Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tips and Advice for growing long hair

Tips and Advice for 
Growing Long Hair

Whilst I have had limited success in growing my own hair out, in the pursuit of what I call 'mermaid hair' (hair that goes past the chest), I have picked up a few tips for making sure that hair grows at an optimum rate. Here is a small list of hair facts:

  • Average hair will grow half an inch per month (1.3cm)
  • Hair usual goes through a three month shedding cycle, mine is during the autumn
  • Hair has a terminal length, a point at which it won't grow any longer. This may be longer than you think if you are committing any regular hair 'sins'.
  • Products which claim to repair your hair are completely lying. Hair is dead, a split end cannot magically heal itself. These products may improve the texture of the hair which can prevent future splitting but it won't fix what is already done.
I have committed a great deal of hair sins: I used to cut my own hair, sometimes with nail scissors! I bleached and highlighted my hair for 9 years; often doing this at home. I straightened and blow dried at least every other day. I glued rows and rows of extensions into my hair, removing them by conditioning and yanking out...

I cut and dyed my own hair, used extensions and here I'd actually back combed the ends. How naughty...

For the past year I have been trying my hardest to get my hair into good condition and to achieve my dream of mermaid hair. I stopped dying my hair (thank god the ombre/dip-dye look is trendy right now!), I only use heat in emergency cases (blow drying on cool setting) and I get regular hair cuts. I never tie my hair with an elastic band or bobble; I use crocodile clips or hair sticks.

This is my hair currently (November 2012) - I had my hair cut last week.

Here are some tips in a nice organised list

1. Get a hair cut. Split ends, left to their own devices, will split further and further up the shaft. To stop them in their tracks, cut off as much of your damaged hair as you can. It gives you a fresh start. Contrary to popular belief, getting a hair cut will not 'make your hair grow faster', rather it will make your hair break off more slowly. I bought some professional hair dressing scissors and occasionally go over my ends and snip just about a split (in between visits to the salon)

2. French plait your hair at night. For those who toss and turn at night, your hair will be getting tangled and damaged as it is rubbed against your pillow or being snagged. Go one step further and invest in silk or satin pillows to really reduce snagging while you're sleeping

3. Be really careful with your wet hair - don't brush it or scrub at it with a towel. Washing your hair will loosen your pores on your head making your hair shed more easily (ever noticed how much you shed in the shower?!). Scrubbing and rubbing with a towel is a big sin; it will tear and damage your hair. I usually wrap my hair in a towel and gently squeeze, then wrap my hair up in a 'turbie-towel'.

4.  Avoid heat at all costs. Straightening, curling, blow drying, crimping (if anyone is reading this from the 90s), all of these weaken and damage hair significantly. Have you ever noticed those short sticky up bits around the front of your face? They aren't new baby hairs they are broken strands that have suffered the extra attention you give your bangs/fringe with the straighteners. 
Try to let your hair dry naturally and use a serum to make sure it dries less out of control. I usually prepare my hair by styling it at night (I rag roll my hair for a blow dried effect in the morning)

If you really really need to use heat on your hair. Make sure you invest in a good heat protectant and use it liberally!

5. Don't colour or dye your hair. Especially lightening it! Bleaching your hair strips it and makes it weak and prone to breaking. Any hair colour will expose your hair to chemicals which will not encourage it to grow long. 

7. Stop using hair bands/bobbles/elastic bands to tie up your hair. Have you ever noticed that 'kink' when you let your hair down from a pony tail? Have a close look... Can you see the broken hairs? When you tie your hair up, split the pony tail in two and pull tight, you're snapping the hair at the outer edges of the pony tail AND putting a lot of stress on your roots. It's a shame because I love the look of hair in a high pony tail or a doughnut bun... Any look that involves a pony tail anchoring your hair up is hurting your hair. 
I've started using crocodile clips/kirby grips (bobby pins) and hair sticks to secure my hair into a bun. The crocodile clips and hair sticks are even good enough to keep my hair up when I'm at the gym or running. It doesn't look as good but I can't wait  for my hair to grow out and get rid of those short broken ends that make my hair look like an intense Farrah Fawcett do all the way down..

9. Don't over brush - brushing your hair 100 strokes every day is a really strange concept since brushing will put pressure on your roots and encourage weak hair to break. The benefits of brushing are to distribute oils from your roots to nourish the ends (yack) and to de-tangle. Over brushing will give you zero benefits. Brushing as little as often with a wide tooth comb or boar bristle brush is the kindest thing to do for your delicate hair. 

10. Don't back comb - this tears at the shaft! 

11. Give yourself a head massage when you're washing your hair. Don't pile your hair up and scrub - this will only tangle. Just gently use your finger tips to work in circular motions over your scalp. This will increase blood flow and help to maximise growth. 

12. Water temperature: Using water that is too hot will not only open your follicles and increase shedding but this heat will damage your hair (doesn't it seem like everything damages your hair?!), use as cooler water as you can handle when washing. A great tip to decrease shedding and close your follicles after washing is to blast your hair with cold cold water. I lean back to make sure my whole body doesn't get the front of this - I like a good morning wake up but I don't want to catch hypothermia. or die...

11. Do eat a balanced diet. I've tried taking vitamins and supplements and even eating tofu but none of these made a real difference. However, the rate of your hair growth will definitely depend on being healthy on the inside. It's well known that people suffering with anorexia experience problems with hair growth (hair loss and excess body hair) so it goes without saying that keeping yourself well nourished from within will contribute to lovely healthy locks. 

14. Let your hair get dirty - as I mentioned before, washing your hair encourages shedding so washing your hair as infrequently as possible will therefore discourage shedding (duh), also, letting your hair get dirty and brushing the natural oils through your hair will actually encourage healthy growth as well as acting as an unattractive serum. I tend to wash my hair every other day (it's all I can manage, my hair is more oily than my face!), but the longer you can leave it the better! Dry shampoo is your friend. 

15. Use the right products. I'm not a scientist or a hair dresser so I am not an expert about this but I do know that silicone is bad for your hair. I do think that the more you pay on a shampoo, the better it is. However, that's not to say that drug store/high street shampoos are no good. Whilst I acknowledge that my hair felt so good and soft using Lee Stafford shampoo and conditioner, it doesn't exactly revert to looking like a bail of hay as soon as I start using Herbal Essences... Additionally, Moroccan Oil was without a doubt the greatest hair oil/serum I've ever used but it cost a fortune! My Aldi Miracle Oil was a whopping 85% cheaper but does a very similar job. 

16. Hair masks. Now and again I'll smother my hair in something intensely moisturising and leave it on for a few hours just to put some life back into it. It really softens it and makes it feel healthier which hopefully will help it split less these include:
Lee Stafford 'for hair that never grows past a certain length treatment' 
Avocado, Olive Oil, Egg yolks, Mayonnaise - moisturising
Beer, Egg white, Apple Cider Vinegar - clarifying

Hopefully this has been helpful, if a little long winded and boring! If anyone has any products they recommend for growing long hair or tips for keeping hair in good condition I'd love to know about it!!

Rag Roll Hair: Organic No Heat Styling Tutorial

How To: 
Rag Roll Hair
Organic No Heat Styling 

When I decided to really put some effort into growing my hair, I basically stopped using heat on my hair at all. I encountered some problems with this: my hair always looked messy... I couldn't wear my hair down because it looked so scruffy. Additionally, I was french plaiting my hair every night to keep the condition good and would end up with different sized kinks that looked pretty rubbish. 

The first time I came across the concept of rag rolling in the My Naughty Little Sister books and never forgot about this old fashioned way of styling hair. 

My tutorial for rag rolling isn't for tight ringlet curls, I just wanted loose waves and a controlled style: Therefore I use very thick rags and rather few of them. I've been doing this for such a long time I felt like I really should post a how to tutorial on how to rag roll curl your hair!

You will need:

  • Some old material (I cut up the legs of some old primark linen trousers)
  • Scissors
  • A brush

First cut your strips of rags. I cut mine to approximately 6cm wide and 25cm long (the longer the strips the easier it is to tie them at the end.

I always start with totally dry hair: I've experimented with wet hair and it's too unpredictable.... always too tightly curled, inconsistent, jaunty angles. 

Brush your hair through so that it's easy to section. 

I recommend starting from the top and working downwards: The top of your hair is the bit which is on show so making sure your top layers are split into equal sections is quite important. 

please excuse my bare face and attractive onsie pajamas!

Take a section of your hair: I take about 2 square inches (sorry for switching between metric and imperial, I'm so thoroughly English!)

I take a rag and pinch it between my two fingers (middle and pointer). I wind this around my two fingers from the end of my hair down to my scalp. I secure the end of my hair with my ring finger. I make sure to leave about an inch of the ends of my hair hanging out of the loop to make sure it hangs nicely in the morning. 

This next part is quite tricky: I secure the wound hair with one hand and tie the rag with my other (usually my left but which ever is easiest for you). There is no special easy method for this, rag rolling hair takes a lot of practice. Soon you will find that curling your hair this way is the easiest thing you've ever done!

Rag Rolled Hair

The pattern I tend to use is to start at the front (leave this if you have a fringe or bangs) and work backwards until I reach the crown. 

I then section the remaining amount of hair in two horizontally (two very large sections from one ear to the other).

I continue to work top down: splitting the top horizontal section into three and then two or three on the lower section depending on how much hair. I try my best to evenly section amounts of hair (I really hope that makes sense!)

Tip! If you can, place yourself in front of a mirror with another mirror behind you, angled so you can see what's going on at the back of your head. 

Rag Rolling Hair

Once all my hair is secured I go back over the rags pulling them tight. I also tend to pull some of the hair so that the loops created are as big as I want them - that comes with experimentation and personal preference. 

Then, I take myself to bed (in the pictured Christmas onsie!) and sleep on  it. It's not as uncomfortable as it looks!

*Warning* This look will NOT please your partner/boyfriend/husband (that goes for both the hair and the onsie)

When I wake up I usually get myself mostly ready to give my hair as much time as possible to become set. I often spritz over with a hairspray to give it optimum hold. 

I release the curls from the bottom up, gently winding them down. 

I give my hair another spritz of hairspray (I use Tresemme Freeze Hold - it's amazing!)

I then give my hair a bit of a jouje (that's wasn't a word before but it is now), separating some of the waves out and breaking up the sections. 

And this is the finished look - I do this about three times a week and it works really well as a style for the morning hurry. It saves me a shed load of time. 

Actual timings:
Night time rolling: 3-5 minutes
Morning unrolling: 1-2 minutes including the 'joujing' and spritzing. 

To keep the look more modern, I sometimes run some wax or putty through the ends and a little at the root to give it volume and keep the waves more separate. 

Would love to hear if anyone else has organic no heat styling tips!

Abi Girl x

Monday, 5 November 2012

Review Rimmel Lipstick Kate Moss Shade 107

Review Rimmel Lipstick
 Kate Moss Shade 107

I bought this on the recommendation of Zoella after seeing her wearing it in a youtube video. It was exactly the colour I'd been looking for, a sultry dark raspberry red.  

I don't wear red lipstick a great deal (my top lip is quite thin and I feel like wearing red lipstick draws attention to that...) but the reds I do have tend to be a little drying. This is sooo creamy, I'd go as far to say that it is moisturising. 

No Flash - very true to colour

I love the colour, it's so rich and classy looking. I've been wearing it far more than I've ever worn other red lipsticks. I feel like it's the perfect colour to wear in this autumnal season. The colour pay-off is amazing, very highly pigmented. 

The packaging is OK. I do have a complaint... the lipstick became detached from the shaft as soon as I got it home. I'm disappointed but more so that I threw away the bag with the receipt in. It means I can only use it with a brush to avoid a clown mouth scenario...

With Flash - it's much darker than this in real life!

It lasts for absolutely ages, however I have started wearing this with Lipcote which really prolongs the wear of this even more so (although does make it a little drying)

I very lightly daubed it onto my lips then blotted for a stain - just for the sake of versatility... 

For only £5.49 this is awesome value for money. If you're looking for a classy, vampish dark red lip that really doesn't look over the top I really highly recommend this!

Rimmel Kate Moss Lipstick Shade 107 - My Holy Grail Red Lipstick 

Clear Skin Anti Acne Skin Care Routine

My Current Skin Care Regimen: Clear Skin and Banishing Acne

Since treating my acne, I put together a really gentle skin care regime. I was initially prescribed the Cetaphil products but have continued to purchase ever since - it's the most gentle product and doesn't break me out in the slightest. 

I feel like I've really perfected my skin care regimen now and that it really helps keeping acne at bay and keeping my skin in good condition. 

1. Remove all makeup before cleansing. Tip! Soak a cotton pad with makeup remover (I use No.7 make up remover), gently press onto eye area and hold for 30 seconds. This allows the oil based remover to break down mascara and eyeliner (pm)

2. Massage Cetaphil Cleanser into dry skin (am and pm)

3. Use warm water to wash face and pat dry with a clean towel

4. Soak a cotton pad with Abi’s Home Made Toner. Toners are used to remove the cleanser residue and to prepare face for moisturising

5. I apply a pea size amount of Epiduo to my chin and wait for this to dry (pm ONLY!)

6. I apply Clinique All About Eyes eye cream by tapping gently under my eyes

7. Finally, use Cetaphil Moisturiser on face and neck. I mix this 50/50 with a different moisturiser: For morning I use Nivia Visage Day Cream with SPF 15 and for night I use No7 Essential Moisture Night Cream

If I have any break outs, I spot treat with tea tree oil. I exfoliate with No7 Microdermabration Exfoliator once a week

Hope you've found this helpful, I'd love to hear about your skin care regimes in case I fancy changing things up!

Review Chanel Lipstick Rouge Coco

Review Chanel Lipstick 
Rouge Coco 
20 Rose Cométe

I was looking for a lipstick with a pink-ish hue but of a nude persuasion. I think I swatched 20 lipsticks in Debenhams before finding this lipstick; Chanel Rouge Coco in shade 20 'cométe'.

It is a really creamy luxurious formula, not overly opaque but not sheer either. It is very hydrating and feels very comfortable on the lips.

The colour pay-off for comete is reasonable, I have to put two or three coats on to achieve an opaque pink sheen. There is a definite shimmer which shows up as more of a sheen than glitter. The colour is quite a cool pink, almost lilacy. 

The Chanel packaging is beautiful as always, the bullet feels and looks expensive and classy. I love that they impring 'Chanel' into the shaft of the lipstick. 

This  lasts for quite a while so in terms of re-applying through the day, it is probably required every four hours (what an incredibly subjective estimation, obviously this depends on how frequently you're drinking, eating and kissing!). This may not be what you'd want as there's something really cool about whipping out a Chanel lipstick for an application in a little flip mirror! 

They cost £24 in Debenhams, although I waited for the 10% beauty sale before purchasing (I'm thrifty like that). I probably won't repurchase as I'm not all that in love with the colour but I do rate the formulation highly for being so creamy and hydrating. 

This is not a paid post, all my opinions are my own
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