A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

30 Jan 2015

Review: Superdrug Colour Effects wash in, wash out Hair Dye in Rich Red

I've gone ginger!

Becoming a red head it something I love to dabble with every few months. I'm really pale with green eyes so I'm lucky my colouring suits being blonde and ginger. However, I like to return to my natural blonde after a while so a good wash in, wash out hair dye is a necessity. 

My favourite dye is the Superdrug Colour Effects range which costs £1.49. Here I have used Superdrug Colour Effects in Rich Red which is designed for brown hair shades to give a hint of red. It's not advised for use on bleached or highlighted hair, but a few years ago I thought I'd try it anyway and found it works really well on my bleached and highlighted hair to give a natural redhead shade of ginger! 

The instructions say to wet your hair in the shower, squeeze the excess water out and then lather it in your hair and leave it for 5 minutes before rinsing. I find this gives a very natural strawberry hue, so I tend to apply it, leave for 10 minutes with my head wrapped in a towel, rinse, then apply another coat and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing again!

It does take better to freshly bleached sections, so as you can see on my hair there is a slight gradient to strawberry in the ends but I don't mind!

The only issue I have with this is it doesn't wash in and wash out - it takes about a week or two for my hair to return to its natural colour, but I enjoy the journey from bright red, through strawberry blonde and back to my normal colour. I get to look different every day! If you want to speed up the process (as I have had to previously because Mum wanted me to look "normal" for an event!), I find it helps to use an anti-dandruff shampoo to wash the dye out, and to soak your hair in coconut oil because strangely the more moisture you put in, the more red is drawn out. After that, use your usual shampoo and conditioner, or something with purple tones in to reduce brassiness.

Also if you have any, use gloves...


28 Jan 2015

Review: Coastal Scents 22 Piece Brush Set

This year I have the pleasure and the terror of doing my friends' hair and makeup for Hannah's wedding! I'm going to be doing the bride's hair and makeup, and also hair and makeup for 3 other bridesmaids and myself in August! Luckily Hannah wants to get it right, so as an excuse for a girly get-together we all met up last week to have a practice run. It was really helpful to get an idea of what the girls want and so exciting to be allowed (almost) free reign to play with makeup and hair! 

What I did learn from the trial is that I needed some decent makeup brushes. I was getting by with my odd collection of brushes I have collected on my travels, but some were tatty, some were missing and I often didn't have the right tool for the job so I invested in a new brush set.

After a lot of researching and review reading, I settled on the Coastal Scents 22 Piece Brush Set which I got from Beauty B Cosmetics for £34.49.  They're a cheapish set, but came with good reviews and cost less than the £150 I could have spent. I did consider buying a smaller pack of eye brushes, but my enabler boyfriend convinced me it would be nice to have a matching set and they would last me a very long time! 

The brushes are presented in a lovely pleather roll with magnetic fasteners on. 

 The set contains 22 brushes, which are made from different types of fibers. The handles are very long making the brushes easy to handle, and are very light but feel sturdy. They are glossy black and look gorgeous in my brush pot on the dressing table. I have happily chucked out all my old mis-matching brushes already! This is the range, including what they're made from and my guess at what they are used for, from googling. If you can correct me I'd really appreciate it!:

1. Large Fan (Synthetic) - setting/finishing powder, sweeping off excess powders
2. Powder Buffer (Synthetic) - foundation buffing
3. Round Powder (Synthetic) - foundation or blush
4. Flat Buffer (Synthetic) - blusher, contouring
5. Angle Blush (Goat Hair) - various powders, blusher, contour
6. Foundation (Fiber Hair) for applying foundation!
7. Concealer (Nylon Hair)  - concealer brush! I'm a total convert from applying with fingers now
8. Large Shadow (Pony Hair) - eyeshadow
9. Blender (Pony Hair) - blending out eyeshadows, the eye crease etc. 
10. Doe Foot Blender (Pony Hair) - smaller, delicate blending
11. Dome Shadow (Pony Hair) - more shadow!
12. Dome Blender (Pony Hair) - more blending!
13. Medium Shadow (Pony Hair)
14. Detail Shadow (Pony Hair)
15. Lip (Pony Hair)
16. Detail Concealer (Fiber Hair) - great for highlighter
17. Pointed Blender (Pony Hair)
18. Brow (Pony Hair) - absolutely love this brush for my brows! 
19. Smudger Sponge (Rubber) - for eyeshadow blending and eyeliner smudging for a smoky look
20. Large Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)
21. Medium Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)
22. Small Liner / Brow (Nylon Hair)

(currently, I'm not sure which is which... so I've been referring to this numbered guide which goes alongside it)

It's more brushes than I'll ever need! So far, the brushes have been brilliant. I have used several to apply my daily makeup and there has been no shedding yet. The brushes are really soft (I hate a scratchy brush) and make swirling up different combinations of eyeshadow fun. I am brilliant at procrastination from university work with this kit!

My only criticism of the set is that for a beginner with brushes like me, the handles don't have labels. Some other kits which cost a little more had engravings to let me know the use of each one. This is handy when I'm not sure of what tool to use for which job, but also stops me putting lipstick on an eyeliner brush and ending up with black lips!

Would I recommend - absolutely! This is a great price for what so far seems to be a great kit. I'm really pleased with my new purchase and can't wait to have another girly practice so I can create some gorgeous looks!

22 Jan 2015

Video Review: Babyliss New Big Hair Rotating Styler

So I've not blogged in a while because I've been completely snowed under with University work and actual work, but I thought I'd vlog my new hairstyler - the Babyliss New Big Hair styler which I was sent by John Lewis. This baby uses a rotating hot brush action to give your hair volume and that salon blow dry look (but easier and quicker!) and costs £40.

The unique thing about this is it's a hot-brush type hairdryer, but it rotates both clockwise and anti-clockwise to wrap the hair up and smooth it out. I've seen some amazing, dramatic results using this with frizzy hair to give a sleek, volumous style. I was terrified at first that my hair might get tangled up and I'd have to chop it off, but that didn't happen (thankfully) because of the two direction rotation.

I don't know what more to say, so here's the video review! Excuse Teddy running around and being a pickle!

The brush has three different heat settings (cold, warm and hot) and a long cable which rotates so no tagles in the cable either. It has a ceramic brush so smooths hair out and gets lovely and hot to make styling quicker!

Overall, it gives FAB results! If you can cast aside your anxiety about the twirly, whirly contraption and give yourself half an hour to play with it and learn what to do, you can get great results quickly! I'm definitely going to let Mum (a hot brush addict since the 80s!) have a go and see if I can upgrade her current model.

11 Jan 2015

How to grow your hair longer, stronger and quicker

A few people ask me how I grow my hair so long so I thought I'd share my tips for growing your hair with you all. It does take some hard work but if you follow this guide you will grow your hair longer, stronger and quicker. 

Step one: Have a chop! 
Counter-intuitive but if you want to grow your hair, you've probably been trying to grow it for a while and might not have had a hair cut in a while.  I had a big chop in March last year to cut out all my long, wispy layers which were split and made my hair look thin and scraggly.  I'm very precious about my hair, so you can see on my face I'm still in shock but it does make all the difference. 

Step two: book in regular trims
Another important thing to do is to have a couple of millimeters cut off your hair every 12 weeks. This makes sure your split ends don't get too long and keeps your hair looking sleek and soft. 

Step 3: Condition!
I use a lot of conditioner! I regularly use Tresemme Luxurious Moisture shampoo and conditioner. I also use an argan oil whenever my hair is wet on the ends to protect them from heat. My other top secret is to wash your hair at night, squeeze out the extra water and put on loads of Aussie 3 Minute Miracle. Comb it through, put it up on a bun, wrap in a warm towel and sleep on it. The next morning, rinse your hair and you'll have super soft hair. I try to do this every time I have a night alone, and do it for a couple of hours in the day whenever I can. 

Step 4: Treat your hair nicely
Try to wash your hair every other day or less to reduce the heat you have to use in drying. I'd also recommend a tangle teaser and cut down (or cut out) using hair straighteners! I have noticed a difference in the condition of my hair since I quit using straighteners and began using heated rollers to style my hair. 

Step 5: Love it!


8 Jan 2015

Faking a curly bob with long hair

I wasn't going to blog about this! This was an experiment I did the other day at home, to see if I could fake a bob. I've always had really long hair (except that time in year 9 when I had it cut off to my shoulders and I cried for 3 days). I love having love hair, and don't even mind having to comb it in the shower with conditioner, the knots at the back of my neck and spending forever blowdrying it. All of this makes me really precious when it comes to seeing hairdressers and I must be a nightmare. However, considering all this, I've wanted a curly bob since I saw this Bourjois advert.

Anyway the other day I had a go, and this is what I managed  (all these photos are unedited - my skin is terrible - but I wanted to get this post out quick!)

Not bad considering my hair is this long

How I did it:
This takes a while to do so best if you have a long morning, or if you can do most the prep the night before.

  • Firstly I filled my hair full of mousse when wet and dried it upside-down to give it lots of volume
  • Then I got my curling tongs and curled my hair really tightly. After each curl was made, I quickly wound it round my finger and pinned it up against my head like this:
  • If you're prepping for the next day, you can go to bed like this and sleep easily! If not, leave your hair whilst you get dressed and put on your makeup. 
  • Unpin the curls and brush out with your fingers. Then add volume boosting powder to your crown and backcomb it to get big hair (see my guide on how to get big hair here)
  • Finally, split your hair into about 5 or 6 sections evenly around your head. Grab the tips of your hair in the front left section, and then pin it up, underneath itself into your neck. (That's really hard to describe!) Basically you're folding your hair in half and pinning it up loosely so your hair is shorter, thicker and keeps its curls as you are folding loosely. 
  • Continue this all around your head until all your hair is pinned up and under a curtain of hair to hide it. Tong the front parts if you have layers and you've got a fake bob! 

2 Jan 2015

My New Years Eve Look: OOTD and FOTD

A big happy new year to everyone again! I know it's cliche but I can't believe it's 2015 already! On New Years Eve this year, Sam and I went out to The Print Room in Bournemouth for a masquerade ball with our old housemates (and BFFs) Dan and Jen (or Daniffer as I collectively call them).

I love going out with Daniffer, particularly getting ready with Jen which we have so much fun doing (probably more fun than actually going out with smelly boys). As the event was a ball, we all decided to go all-out with our looks. Here's what I wore:

My dress is from the sale at River Island (I am obsessed with River Island sale dresses, every year when the January sales roll around I am straight in my local shop!) I couldn't find it online, but if you love 1920s flapper, Gatsby style dresses I found a company called Frock and Frill who have lust-worthy dresses! My shoes are from ASOS - they are a classic suede with an almond toe, great for big feet like mine! My mask is from Accessorize and I sewed my own ribbon onto it rather than the elastic. 

Sam also got dapper in  suit trousers and shirt from Moss Bros (their slim fit stuff is great fit for tall guys) and a bow tie from Marks and Spencer. It's a real one rather than a pre-tied clip on and took us ages to learn how to tie! Doesn't he look lovely! 

For my makeup I wore: 
Under eye concealer - Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer
Bronzer (for contouring under cheekbones) Liz Earle Natural Glow Bronzer
Eyebrows - groomed with Collection Work the Colour Eyebrow Kit (great for those who don't want super dark brows)
Eyeshadow - Revlon Colourstay Shadow Links (clip together eyeshadows to make your own palette!)  in oyster, taupe and gunmetal
Eyeliner - L'Oreal Gel Eyeliner 
Lipstick - Collection Gothic Glam lipstick in "revenge" (my review here). I'd love to know if this is a dupe for MAC Sin or Diva?

... that's a lot of makeup! Jen did my hair in a beautiful French twist with lots of volume! 

Jen looked stunning in a beautiful black dress from River Island (also in the sale!) which has built in hotpants and a sheer skirt! She looked amazing. And here are a lot of photos of us partying! 

I love the casual undone bow tie look Sam rocked after midnight! We had a lovely time and so much fun. It really felt like a proper celebration of a year gone by and party to welcome in the new one in a different way. 


1 Jan 2015

Renovating the Dining Room

Happy New Year! Inspired by the New Year I thought I'd share with you the first new leaf I have turned over! I love my home. I am a real homebody and love nothing more than peeking into other's homes for inspiration, whether on Pinterest or in real life. I've owned my home for the last three years, and when I initially bought it I painted everything cream and had second hand furniture which I was hugely grateful for. Now my boyfriend and I live together, it seemed like the perfect time to start decorating our home and slowly start buying furniture which would be ours long term rather than a stop gap. 

I recently shared with you my lounge at Christmas and I realised I forgot to show you the before photo so here it is quickly



Anyway here is my dining room story
The dining room has always been my least favourite room. It felt like a bland space, full of furniture I didn't buy or particularly like and I spent a lot of time keeping guests out of it! 

When I originally bought the house it looked like this:

And with limited money all I could really do was paint the walls a neutral colour and the tiles in the fireplace black and hope that one day inspiration and money would hit me. Literally everthing was given to me including the lacey table cloth! 

The room kind of became a dumping ground for bags, mismatching furniture and drawers full of junk. I hate clutter, but somehow my apathy for the room made me clutter it up. Then for Christmas my parents offered to buy Sam and I a dining table and it kick started me into doing something about it.

First up my brother James came round and took the horrible glass display cabinet off the wall for me which I rapidly got rid of on a Facebook Buy and Sell page

The increase in light after it was taken down was so dramatic!

lovely wallpaper underneath! All the junk on the table was out of that cabinet! 

I then sanded all the woodwork, in its horrible yellowing glory, and painted it using Farrow & Ball eggshell in "New White". It's not a cheap brand, but from a lot of googling it seemed to be recommended by people who paint furniture as it applies well with minimal sheen and gives a more polished effect than Chalk Paint. I also painted the chest of drawers I was given when I met Sam as it was inoffensive! 

Mum gave me a tin of Dulux paint in Amethyst Falls 2 which is a really deep, Cadbury's purple paint colour. I used this to paint the chimney breast

I still have some work to do - the picture rail where the cabinet was is an unusual shape and I'm sill searching for some to replace the old stuff. Also, Sam gave me a set of picture frames for Christmas which I am going to put up on the chimney breast rather than a mirror so I am going to sort that when the Chrsitmas decorations are down. I also have to choose a curtain for the window and would love to get a really low pendant light from IKEA to hang over the table. Next paycheck maybe! I am also thinking about painting the legs of my new farmhouse table cream to go with the rest of the furniture - what do you think?

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