Back to school/Off to uni

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A new school year, or a brand new university, is the perfect opportunity for a beauty makeover. My school was incredibly strict and we weren’t allowed to wear makeup, dye our hair, or even fake tan. We also had to keep our hair tied back. The rules relaxed a little in 6th form, but my first chance for a real beauty makeover was university. So whether you are just being released from the tight grip of school rules, or you go to a school where you are allowed to express yourself through your appearance, here are some great tips for becoming the new You 2.0. 

Tan

Not everyone looks best with a tan, there are some lucky people who really pull off the alabaster skin look. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. When my tan fades I just look like a jaundiced Lord Voldemort. So having a tan is a great confidence booster for me and a great way to start the school or uni year looking healthy and glowing, like you spent the summer on a yacht instead of watching hundreds of hours of netflix (which is what I actually did). 

If you are not a fan of actual tanning, why not fake it with something that comes pretty close to the real thing. 

My favourite fake tan is Xen-Tan 

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This Dark Lotion Absolute Luxe is currently £25.24 in the feelunique.com sale and it is the one I use. It’s the darkest they do, but they also have a medium and fair range to suit all skin types. What I love about this tan is it has olive undertones, instead of orange. Like, for real, it comes out green. You apply the guide colour onto freshly exfoliated skin and leave it overnight. Wash off in the morning and you are left with the perfect tan.

If this isn’t dark enough, you can top it up with something cheaper, like St Moritz (£4.49 on feelunique.com)

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Yes, it’s very cheap so it doesn’t have great lasting power, it’s more of a wash off tan. But it goes on super dark and I used to apply this just minutes before going out, on top of my original tan. Even though it is cheap it is not orange. It comes out as a mahogany brown foam, and it stays mahogany brown on your skin.

TIP: to make your tan last longer, moisturise. Do not moisturise before applying your tan or it won’t absorb as well, but moisturising is crucial for retaining a tan, real or fake. 

Hair

Heat stimulates hair growth, which is why your hair grows more over summer. The sun also can lighten your hair. I am naturally brunette, but I died my hair blonde for uni, and kept it up until about a year ago. I loved being blonde but it killed my hair. But a few highlights are always flattering. Dark hair doesn’t suit me, and when I first started highlighting my hair I got so many more compliments. So why not try some honey or caramel toned highlights?

For light hair:

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For dark hair:

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Nails

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I would never have been allowed any kind of nails when I was at school. Neither was I allowed when I was nursing. It was so liberating when I stopped nursing just to be able to have the longest, most ratchet nails possible. I love a stiletto nail, a squareletto nail or even a simple square. So if your school allows nails, or if you are headed to the freedom of uni, why not treat yourself to a manicure before you go. You could stick with your natural nails with a cute gel polish, alla Kardashian

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Or go more gangsta with it, like Lil Debbie

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or Kylie Jenner:

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Whatever you choose, you will feel pretty much ready for anything with your new look. Good luck in the new school/uni year!

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Look of the Month: Tennis Girlfriends

I don’t like to bunch these group of girls together with the term ‘TWAGS’ (Tennis wives and girlfriends) because they are individuals and shouldn’t just be known as so-and-so’s girlfriend. That being said…they are all absolutely gorgeous and have the natural, low maintenance but expensive, fresh off the yacht look. So for someone who doesn’t like to wear too much makeup in the summer, it’s a great look.

First up, Kim Sears.

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This Hair idol is a very talented artist with a degree in English Literature, who also happens to be the girlfriend of reigning Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray. Her beautiful light honey brunette locks have inspired a nation, however unfortunately for most of us, it’s probably just lucky genetics but a mortal could always just try a good professional blow dry, using a setting spray. Being the go to reaction shot during any Andy Murray match, there is a lot of pressure on her to represent for her boy, and I think she does a fantastic job.

Jelena Ristic is the beautiful fiancée  of Tennis don, Novak Djokovic. She is a ‘digital marketing, branding and communications consultant’ (whatever than means), a sometime model, and director of the Novak Djokovic foundation. She is also pregnant, so congratulations! She is stunningly gorgeous:

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If you can’t afford  a holiday, get this look at home with some Sun-In and a bottle of Xen-Tan.  To recreate her glowing natural looking skin, try a moisturiser that enhances your glow (like this Garnier Dark Spot Corrector Illuminating Moisturiser) and a sweep of mascara to draw attention to your eyes. Her look is very minimal, which is perfect for summer, and as you can see she can definitely get away with it.

Another natural beauty fan, Maria Francisca Perello. She has a business degree and until recently didn’t come to watch her boyfriend, Rafa Nadal’s matches because she was concentrating on her career in Palma. However when she is seen, she is always naturally flawless.

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Whether she’s going for smooth or textured hair, it always looks healthy and shiny. To make the most out of your curly locks like Xisca, try this Curl Definition Cream from Kerastase. And to recreate her defined brows, who better but the Queen of Brows, Anastacia Beverley Hills Dipbrow Pomade, available to UK residents via cultbeauty.co.uk

These are my top 3, but if you watch you will notice that all the tennis girlfriends favour the less is more look, and it really works for them. It is the look I am going to be going for this summer.

Ditch the tights: Get your skin ready for Spring!

Spring time is upon us, and even though the weather is still fluctuating, there are some days (like today) where you feel like it’s just about acceptable to start baring your legs. But after a long British winter, our skin is left feeling dry, pale and dull. Hopefully this post will help prepare you, and your skin, for long sunny days to come and help you to look and feel your best.

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I am a self confessed goo hoarder. So I have tried to narrow this list down to just one of each different type of goo…there may be a couple of overlaps..

The first thing you will want to do to get your skin ready for show is moisturise it. If you are anything like me, you haven’t moisturised much over the whole winter period because who is going to see your skin in winter? This is where the overlap occurs because there are three different moisturises pictured above if you exclude the coconut oil and aloe vera. Which can also be used. But they all have their different times and places. First of all, the Bathina Body Oil by Benefit (£26.50). This came out at the end of last summer so I haven’t had many opportunities to use it, but when I am having a pamper evening, I’ll apply this all over after a nice long bath just to feel soft and smell nice, winter be damned. You spray it directly onto the skin so you don’t have to get your hands oily if you just want to spray it on your legs and chest before you leave the house.

The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Body Oil is, yes, another oil but it is much cheaper (£4-ish). I love cocoa butter so much, it is a classic and it smells like chocolate so why would anyone not love it? I use this oil in tanning. Moisture is essential in maintaining a tan – natural or fake. So in the summer I apply this every morning and evening to make my tan last longer.

Then there’s the Agent Provocateur L’Agent Silk Body Elixir (£30). This exact product is now discontinued which is a huge shame because it is an exact smell-a-like to Chanel No.5. And it leaves the skin unbelievably soft and silky. You can still get the Body Elixirs but with different perfumes. I use it very sparingly so I don’t run out. Basically only on special occasions, like those parties where even your skin needs to dress up.

So that’s moisturisers. Now for those of you who need a bit of help with your tan or who don’t like to damage your skin, Xen-Tan is my all time favourite fake tan. And believe me, when it comes to tanning I know my stuff. I was bleach blonde and caramel tanned from the ages of 18-20 and over that time I tried all the different fake tans, but this one is the best for your money. These days I sun bed (it is my only vice) so I don’t really use fake tan but I still keep a bottle for emergencies. I have a tanning mitt but because Xen-Tan goes on with a guide colour it is easy to wash it off your hands after application, just use a bar of soap and hot water. Once you wash the guide colour off it is streak free and because the undertones are green, it is olive toned, not orange.

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See how tanned! I miss those days 😦

For those of you who are sun worshipers like me, I love to use Aloe Vera gel as an after sun because it has an instant cooling effect and works really well on burns. Aloe Vera can also be used as a moisturiser AND as a hair treatment, but read my post about hair porosity because if you have low porosity hair, this will dry it out. Another sun essential is SPF for the face. I have to admit I don’t really use sun cream (which I don’t condone, unless you are a naturally dark skin type like I am and don’t burn) but I do apply factor 15 to my face on holidays and because recently I have been doing lots of acid peels on my skin, I have to use factor 30 even in England to protect the lower layers of skin that are now exposed. In general using an SPF on your face daily is a great way to protect your skin from ageing.

Finally, Coconut Oil. This has so many uses, it would need to do another post just to list them, but the one I recommend it for in this article is shaving. I know it sounds weird but it has to be tried to be believed. You can use coconut oil for shaving and because it leaves a residue on your legs, you don’t even have to moisturise afterwards. I would just advise rinsing the bath out thoroughly afterwards so it’s not slippy. Or keep it au naturel and don’t shave at all. Whatever you prefer, both are good.

And the most important rule to look amazing for spring…smile! The sun’s out! 🙂

Eyes White Shut

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So one stand out makeup trend from fashion week was white eyeshadow as seen at Ralph Lauren and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Models sported a fresh faced wide eyed look:

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My take on it is slightly different. I love using light shades when I have a tan because the white compliments it really well. Unfortunately I do not currently have a tan so in the picture at the beginning of this post the white does not stand out. However, for that photo I used Milk It! and Pause for Applause, both by benefit.

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(Milk It! all over the lid and then Pause for Applause just above the crease in the outer corner)

When used with a tan the eyes really stand out. 

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I usually pair the white eyeshadow with a bright lip as they also look great with a tan however because I am so pale right now I am almost see through, I just went for a standard nude (Dior La Grege)

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Voila!

I actually use white on a daily basis for my everyday makeup look in the form of Mac’s eye khol in Fascinating. I use this white pencil to highlight under my eyebrows and the water line of my lower lashes. It is a staple in my makeup kit however I haven’t done the white shadow thing in a while so it’s interesting to see it come back in January. I think this is something that will work better in the summer when we don’t all look paler than Lord Voldemort.