Sunday, 6 January 2013

Review: Lee Stafford Hair Mask For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length Serum

Review: Lee Stafford 
Hair Mask 
For Hair That Never Grows Past A Certain Length Treatment

"If the earth's not nourished, you'll never grow beautiful flowers"

Don't you just love everything from Lee Stafford?! The colour scheme and the smell really appeal to my girlish side. I've been using his line sporadically for... gosh nearly ten years (I feel old!) when I used my friend's Lee Stafford Heat Protection Spray and immediately had to go buy myself a bottle. 

I am always on a mission to grow my hair to what I call 'mermaid length'; I want to have my hair grow long enough to cover my chest. However, with eight years of bleaching, straightening, curling, back combing and giving myself bad hair cuts (the BIGGEST hair sins!) I knew that was an unrealistic goal. For the last year I've been trying to do everything right. I stopped bleaching, I only use heat on really special occasions (once a month tops) and I get professional trims every 7-8 weeks. I'm telling you this because I feel like all of the good things I've been doing to my hair have to be accounted for when I tell you that my hair HAS been growing longer than before, a fact that cannot be attributed to any one thing, including the Lee Stafford Hair Mask Treatment in this review. 

What it claims it does:
  • Vital hair and scalp complex helps to reduce hair loss
  • Improves follicle health which in turn increases ability of the hair to anchor to the scalp
  • Soothing formulation reduces irritation and moisturises the scalp
  • Addresses hair and scalp ageing at a cellular level
  • Improvement in tensile strength to give body and texture by penetrating the hair reaching the inner cortex
  • Improves volume and feel of the hair


The directions state that this treatment should be used in between shampooing and conditioning, massaging into the hair from the roots to the ends, leaving for 5 minutes. 
I really can't understand using this product in the recommended order... Using it on the roots after shampooing means that no matter how long I spend washing the product out of my hair, the residue causes my hair to be far too soft at the roots meaning it gets greasy after a day and hangs really limp. It definitely doesn't improve the 'volume' of my hair as claimed!

Stafford states that you should use an egg sized amount every wash 'until hair improves' then once a week to maintain the improvement. Now, this tub contains 200ml. Assuming that Lee isn't referring to quails eggs, this contains about three egg sized amounts. For hair my length (it comes down to an inch below my armpits), I really do need a medium/large egg amount of product to cover my scalp to the ends of my hair. If I was to use this every wash, I'd have to buy a new tub every week! 

What it actually does

The Good
  • It leaves my hair feelings SO soft and silky. It definitely improves the feel of my hair, and smoother hair means its less likely to split
  • As with all Lee Stafford products, it smells amazing. Even using a different conditioner after this treatment, my hair reeks of this when it's dry

The Bad
  • I always experience a certain amount of shedding in the shower (is there a bleaker, grimmer chore than fishing out the matted disgusting hair from the plug hole...?!), but whenever I use this I experience a noticeably HIGHER volume of hair loss. I feel like applying a conditioner directly to my scalp (as directed) is lubricating the follicle to facilitate easier hair loss!
I love the pink, but I HATE anything in a tub for the shower. I simply don't have enough hands for this to work. I have to unscrew the lid with one hand, scooping the product out with the other, then quickly, one handedly screw the lid back on trying not to drop the product or get any water into the tub. Did all the hair product retailers have a meeting and conspire to package ALL hair masks in these inconvenient tubs, in order to encourage clumsy showering ladies like me to drop the product and have to repurchase more often? Mr Loreal says "what's wrong with squirty bottles? They work for everything else in the shower...". "You FOOL Loreal, don't you know that makes it considerably easier for application! MWAHAHAHAHA" laughs Lee Stafford. 

Very viscous and thick, it feels luxurious.

£7.99 from Boots isn't too expensive compared to other hair masks, although since you need to use such a HUGE amount for each application, it makes it at least £2 per use! Maybe for ladies with shorter hair, or if it was only used on the ends it might be worth the price?

Over all thoughts:
Whilst my hair is growing longer than before, it's not growing any faster than the average inch every two months. It's one of the nicest hair masks I've used in terms of scent, consistency and resulting silkiness of the hair, although with the imminent post-use lanky greasiness and the ridiculous amount one must use, I don't think it's cost effective. I won't repurchase, although I'm still a big fan of the Lee Stafford range. 

What's your favourite Lee Stafford Product? 

*Disclaimer* I purchased this product myself. I do not do sponsored posts. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick Asia (As a Cream Blusher Contour)

Review Rimmel Lipstick Asia 
(As a Cream Blusher Contour)

Rimmel's Lasting Finish Lipstick in Asia is a very popular mauve toned nude colour; I've often found it totally out of stock in Boots and Superdrug. Two of my aunties hold this Rimmel lipstick as their Holy Grail lip colour, which isn't surprising. Asia's muted plum colour is universally flattering, deepening the natural lip colour. The formula is super creamy, being hydrating to the lips but staying on for at least four hours. 

Whilst this is hailed as an amazing lip stick, I use it as something quite different. I've tried many cream blushers and often find them lacking, they tend to dry out quickly, the finish can be chalky,  No7 cream blushes in particular annoy me with their flimsy plastic pan packaging. I've been using this for two years as my number 1 cream blusher. 

I reach for this when I'm going for a natural, no make up look. Since powdered skin looks very 'done', this gives strong, natural colour without losing the youthful dewy skin appearance. I usually pair this with a lightweight foundation (Garnier BB cream or Bourjouis Healthy Mix Serum) and a cream highlighter (ELF). 

I slick it on just under my cheekbones, dragging it half way across my cheek, blend it in (sometimes giving it two coats), and I'm done. 

Rimmel's Asia gives me such a natural colour, it produces such a realistic looking flush. The formula is creamy so it blends really smoothly, but doesn't appear shiny on the skin. Since the rubbing of your skin will cause a slightly reddened affect I'd recommend waiting a few seconds to check the final colour, so that more can be applied if necessary. 

The packaging is sturdy and chic, the metallic ring around the middle is a hint of high end. I keep one of these in my vanity table and one in my hand bag; it's perfect for a little pick me up half way through the day for both the lips and the cheeks. It's £4.99 at Boots so won't break the bank either.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Going without make up. Bare faced Freedom.

GoingWithout Makeup:
 Bare-faced Freedom

Considering I own such a lot of make up and talk so passionately about the subject, people are always surprised at how infrequently I wear it. There is something ever so liberating about going bare faced, and here's why.

As a teenager I definitely felt self conscious and wore make up to improve the way I look but I'd say that it was as much of a social norm habit. It wouldn't occur to me NOT to wear make up. And I wore a lot of it. I was your quintessential bleach blonde extensions, orange bodied, too much bronzer teenager. 

When I was 19 I met an Australian guy and decided to move to Perth with him. I would straighten my hair every day, wear my extensions and go around wearing my normal face of make up (foundation, concealer, bronzer, blusher, eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss). However, I started to notice that none of my new female friends did the same. Don't get me wrong, they were highly glamorous, the girls in Perth had an effortless beauty; beach chic in every sense of the word. Day to day, they wore little to no make up.

Initially I would feel panicked if we went to the beach bare faced, but gradually moved to the pub as the day went on.. I'd find myself in a bar wearing flip flops and a beach dress with tangled sea salt hair and not a scrap of make up. It went against everything I knew.

A year later and I was wandering around the grocery store wearing a Bintang grubby men's vest, board shorts, no shoes on my feet and absolutely no make up. And I felt more confident, attractive and desirable than ever before. I'd go on a night out wearing tennis pumps and no make up. I felt free. I felt like I had tapped into this secret and being beautiful wasn't about how much effort you put in, it was feeling confident in my own skin. I can't lie, the tan helped a lot!

I used to read these interview with overtly sexy female celebrities, all claiming that they felt most attractive when in their joggers, lounging around the house without make up. I scoffed "bah! you can't fool me, vain beautiful liar". Until I experienced this 'enlightenment'. 

I came home to England and my friends didn't get it. I actually started to feel that make up was a big deception. That by wearing it, I was lying to the world about how I really look. One of my friends told me I was being rude by going out without make up! 

Then I got acne....

I no longer felt this smug confidence about my bare face. I felt ugly. I didn't just 'feel ugly'. I had an absolute conviction that I WAS ugly. Acne is a fail safe way of making anyone feel really low and insecure. 

No longer was I not wearing make up because I felt satisfied with my naturality, I became afraid of wearing make up. I didn't want to do anything to my skin that might make it worse. Even though I probably needed it (the acne was quite 'in your face' and the treatments only enhanced the redness), I shunned any make up. Even eye make up was a no no.. I didn't want people to wonder why, if I was wearing some make up, was I not covering my offensive face. 

I did try wearing make up for a night out... But the treatments made my skin so dry that foundation would cake and crumble, flaking right off my face. It actually just made me look worse. There are so many online tutorials for heavy duty spot coverage, but I couldn't master it without the flakes. I would give up, scrub it off, cry my eyes out and cancel on my friends. 

Having acne and not wearing make up wasn't 'difficult' because I felt like I didn't have the option to wear it anyway. I did feel like it affected how people perceived me, but in retrospect, I think it was a change in my own attitude which caused that.

My skin has been clear for about a year now and my relationship with make up has changed again. I'm not afraid of make up, and I don't feel like a liar and a fake when I do wear it. When I do wear make up, I look at it like art. I can change my face with the use of a few powders, like temporary plastic surgery! However I still feel more than comfortable going out bare faced, I don't cringe and avoid people I know... I'm not ashamed of how I really look! 

I think that in the end, we are all born with these faces. Girls are lucky, we have so many different makeup products to choose from that we have the freedom to improve the way that we look. But looks aren't everything. If we can't accept our young faces without make up, how will we deal when wrinkles inevitably mark the laughter and anguish of our past as we age? 

If I put a full face of make up on every day, I'd spend more than 1 week per year doing my make up... That's 1.5 years in a life time of just applying make up. Life is short, I have better things to spend my time doing than putting make up on my face and worrying about how everyone else perceives me. Having the freedom to choose to go without make up is a real treat. 

Showing make up free pictures of me to the world doesn't daunt me any more

I challenge you to go to work/college/school/university for 1 day without make up, please let me know in the comments section how it made you feel! Please feedback how you feel about going without make up! 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pink Butterfly Ombre Nail Art Tutorial

Butterfly Ombre Nail Art Tutorial 

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. 

One of the gifts I received was a nail art brush set (thank you bestie). For years now I've been improvising (poorly) with paint brushes, tooth picks and hair grips and may I say, they do not compare to the real thing. This particular set is from NPW. 

You Will Need:

  • Pink Nail Varnish (I used four shades of pink from light to dark, although using two shades in any contrasting values will work just as well)
  • Black Nail Varnish (for the detailing, although a Sharpie pen will suffice)
  • White Nail Varnish (for dotting)
  • A small sponge (I cut up cheap makeup sponges for this)
  • Dotting Tool (the head of a bobby pin/hair grip, a propelling pencil minus the lead... lots of things will do for dotting!)
  • Short striping brush (I used to use a very small paint brush and stripped lots of the bristles for a fine application)
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Cotton Buds
  • A thick piece of card (for loading with varnish for dotting and striping)
  • Patience! 

Step 1 

Base coat. Paint your nails in stripes, light to dark towards the ends of your nails. You'll be sponging over this with more polish so this doesn't need to be neat! Allow each colour to dry slightly to avoid colour bleeding. Allow to dry fully before attempting step 3.

Step 2

Cut a piece of sponge about the length of your nail. Paint it thickly with your colours from light to dark. 

Step 3

Taking care to place the sponge the right way around, dab it onto your nail making sure to cover all of your nail. Dab the sponge with a light hand, moving it slightly up and down for a gradual gradient. This will no doubt get onto your skin; this can be removed later.

Step 4

When the gradient layer is fully dry, take a black nail polish and drip a few drops onto a piece of card. Use a thin brush or a short striping tool to create a half moon design. This should go from half way on your cuticle to a quarter of the way up your nail. 

Step 5

Using the same tool and black nail varnish, swipe carefully upwards from the half moon in four upward strokes. My thumb nail is wider; I used five upwards strokes for this. 

Step 6

Bridge the stripes with a sweeping arch. I did these quite high up but lowered them later when filling in the gaps to allow more space for the white dots. Fill in the tips of your nails in black nail varnish. This can be done with the striping tool, although this might give a slightly rough finish. A careful hand and a slip polish brush works well for this. Allow to dry

Step 7
Drip some white nail polish onto the cardboard. Use the dotting tool (or hair grip/bobby pin end)  into this and lightly dot a pattern in the black areas. At this point I took a cotton bud soaked in nail varnish remover and cleaned up the edges.

Step 8
Once all this is dry, apply two coats of top coat. Seal (paint) the tips of your nails for longevity. I usually use Revlon Liquid Quick Dry after this to accelerate the drying time. I know that Avon do a similar product to this in the form of a spray. 

When it comes to left handed nail art, things can get a little tricky. It is sometimes advised to keep your left hand (holding the brush) still and moving your right hand... Although I think this technique has a big risk attached to it. Try practising on a fake nail first, take your time and don't feel disheartened if things don't look perfect.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Formula for a Romantic Comedy


I don't watch many romantic comedies. I actually walked out of How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. They are predictable, sickly and an insult to femininity (of course, a gal's life just is not complete without a man to hold her hand through PMS and handbag shopping). 

I found myself thinking "who writes this stuff? Is it a conspiracy to scam women and under-the-thumb men out of their hard earned cash by releasing exactly the same film over and over again? Occasionally replacing Kate Hudson for Jennifer Aniston?". 
Probably not. But I'm going to continue to be scathing and present you with my formula for any successful romantic comedy. 

Act 1
Scene 1
A very brief and somewhat shallow character introduction. 

Girl: Beautiful but like, she totally doesn't know it. like! (Casting Couch: Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Garner... you get the picture) She's unlucky in love and discusses men (and absolutely nothing else) with her less attractive friend (Casting Couch: Judy Greer) who is cynical and hilarious. But wait, attractive protagonist has a quirk! A strange pet, addicted to her job, she wears glasses... 

I'm ridiculously good looking. BUT I HAVE A FERRET! 

Guy: Awesome body, perpetual tan, either unlucky in love OR commitment problems (Casting Couch: Hugh Grant, Matthew Mcconaughey, Ryan Reynolds). Discusses his love life (completely realistically, guys definitely discuss romantic issues with their friends, like, all the time. Probably over cosmos). His friends are (Casting Couch: any up and coming comedian) chauvinistic yet witty. 

The women go nuts for me. Even though I have stupid hair. 

Scene 2
They meet. Instant attraction. Neither of them can believe how lucky they are that two super hot individuals could have found each other in this big lonely city. What are the chances! 

Scene 3
Montage. They walk along a sunny street holding hands. He buys something for her from a street vendor (balloon, hot dog, flower), she holds/eats/smells said item whilst grinning like a drug addict. They probably feed each other which is, after all, what romance is all about. They lay around in bed together like they have no job to go to (plus waiting to get to know each other before hopping into bed with them and sharing bodily fluids is so old fashioned and uncool)
Attractive female protagonist will do something clumsy. OH MY GOD IT'S TOTALLY ENDEARING. He falls in love with her. 

I like you! 
But let's drag this out for as long as possible. 

Act 2
Scene 1
Attractive protagonist gushes to her friend, who is witty and cynical about the situation. 
It is revealed that the guy has a secret that will probably be a deal breaker if he continues with the secrecy. He decides that dishonesty is the best policy. Girls are stupid anyways and she probably wont find out. 

Scene 2
She finds out. "Don't call me, I never want to see you again boo hoo hoo". She runs away with the style of a rag doll minus the stuffing. 

Scene 3
Ice cream, wine, cynicism from friend, crying. "How will I live without him, I'm just less of a person without a man in my life. oh em gee." 
He calls her but she doesn't pick up. She makes sure she experiences maximum amounts of pain by listening to his voicemails. 

"There have been complaints about a woman in the room above crying loudly"

Act 3
Scene 1
Starting to get over each other montage. Doing normal stuff (BUT! without crying) with Coldplay music in the back ground. Maybe she goes on a date but is completely rude and zoned out throughout due to her preoccupation to Mr Sexy Liar-pants. 

Scene 2
The guy's friend makes the sexy liar realise that he CAN get her back, all he has to do is stalk her at full speed and give a tearful speech about how much he loves her and can't live without her. 

Scene 3
The girl is at a train station/airport/getting into a taxi/ferry crossing...? She buys her ticket, she walks slowly to the mode of transport, she looks around then sighs. OMG I don't think he's going to make it!
He makes it. Just in time. He gives a speech (I love you, I can't live without you), he cites her quirk and tells her that it makes him love her more (hooray, he doesn't only love her for her good looks). 
By this time there's a crowd. Girls love having strangers (especially public transport strangers) knowing intimate details about their love lives. 
They both cry. They kiss. The crowd cheers. 

She got off the plane! The whole world cries.

Montage of happy photos of them together. They live happily ever after! (For the next few months at least man!)


Other variations
-Reverse the roles for the girl and the guy. 
-There are two potential suitors, one is good looking and a tool, the other is unconventionally good looking, caring, thoughtful and kind and most importantly, overlooked by the girl for the latter features. Attractive female protagonist eventually realises that love was right in front of her all along (again, women are stupid aren't they!)

I don't like rom-coms because they are patronising, simplistic and just plain boring. Another reason that romantic comedies annoy me is that they give girls women and teens this completely erroneous view of men and relationships. Being a husband/boyfriend/wife/partner isn't all romance and everyone being on their best behaviour. These films make women think that they should put their men on a pedestal and should they fall short of their sky high expectations, they should get rid - if he's not Prince Charming, he's an idiot. 
Girl 1: "oh my god, my boyfriend looked at Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts on TV again today"
Girl 2: "girrrrllll. If he has eyes for anyone else but you, you should kick him to the curb. He needs to show some respect". 

Well excuse me but aren't we all human? I just think that it's really unhealthy for girls to go around thinking that there are no expectations of them, but that their boyfriends should constantly be buying them flowers and complimenting their new dresses. Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to keep that level of romance up long term?! 
By encouraging girls to keep looking for the perfect guy, they're just going to be disappointed. I'm not saying that any girl should 'settle', but that they should remember that no one is perfect - guys' minds work very differently to womens' so don't expect them to be like Hugh Grant from the movies because that character was written FOR women. Be understanding, not demanding. 

"I'm 16 and can't wait to give up my family, friends, whole world for a guy I saw one time but never spoke to. So what if I can't talk to him? All I have to offer are my looks (my pretty face) and no guy is interested in what I have to say anyways. lol"

Romantic comedies are just NOT examples of good film making. However, I did go and see Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, a critically acclaimed arty film. I slept through nearly all of it. £8 well spent. 

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