1 July 2015

BEAUTY | In love with Mr Perricone

Long gone are the days when I used just any drugstore cleanser and my skin was feeling uber fresh & thoroughly cleansed. Apparently when you hit 25 your complexion changes quite dramatically - and so do its needs. And I might need to agree with it. In general terms my skin is now looking for constant source of moisture (otherwise it starts feeling extra tight), the pores are not as enormous as they used to be but on the other hand they sometimes feel a little tighter and the skin cleanse just needs an extra kick. Does your skin feel the same? 

On an everyday basis I use the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (read a full review here) which is great at getting rid of panda eyes and the general make-up slap you put on every morning. I use this every evening after I've washed my face in the shower. Back in my early 20's this would probably be enough. Now I've added a proper cleansing agent - Perricone MD Nutritive Cleanser. This paraben-free cleanser is super gentle (I have dropped using anything extremely harsh on my face because those products just make my skin incredibly tight and dehydrated), yet it makes you feel like you couldn't have washed your face any better when using it. It smells very soapy (but obviously doesn't contain an actual soap) and I wash my face with it every morning and evening. This cleanser contains two key ingredients - one being Alpha Lipoic Acid which is an antioxidant contributing to prevention of skin cell damage; and the other one being DMAE which is an almost miraculous chemical used in pharmaceutical industry to combat diseases such as Alzheimer's and autism. It is also used to boost energy, intelligence and extend life span of cells in human body - including the skin cells and therefore providing your skin with properties which slow down signs of skin ageing. Once my skin has been cleansed - this cleanser makes me feel extra posh so you might want to dab your face dry with a white fluffy face cloth (oh the luxury!) like I do, ha! The following step would be moisturizer of choice - I have currently been using the Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Jelly which gives my skin a lasting boost of hydration. 

Now because it's summer and I'm not a fan of heavy foundations when there's even the slightest risk of getting sweat beads on my nose or forehead (yeah, don't say this never happens to ya!). I have been using the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation almost every day for the past month or so and it's been top notch. When I first read the reviews of this foundation I was a bit skeptical - people describe it as magical and 'better than your skin' and what not. Surely a foundation feels like foundation once on your skin. Even the lightest BB cream and tinted moisturiser feels like something on my skin (which is not necessarily a bad thing, it's just what you expect). The No Foundation Foundation feels almost like nothing but what's the most impressive thing is that it delivers a whole lot of extraordinary results. It contains complementary ingredients to the cleanser - Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE and Vitamin C Ester. Specifically the Vitamin C Ester enhances what they call 'translucent coverage' of this foundation. It almost works as a foundation, bronzer & brightener in one. What I found a little tricky was the quest for a matching concealer - matching in terms of texture and consistency. The best I've discovered so far is the Stila Perfecting Concealer which is not as heavy as the likes of Bobbi Brown which I'd usually use. 

You can get your hands on Perricone MD products in John Lewis (click here) which will be opening in Birmingham very very soon! Also, don't forget that tomorrow is the launch of Perricone MD No Make-up Skincare rage! Too exciting!            

Don't you just love when products have real ingredients which combat your worries rather than just water, alcohol and a bunch of parabens?

27 June 2015

BEAUTY | A foolproof recipe for super smooth skin ready for the beach


In the name of my holiday prep I've been after a foolproof recipe for super smooth skin. It just ain't right to be lounging around the pool or beach with your stubbly pins on display, is it?! But let me tell you - achieving what ads and commercials call 'silky smooth' is hard, especially for a brunette with naturally coarse hair.

After a quick glimpse at my legs I wonder whether it is even possible to get anywhere close to the definition of 'smooth' at all. My skin, be it on my legs, in my armpits or on my face generally goes right against what I'd like it to do. Every. Single. Time. The more I prep, the angrier it gets. The most frequent signs of revolt are: flakiness, redness, irritation, rash-like spots, dryness, itchiness, ingrown hairs, blotches, tightness.

Quite often I end up with a combination of the above. 
On my face

Since my early twenties I have tried a fair amount of products though which has resulted in a collection of a handful of trusty products and techniques which cause minimal irritation to my skin even when I go at it with my usual take-no-prisoners approach. Here's my secret recipe - to be used a day or two before you venture out to the beach!  

⇢ Wash & scrub
Be it your face, your legs or your butt - if you want your skin to be #ohsosilky the first step will be exfoliation. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to use a loofah all over your face leaving it looking like one big red blotch. Use whatever exfoliator suits your skin type and your skin needs - the aim here is to get rid of any dead skin cells lying on the top layer of your skin. My travel favourite is the Cube Sparkling Lemon Sugar Scrub which I got in a Memebox a while back (you can read more here) because it's really refreshing and doesn't irritate my skin at all.

⇢ Hairlimination  
Smooth doesn't go with fluffy, fuzzy or furry. Or, God forbid - stubbly. The new range by Nair is infused with Argan Oil which helps fight any irritation that hair removal can cause, as well as it improves the texture (or smoothness if you like) of your skin. I'm especially loving their new range of products developed specifically for facial hair (read the tashe) such as the Ultra Precision Roll-On Wax which is so easy to use and doesn't leave that horrible sticky residue that some waxes leave, and the Face Wax Strips which come with this brand new feature of colour cue technology which helps you know when the wax is as its ideal temperature to use. Have you ever tried any of the Nair products? Tweet me your tips and experience with a hashtag #skinbynair!

⇢ Re-hydration
Another very important step that so very many of us tend to forget (or ignore even, naughty!). Although usually I'm a big believer in body butters and oils, lately I have been using 'on the go' hydrating products such as spritzes and re-hydrating sprays. I think they are not only perfect for hot days in the office but also for when you're off to the beach in summer! There's no easier way to cool your skin down than two spritzes of your favourite re-hydrating spray. And don't forget your feet, they tend to suffer like crazy in hot weather and need a little watering every now and then too! 

⇢ Protection
Apart from hydrating your skin as such, you must (emphasis on must!) use sun protection. Although it is very tempting to go sunscreen-less rationalizing it by 'I won't tan with SPF on', deep down you know that that's not the case. The reality is that despite your efforts for smooth silky skin, without sunscreen you will end up looking like an old dry plum! Yuck! Get that sunscreen out now kid and be generous, especially on those areas where your skin is extremely thin and sensitive - this includes your chest, ears, face, bikini lines and believe it or not - your feet! 

What's your secret recipe for smooth skin insummer?
Share your tips & tricks below!

Disclaimer: Sponsored by Nair. Thank you! 

24 June 2015

LIFESTYLE | Get fit: Tips from the past century

Fitness inspiration

From pin-ups to the 1980's lycra-clad sexbombs we have never stopped admiring the bods of the past. We envy the sharp bone structures of the 1920's, the curves of the 1950's, the gymnastic skills of the 1980's. This all comes with the modern era where we are just a little too greedy and want everything all at once, no matter how much willpower and sweat it takes. Back in the day, it seemed a little simpler, a little more fun. People were all striving for a similar lifestyle - they listened to the at-the-time-pop music, exercised to it (just as much as it required to stay fit, no more, unless you were a professional that is), they had fun! What do we have now - zumba and Insanity? No, thank you. I'd rather take inspiration from the century just gone and make my fitness routine as much fun as possible! Here are 5 tips from the 20th century fitness routines

 Trim twist - the ultimate hip & abs exercise machine
In the 1960's it was all about the slim figure - and that's what the Trim twist gives ya - all the focus is on making your hips, abs and thighs a little musclier than they are normally. I remember when my mum used to use hers back in the early 1990's - I never understood the understated board which makes you look like you're constantly dancing to Rock'n'Roll music whilst watching Step by Step and Dallas on telly. Now I get the awe of the twist board! You get can a modern version of Trim twist from Amazon for less than a tenner (here), did ya know?

✓ It's about how you carry yourself  
Doesn't matter which era we're looking it - women enjoyed looking pretty and carrying themselves high even when getting sweaty. Be it the matching neon sweatbands on your wrists, head and ankles or the beautiful figure forming swimsuits & bikinis of pin-up girls. Can you imagine a 1930's beaut in bloody sweatpants?! Bah, never! I reckon they didn't even know what the hideous thing called sweats was back in the day. 

 Hula hooping your way to the perfect summer bod
This is definitely my type of exercise - I dare say that hula hoops were one of my favourite 'toys' back when I was a little rascal. Hula hoop exercises are so versatile - it's not just about your hips and abs, you can also exercise your neck, arms and legs - even the whole body if you adhere to a complex exercise routine. And all that while feeling like a circus acrobat!  

✓ Spartakiads
Now a little travel back in history of Czechoslovakia. Spartakiads were a communist invention however that does not make them any less breath-taking. They were basically mass gymnastics events for the whole nation. People would dress up in the same outfits wearing the 'trainers' above and doing a lot of synchronized exercises from acrobatics on the hoops to synchronized fabric ribbon performances. I can imagine for us today this all sounds absolutely surreal but I'm sure there is a lot of fitspo to be taken from the 1950's & 1960's in the Eastern block.   

 1980's & 1990's - the supermodel era & VHS exercises 
Yeah, that's right - I said VHS exercises. As soon as VHS became a thing, people delved into the world of at home in front of your telly fitness routines. The herd was led by the stars of television & magazines at the time - the likes of Cindy Crawford showing you how to stretch your bod on the beach and Jane Fonda jumping to the beat of disco. Why are people so madly attracted to the Insanity workouts when they could just jump around to their favourite music?!     

Oh, and don't forget to watch this video by Benenden UK to see all the different exercise eras!
Which one is your favourite?    

17 June 2015

FASHION | The triangle bra trend

I've struggled with bras my whole life. I just don't like the shapes, I don't like the wires, I don't like the materials. They are itchy, they are uncomfortable, they are a big pain in the bum, if you ask me. But without them it's even worse - just the sound of words 'saggy boobage' makes my skin crawl. Nah. The ultimate solution to my trouble came in the form of the triangle bra trend. The only trend that I've been embracing since it first entered the market, the only trend that I'm willing to dedicate my whole life to. Triangle bras all the way!

Sporty triangle bras
The simplest and most common of the triangle bra tribe is the sporty one. We've all seen them - they are usually black, white or grey (the on-daily-basis-wearable ones), usually made of soft material, no fastening at the back, just the old boring pull-over (and get stuck in it like a tart) type. They're not bad, they’re quite alright - but they won't sweep you of your feet.  

Lace triangle bras
Oh, the fanciness of lace triangle bras! For Love & Lemons is the epitome of lace paradise. Their bras (or any lace triangle bras for that matter) look like they’ve been spun by hundreds of little spider fairies. In fact I dare say that DIYing a lace triangle bra yourself isn’t such a difficult thing to do – there’s a lot of tutorials which I’ve been wanting to try – one of them being this one for instance. I just wish high street lingerie shops caught up with the trend faster as there’s definitely a gap in the market right there!   

CK triangle bras
Now the fancy shmancy alternative to the comfort of sporty triangle bras with the aesthetics of the lace ones are Calvin Klein triangle bras (ideally with matching knickers!). There’s an element of 1990’s boyish sexiness to them which looks damn stunning when paired with boyfriend jeans and a crisp white shirt or a tee. As you can see I’ve become somewhat of a collector of triangle bras (but they are so comfy – no wires no trouble, right?). My most recent addition is the grey CK bra from House of Fraser (they are sometimes hard to get your hands on and people sell them ridiculously overpriced on platforms such as Depop and E-Bay – so browse their range of bras!).

How do you feel about the triangle bra trend?

Do you find it flattering or too much nip revealing?    
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