And actress Jennifer Grey ruined her career by getting a nose job. So when will noses of the more creative shape and size become acceptable in beauty? I hope it is soon, because I love my nose and I am so glad bullies didn’t push me to getting a nose job when I was younger.

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Anyway, beauty is an objective thing. Society may influence who we find beautiful, but at the end of the day, and I know this is going to sound cliche and saccharine, but everyone has their own beauty. And what even is beauty? Is it just what other people find attractive? That can’t be it because I don’t think we exist just to attract a mate. It has to be something more abstract. It isn’t tangible. As much as some people like to think they can just go to a doctor and pay them to give them beauty, that isn’t how it works. And if one things for certain, its that society will change its mind about whats beautiful many times within our lifetime. So my point is, don’t worry about what society tells you to look like. Look like you. You’re beautiful.

Sudocrem – Not just for nappie rash anymore

Sudocrem as a beauty product may not be your first thought about this household staple, but they have just released a skin care cream (£2.11) that might just change your mind.

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Sudocrem has long been used for its healing properties. When I was a youth I used to use the antiseptic cream on my spots and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone there. Now they have released their Skin Care Cream specifically for spot and acne prone skin. I’m so excited about this product, because it is so rare to find an over the counter blemish clearing product that actually works. Let alone for such a good price.

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I applied it at night after washing my face, rubbing it into my skin (it can be left on as a face mask, which is what Towie star Lauren Pope does). I wasn’t expecting to see results for a few days but the next morning I could definitely notice a difference. I have oily, spot prone skin and even when my skin is clear, I can always feel bumps under the surface waiting to become spots. After using this those bumps went down, and after just two uses they were almost completely gone. My redness was also reduced. In general, my skin was much calmer.

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It is very thick in consistency so a little goes a long way. Especially if you are rubbing it into the skin. Or you can use a bit more and leave it to soak into the skin over night. (see picture above)

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I definitely recommend this product, even if you don’t have spot prone skin. Some people use it just for a glow. Lara Stone says she uses it on planes to refresh her skin before landing. And at £2, its a no brainer really.

Bright Brows

During my fashion week beauty round ups, I briefly mentioned one of the neon brow looks and how to recreate it. But I didn’t go into detail. I keep seeing this look everywhere so I thought I would try it for myself in a variety of different ways that don’t involve any pre bleaching.

For the first method, I just used a lip liner pencil (Mac’s Embrace Me) without any base on the brows:

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Obviously I need to get my eyebrows done so ignore the shape, but without any base I thought this worked well. Because its a pencil it was easy to control, however you can still see my hair colour underneath.

The next method I used was applying a base of white pencil, and then going over the brows with a matte eyeshadow:

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In terms of covering up my natural brow colour, this worked well. You just need to make sure the eyeshadow you use is pigmented enough to create a more opaque look.

The third method I used was lipstick applied with an eyebrow brush:

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This probably worked the least well because despite using a matte lipstick, it still created a very sheer look. When colouring your eyebrows, sheer is the last thing you want.

Finally I used my new Velvetines dupe lip colour, applied with its own wand, and gone over with a Mac lip liner in Currant:

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This method was the best for covering my natural eyebrows, but mainly because I used a dark colour. Because the lacquer applies wet and dries matte, it was really good at creating a matte opaque look that lasts all day. It lasts so well in fact that it was hard to take off.

Regardless, this is a fun, albeit bold, look and its a creative take on the eyebrow obsession of the nation.

Cute Short Hairstyles

If you were reading my previous post about hair growth and thinking “what if we don’t want to grow our hair? Short hair is cute too!” then you are absolutely right. In fact short hair is incredibly in fashion right now with lots of celebs opting for shorter looks. Here are some of my favourite short hairstyles:

The Long Bob

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This is the look of the moment. The grown-out bob. Its easy to achieve, low maintenance, and it looks great. If you are just experimenting with going short, this would be a great way to transition.

The Classic Bob

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This is your standard bob. A classic for a reason, this hairstyle is versatile and youthful. Slightly more work to style than the long bob, though.

The Pixie Crop

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J Law and Kaley Cuoco both went full pixie earlier this year and it WORKED! I love Penny’s new hair and think it suits her personality much more. Its edgy and untraditional, just like these two. It is a lot of maintenance to style, and it usually only works with delicate elfin features (that definitely rules me out) but if you can carry it off, its worth it.

Over the winter you may be wanting to keep as much of your hair as possible, for warmth, but these are great ‘do’s’ to try when it starts to get warmer. Flowing locks aren’t your only option.

5 Tips for Hair Growth

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Growing your hair out after a bad hair cut, or just because you’ve decided you want long hair, can be a long, slow, disheartening process. It is easy to be fooled by the products that promise ‘faster hair growth’ but unfortunately they just don’t work. Nothing can actually increase the speed at which your hair grows, but what you can do is stop the ends from breaking which makes your hair look longer in a shorter time.

Usually when we think our hair just isn’t growing, it actually is growing, but the ends are breaking off at the same place. To see real hair growth, we need to protect our ends and make our hair HEALTHIER. Once your hair is healthier, it can grow to much longer lengths without breaking.

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Hair does have a terminal length however. Hair growth supplements and products will try and say terminal length isn’t a thing, but it is. Our hair grows in cycles, and after its growth cycle ends, the hair shaft falls out of the scalp. Everyones terminal length is different but if your hair is stuck at shoulder length, it is unlikely that is has reached terminal length. Its much more likely that the hair is growing but keeps breaking off.

So here are 5 tips that helped me grow my hair when it had been stuck at shoulder length for years.

1. Ditch the heat!

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If you are serious about growing your hair, you may need to make this sacrifice. Don’t blow-dry, straighten or curl it. If you are a regular blow drier your hair may look worse before it gets better. For about 2 weeks after I stopped using heat my hair was a frizzy mess, it was so hard not to just give up and style it. But I pushed through the pain barrier and I was thankful for it. Heat protecting products just aren’t enough. Of course it’s possible to use heat safely and grow your hair, but if your hair is really damaged you might have to choose between heat or growth.

2. Say no to bleach

The same goes for lightening your hair. My hair started to give up when I started going blonde. I am naturally brunette and the components of the blonde hair dye was terrible for my hair. I had highlights so I only had to go back every 6 weeks, but if you are dying your hair blonde in block colour, you may be having to re-dye every 2 weeks, reinforcing the damage. I loved being blonde, but I love long hair even more so I chose growth and let the blonde grow out. Luckily the ombre look is in fashion, and people think my grown out roots are part of an expensive hairstyle. When my hair is all healthy again, I might go back to dye but I will stay away from hairdressers that use bleach. It made my hair so brittle I could literally snap off the ends. And yes, I do mean ‘literally’.

3. Oil it up!

I never really used any oils in my hair before I started trying to grow it, as I naturally have very oily hair. But the oil our hair makes doesn’t reach the ends. To keep the ends supple, it is important to use some kind of Argon Oil on the ends. I love Lee Stafford’s Nourishing Miracle Oil (£11.99)

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One bottle lasts ages, as you only need a tiny bit. I use 1 pump on my ends after I wash my hair. Once I started using this my hair really started getting its act together.

4. Treat yo’self

Once a week, do a proper hair conditioning treatment. Not just a 5 minute conditioner, a proper treatment that you apply to damp hair and leave on for up to 25 minutes. I used Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer (£15-27.50)

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Yes, it’s hella expensive, but it made a big difference to my hair.

5. To trim or not to trim?

I personally stopped getting my hair trimmed when I grew my hair. I was getting it trimmed every six weeks and not only did it not grow, it got shorter and shorter. Trimming only helps hair look longer because it removes the damage that would have broken off, but to remove all the damage on my hair, I would have had to have shaved it. And that would probably have taken a bit longer to grow out than shoulder length damaged hair. So save your money and just let it grow, and try to prevent any more damage.

Bonus tip: BE PATIENT!

Your hair will start to grow when you stop thinking about it. For me, I just looked in the mirror one day and my hair had actually grown. I had been busy thinking about other things for weeks so it seemed like it just happened over night. Of course, that wasn’t the case. But if you obsess over it, it will seem to take forever. Follow these tips and then just put it out of your head. It is a long process and you might decide it is not worth the effort. But if you want to persevere, there really is no secret. Just time and care. Good luck!