Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mane N Tail - Will It Work For Me?

It's my new obsession although Mane n Tail has been around for ages.

I've got a new hair routine because my ends were beyond revival. My hair was falling out in chunks and took 10 minutes to detangle. I had to give it a proper trim and two inches came off. And there are still split ends!

Now I'm taking silica daily and oiling my hair ends everyday. I'm using Bawang shampoo (don't think it's doing anything but I got to use it up!) and Mane n Tail conditioner and Maximum Herbal Gro.

There are tonnes of reviews on Mane n Tail-the common theme is that it makes your hair grow fast. This is misinformation. The only thing that can make your hair grow is something you take internally. An over the counter shampoo and conditioner will not do anything except preserve your hair so you'll need less trims.

Mane n Tail products are cheap. I went to Paks Cosmetics and bought a big bottle of the Deep Conditioner £2.99 and Maximum Herbal Gro £2.99. The conditioner is thick and an unusual blue colour. I realised it has dimethicone in it and although it leaves the hair soft and feeling moisturised there was a slight residue so I went back to Paks to get the original conditioner.

The original is also called the Moisturiser and Texturiser. It's silicone free and smells lovely. It's a little runnier than the deep conditioner and it's a more pleasing pale yellow colour. You can use it as a leave in as well as a normal conditioner.

UPDATE: I've been using the Texturiser shampoo and noticed I'm shedding alot more than usual. My hair was dropping so much, I decided to stop using it. I've gone back to using shikakai and alma for hair cleaning.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

4 Reasons Why Fine Haired Girls Hate Getting Hair Cuts

Look at those straggly hair ends. I finally got a decent amount chopped because my hair turned bad. It was falling out from the roots and the ends became limp.

I was going to write this post like an open letter to hairdressers but open letters are annoying and self indulgent. I'll just list the reasons why don't like my hair cut. I have very fine hair and not a lot of it. Hopefully fine haired girls understand what I'm saying here!

1) Hairdressers cut more hair than they say they will
Maybe they think I'm kidding myself when I tell them I only want 1/2 inch off and yes I know my hair is damaged. It's probably more obvious on fine hair. Most of time, an inch or more actually gets cut off. This happens when hair is cut while soaking wet. As I can't grow a lot of hair and it takes a long time to get it past my elbows, I'm not quick to trust hairdressers when they'll only take off half an inch. 

2) Paying above the odds for a blunt trim
Hairdressers don't even need to section by layer before cutting my hair. They separate it into left, back and right sections and cut straight across. For fine haired girls we only need a blunt trim to preserve volume. It takes 5-10 minutes to cut my hair. So why do I have to pay for an expensive "long hair" cut, or the same price as someone with mega thick hair or who's asking for a style cut?

3) Hairdryer fear
Professional hair dryers are so hot I've been burned by them. My hair barely shields my scalp so if a hairdryer goes near it for longer than a second, it bloody well burns. Most hairdressers don't get this and treat fine hair like thick hair. Fine hair is more venerable to heat and it grates me to see them fry my hair with the hairdryer. I'd prefer to walk out of the salon with wet hair. Especially since the slightest of moisture in the air causes my hair to go frizzy no matter how well it's been blow dried. As for point 3, why do I have to pay for a finish when I don't want one?

4) Hairdressers yanking through tangled hair
We fine haired girls know when hairdressers are yanking through our tangled ends after a wash. No matter how it's "concealed" by holding onto the lengths, I hear the comb smacking against the sink because the hairdresser's trying to save time. Fine hair snags easily and even though the ends are getting cut off, the lengths are undergoing stress by having a comb pull through the knots. Fine haired girls don't do this to their own hair so neither should hairdressers. We don't want to, nor should have to say this either.


Miss Sporty Peel Off Nail Polish

I'll keep this post brief because there are tonnes of reviews on this product. I bought it because it was 3 Miss Sporty products for £5 at Superdrug. The idea of peel off nail polish appeals to me because I hate taking off nail polish, especially dark colours and glitters. 

I tested out the other two Miss Sporty polishes bought. The peel off polish is basically wood glue. Takes about 10 minutes for it be dry enough the paint over.

Sadly only after 6 hours, the nail polish peeled off unintentionally. I washed my hands and noticed the index fingernail completely polish free! Once that happened I peeled the others off-it was a bit of an obsessive satisfaction watching them come clean off the nail.

This stuff comes off too easily-whether it's a good or bad thing is questionable. I think it's convenient if you want to wear a racy colour for a night out but have work the next day. Or if you want to mask cuticles when applying dark polishes. 

What it's not good for, is longevity. I'm passing this onto my sister who can let my niece wear nail polish from time to time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How To Get Rid of Fabric Snags

I bought a dress from Ebay and the seller mentioned there were "unnoticeable" snags but it actually looked like it went through a wash with Velcro.

It wasn't worth my while to send it back and I really liked the dress. After google searching fabric snag fixes, I found the easiest method and it took next to no time to make those ugly snags disappear.

1) Tug the fabric on the opposite ends of the snag so it retracts as far as it can go.

2) Push a needle threader through from underneath, as close to the snag as possible.

3) Thread the snag through the threader and press the wire part against the fabric.

4) Pull threader through the other side. The snag is gone! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Prepping For A Black Tie Event

I went to the Wimbledon Ball and it was my first proper black tie event since my high school formal. I did it on the cheap then and after shelling out for Wimbledon Ball ticket and dress hire, I tried to save my pennies for everything else. 

The Make Up and Nails:
I finally put my makeup and hoard of skincare products to use. Even the weird, practically useless lip Modelling Gel Pack I bought from Korea.

On the day I went in the steam room at my gym, did a hair treatment, and for my face, used microdermabrasion cream and Elemis Papaya Enzyme peel. I painted my finger and toenails with Nails Inc Alexa Cashmere. It's quick to dry and forgiving for smudges because it has a textured matt finish. 

I used Smashbox's primer for makeup longevity and for my eyeshadow I used a taupe and dark brown from my Sleek palette. I had no idea how well they work together until now! I contoured my face with the Sleek Contouring kit and put on super cheap fake eyelashes from Primark as below. It's easy to put fake lashes on once you trim them 3-4 mm shorter than you're actual lash line and wait for the glue to get gummy before sticking them on. The lashes are good value, weightless although they were over the top looking. I probably should have chosen the Natural look lashes. I also bought Seventeen's Falsifeye HD mascara in case the lashes failed.

The Accessories:
Cheap gold earrings from Primark as below, my already owned YSL Arty ring (as the blue matches my dress), and vintage watch from Favre Leuba.  I bought a jewelled hair band from Primark reduced to £1 but it wasn't worn on the night. I carried my little Miu Miu bag instead of buying a new clutch purse.

The Dress:
Dress hire cost more than the ticket to the ball. I left it to the last minute to find a dress and didn't have the space to store a fancy dress so I hired. I picked this short dress which was £150. It complements my short frame and makes a statement so I'm pleased with it.

The Hair:
The only thing I can't do with my hair is create a pouf so I had to get a half up-do at the hairdresser. Fortunately there was a half price discount at a salon which recently opened near me so the cost was only £20. Probably just as well I didn't pay full price because my curls dropped flat as soon as I walked out! By the end of the night my lengths had straightened which is a shame considering how much heat my hair endured from GHD use. The hairdresser did something creative at the end of the pouf but I can't really tell what. The pouf held up well throughout the night.

 The Shoes:
Were bought from Amazon Prime for £23. I was looking for satin slingbacks with a platform for comfort and a leg lengthening effect. Satin is fantastic for shoes because you can get away with buying cheap shoes but they don't look it.

Side view of my dress.

My hair has never been so tall before! All thanks to teasing, hairspray and bobby pins.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Black Cumin Seed Oil As A Nutritional Supplement

I booked a treatment on Wahanda and went to Edgeware Road for the first time. The area and it's shops intrigue me. So exotic, it's like being in the middle east. Similar to my Oz home in Auburn, I went browsing in the grocery stores.

I came in looking for tea and ended up with Alwazah tea which was very cheap (79p or 25 tea bags) and a bottle of black seed oil (100ml for £3.99). I've heard about black seed oil and I couldn't resist trying atleast one beauty product behind the counter.

The brand is "Sofra" from Pakistan and the shop guy assured me that it's decent although the packaging is of poor quality. There's a leaflet inside with arabic and english instructions. The seal on the cap is a bit of a joke. The safety ring, or the thing that supposed to remain on the neck after you've opened the bottle, comes off with the cap so you can't tell if it's been tampered or not. But at least it's in a dark glass bottle and it's supposedly cold pressed virgin oil.

I was planning on applying it on my scalp but after doing some research on the internet, I figure I'm better off ingesting this stuff, assuming it's pure.

The list of benefits in the leaflet are long, ranging from weight loss, increasing sperm generation, supporting the immune system, recovery of hair loss to curing asthma. This oil is said to be rich with anti-oxidants, vitamins, essential fatty and amino acids. It has been used for over 2,500 years as a food supplement or a cure-all. There are also scientific studies on it's effect on cancer cells but nothing substantial as I figure it would have been more well known if it was actually effective.

The oil is pale brown and I poured it in a teaspoon and drank it straight. The instructions say to take 2 teaspoons morning and night but I'm generally healthy and too lazy to do this. The smell and taste is fine in my opinion. As long as you're not expecting it to taste good that is. The scent is similar to it's taste, light fragrant onion. It's not bitter and leaves a slight oniony after taste. I didn't need a chaser like honey or an acidic drink but it helps it go down.

I'm going to take a teaspoon at night and will add to this post with results when the bottle runs out.

Just to note I put some oil on my eczema and there was no positive effect. I think there was even a slight reaction. Also I put some on the ends of my hair and it felt sticky and smelt like onion. I will not be using this oil topically!

Monday, April 6, 2015

DIY Bentonite Clay Hair Wash Cleanser And Using Litmus Paper

I bought a huge tube of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay and I found a new use for it. My hair was oily after a heavy co-wash and I remember how this clay sucks oil right out of my pores when I used it as a mask. I could feel a strange contracting sensation on my skin as it dried so this clay is powerful stuff. 

Calcium bentonite clay has lots of uses from insect bites to clay body soaks. It can be used to clean hair naturally. There are several ways of preparing it as a hair wash. I felt the important thing was to ensure that the ph of the mix was not too acidic because apple cider vinegar was the common ingredient to neutralise the the clay which is alkaline.

There needs to be a balance in ph for hair. I've used Dr Bronners Soap to wash my hair and ended up with a matted knotty mess. That's because the soap is very alkaline, causing the hair cuticles to open and the strand's surface becomes rough. To keep hair smooth and the hair cuticles lying flat, products needs to be a ph of 4-5, the natural ph for hair. 

So I started with a simple mix of 1 part clay to 1 part apple cider vinegar. I'm trying to achieve cleansing properties so I didn't add oils. Some recipes call for baking soda but it's of my opinion that the clay substitutes for that since it is also alkaline. If baking soda works for you, the mix needs to be a ph greater than 7. 

I bought a book of litmus paper from Ebay when I first started making my own hair products. It's really useful to know the ph because it has a direct impact to your hair and the product's  effectiveness. After mixing I put some on to the paper and the wet part changes colour to reveal the ph.

I compared the colour on the chart and it was 3, slightly acidic. I mixed a little more water (typically a ph of 7) and clay to make it more alkaline. As you can see in the second reading underneath, the ph has changed to 4. 

I then diluted the mix so it was runny. The clay is very drying so I didn't to apply it thick. I mixed it with my leave-in hair conditioner mix to get a liquid consistency and put it in a bottle with a nozzle. The ph was 7, which is considered neutral. I could have added more vinegar to bring it down to hair ph but I didn't want to make the mix runnier.  

I gave my first batch of clay wash a try. Since it was really watery I applied it straight on to my scalp and dry hair and distributed it around. (I didn't apply to my lengths because they didn't need to be de-greased. My ends were dry enough already!) I let it sit in my hair for 15 minutes before rinsing and doing a light co-wash. 

The results were good. My hair was clean, shiny and felt soft. There was no frizz! Next time I'll skip the co-wash and make the mix a little thicker. It's a case of getting the proportion of ingredients right but I'll practice. Washing with clay does work and it cleans better than a co-wash. I would use this once a week. 

For convenience I keep premixed clay/apple cider vinegar on hand to use as a face mask or mix with water/ACV for a hair cleanser. The clay is so versatile and best of all, 100% natural!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Neem Oil and Eczema - It Didn't Work For Me

There's a funny video on Youtube about neem oil and as much as I was warned about its smell, I had to buy some from my local Indian grocery shop. My eczema has been flaring up and I'm willing to try anything.

I had a choose a cheap Indian brand that's featured in the video over a organic UK brand which was four times the price. I could upgrade later if it worked and if it didn't, I didn't lose out on much. 

At home I opened the bottle and took a whiff. It was indeed bad. To me it smells like wet rotting garlic, onions and peanuts. So pungent, I had to put the cap back on straight away. 

Neem oil is lumpy, thick and golden brown. It was almost solidified in the store. I asked my Indian friends to translate the hindi and apparently the label simply just says Neem Oil.

For the treatment of eczema, I diluted the neem oil with another carrier oil before applying. I mixed 40% neem oil with 60% black Jamaican castor oil. I find the the latter works to calm down the itch and inflammation of eczema. 

My eczema felt itchier after I applied it twice a day. I should have diluted the neem oil further but I figure with such a reaction, it's unlikely to give the desired result in smaller quantities. It still stinks after it's mixed. I tried it for a week and there was no improvement until I stopped using it. 

I'm sticking to neat BJCO and recommend it to anyone with eczema. 

With the remaining amount of oil mix (not to waste that lovely BJCO), I've been adding it to Cholesterol Cream, which I use as a deep conditioning co-wash. On it's own, it's a heavy cream so I have to emulsify it well with a little warm water to get it foamy before rinsing. The surfactant in CC, sodium lauryl sulfate washes out before the oil will and I don't want to end up with oily hair.

As for the rest of the neem oil, I think it's best used for keeping bugs out the garden!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

DIY Leave In Hair Moisturiser

My hair is suffering dryness and I can't even pass my fingers through it without it getting tangled. Resisting the urge buy a new hair product I made do with what I had a home. 

It took a bit experimenting because you have to get the balance right with the ingredients. Too much glycerin and it makes my hair sticky. Same with oils-you don't want an oil slick.  

Because of the lack of added preservatives, I only made enough to fill a 50ml spray bottle. 

Rosewater (or distilled water)
Sweet almond oil or any other light oil
Vegetable glycerine
Silicone free conditioner such as Suave Naturals

From my first mix of 90% rosewater, 5% almond oil and 5% glycerine, my hair felt sticky and knotted easily. It needed slip so I diluted the mix with a tablespoon of silicone free conditioner. I need to shake it every time I use it because the conditioner floats on top. But aside from that, it was the missing ingredient to help smooth my hair. The ceteryl alcohol in the conditioner helped to emulsify the ingredients.

My hair still felt sticky so I added more water. Still not sure if glycerin works for me - it seems fine after it dries off. It's in the mix because it serves as a humectant (reduces the loss of moisture).

I spray this after washing and whenever my ends feel dry. It works to soften my ends and adds shine. DIY saves money and space from storing yet another hair product in my bathroom!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Marc By Marc Jacobs Baby Groovee Fall 2007 Bordeaux

As much as I love my Longchamp Pliage, I had serious handbag envy to kill. There's a chilli red Mulberry I perv on in the ladies change room at my gym. 

I used to think that red was not my colour but I found a red I like. It's burgundy, the colour of the MBMJ Groovee bag I bought from Ebay. I took a risk because I've never seen one in real life. 

It's a funny story. At first I was happy when it finally arrived from the Netherlands. Then I realised the lining was nothing I had seen on the internet. Upon closer inspection, the bag I received was different to the other Groovee bags on Ebay so I swiftly sent a message to the seller:

"I received the bag today and it s clearly a fake. The main reasons are: 1) The lining is wrong-it should be the oversized Marc Jacobs lettering in monochrome print. 2) The main zipper pull and large hexagonal rivets do not have Marc by Marc Jacobs imprinted on them. 3) The shape of the hardware on the shoulder strap is completely wrong. Also there is no designer name imprint and the buckles connected to strap should be round, not square. If you do a comparison of other Marc By Marc Jacob Groovee bags on Ebay or the internet, you will see what I mean. Photos of the bag I received is attached. I require a full refund and if you wish for the bag to be returned, you will need to reimburse me for the shipping cost. Looking forward to hearing from you."

After trawling through The Purse Forum, I realised that the bag was one of the first to be launched in the Groovee line. This bag was from the Fall 2007 line and the features I pointed out were actually legit. Oops! 

The seller told me that the bag was bought in 2008 and in fact the leather is better then than the current line. At the point I was happy and very apologetic for making a rash accusation. 

So here is my lovely new/old red bag. It's much heavier than my Longchamp but it's cuter and the leather speaks for itself. For it's age, it's in excellent condition. 

I moisturised the bag by smothering it with Wheelers Natural Beeswax Leather Balm. I massage it in generously with my hands. But not too much as it will smooth out the pebbled leather. I let the bag hang out to absorb overnight. The next morning I buff the excess out with a soft sock and voila! 

After buffing I let it hang to dry for another 12 hours to ensure the balm fully absorbs.

Pebbled leather, eye-poppingly luscious!

Monday, March 30, 2015

When Skin Looks Good, I Must Be Doing Something Right

But the question is, what is it?

Over the past month I've noticed my skin has calmed down. I have less blackheads and pimples. My skin is radiant in the mornings. Wrinkles are still there but can't ask for too much. Finally I think I've found the winning regime!

Morning Routine:
Cleanser: Daiso Charcoal Cleansing Foam
Moisturiser: Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion (old formula, not +), Elizabeth Arden Daily Youth Restoring Serum Ceramide Capsules

Post Gym Routine:
Cleanser: Botanics All Bright Purifying Face Scrub
Moisturiser: Lacura Q10 eye cream (all over face)

Night Routine:
Cleanser: L'Oréal Paris Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Water
Moisturiser: None

I've been drinking herbal and green teas daily. My favourite blend is peppermint, lemon balm and nettle.

Months before I started this regime, I have been taking 1 evening primrose tablet daily.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

L'Oreal EverCurl Hydracharge Cleansing Conditioner Review

I saw this in a supermarket in Buffalo and was intrigued by the idea of a cleansing conditioner. There are lots aimed at the ethnic market but this was a first from L'Oreal. The labelling and packaging looks professional and for less than $7, I had to try it! 

This one is part of a "curl care system". My hair has lost it's curliness due to repeated henna applications but I figure it basically caters for frizzy, fragile and dry hair. 

My ban from buying hair products went out the window. I'm still looking for a conditioner that cleans without leaving behind build up. This stuff is paraben-free, sulfate-free and contains natural botanicals. And the sleek pump bottle would look fab in my I clutching at excuses here?

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/ Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Cocoamphopropionate, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Parfum/Fragrance, Isopropyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil/Grape Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Linalool, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Coumarin, Hibiscus Esculentus/Hibiscus Esculentus Seed Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Oil/Orange Peel Oil.

Is this product better than co-washing with ordinary conditioner? The instructions say to use 8-10 pumps, which I think is too much for my fine hair. I used 6 and it foamed up nicely.  A nice plus. After washing, my hair had less frizz and felt clean.

The downsides however are the reasons why I won't buy this product after I've used it up. It has a chemical scent that's not even of orange peel oil, one of the ingredients. It lingers after my hair has dried. I think it leaves behind build up because my scalp itches a little and my hair looks greasy by the next morning.

The search for the perfect co-washing conditioner continues.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Vatika Naturals Egg Protein Hair Mask Review

I'm on a new haircare spree because my split ends are driving me crazy. Seems like no matter what I do, I always get them. I guess it's a bane for people with fine hair like me. 

I've always wanted to try this hair mask. I got it from Paks and its so cheap for the amount you get. This tub is 500grams and it only cost £4.99! You can also get it from Amazon and Superdrug online. 

The mask doesn't contain silicones and uses honey and olive and fruit oil to moisturise and egg protein to help strengthen hair. 

This is what the mask looks like. The scent is like a cheap perfume or an incense stick. It smells sweet but has a chemical base note. Those with sensitive noses will probably not like the scent. The texture is very slippery and thick. I use it as a deep conditioning co-wash. I rarely use shampoo nowadays and even after a light oiling or if my hair is really dirty, it still cleans and rinses out well.

 The trick is to emulsify the conditioner with water before rinsing it out. I add water and massage my hair and keep doing that until the conditioner loosens. Then I rinse with warm water. This mask is good for detangling because it's so slippery. It will clean your hair and produce suds. As my weekly treatment, I'll rinse my hair and gently squeeze out the water. Then I'll massage a goop through the roots to the tips and put on a shower cap. I'll sit in a sauna for 10 mins and rinse out.

Ingredients: Aqua, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Parfum, Honey Extract, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Marrow Extract, Egg Powder, Olea Europaea (Olive), Fruit Oil, Magnesium Nitrate, Magnesium Chloride, Methylchloroisothiazolionone, Methylsothiazolinone, Citric Acid, Cl 19140, Cl 42080, Cl28440, Cl73015, Cl16255, Cl14720.

The final results. I'm so impressed by this mask. It feels like my hair has strengthened and it's insanely soft and shiny. A perfect balance of moisture and protein. The only thing I don't like is the scent. As my hair was air-drying, there was a faint smell of green thai curry. I kid you not! The chemical-like base note remains in my hair after it's dried for a day and then it disappears. My ends feel moisturised and soft. This is the hair I'm MEANT to have :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ayur Henna Powder Review

I bought this 200g bag of henna in Australia for AUD 2.40. It was super cheap for two applications. I couldn't wait to try this henna and it's prettiest packaging I've seen. The packaging is in foil with Rajastanti art. 

For some reason the bag says "dark brown" which is odd considering that natural henna gives a reddish brown colour. On the back (if you look closely at the top in the dark green bar), it says "100% natural henna can be used." Perhaps this is not pure henna? 

The powder itself looks like henna, a nice green colour. I made my henna mix with strong hibiscus tea (the enhance the red colour) and let it sit out to colour release for 8 hours before freezing. After thawing I added some honey. 

I should have added coconut or olive oil because my hair felt dry and crunchy when I rinsed the henna off. It was in my hair overnight. I used a deep conditioner Cholesterol Cream for 10 minutes and Suave natural apple conditioner after that. Thankfully my hair softened up.
After my hair dried, the ends still felt dry but I had very soft and shiny hair.

The resulting colour-initially a copper tint. I didn't shampoo for three days after although I rinsed my scalp after going to the gym. The tint became more red but its not as intense as results with Jamila henna. I noticed it doesn't have as strong smell as other hennas. 
Lesson learned is to add some oil to the mix and not leave the henna in my hair for longer than 4 hours. I don't think there's much benefit after that time. Although I slept with a shower cap and a towel on my pillow, I still stained my silk pillowcase!

Later I came across this website and realised that Ayur might not be 100% pure henna. There are no ingredients listed on the packet in English. According to the ingredients list in the link, additives are fullers earth, kaolin clay, calamine powder and mint extracts. With the addition of the clays and calamine, this probably explains the drying/cleansing properties on the hair.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Korean Skincare Products And Missha Snail and 24K Gold Filler Serum

A trip to South Korea is not complete without a shopping spree on skincare. 

Korean skincare and cosmetics are cute and cheap. I stopped over for 19 hours in Seoul and squeezed in an hour in Innisfree, Skin Food, The Face Shop, Etude House, and Missha.

Limiting myself to things that I "really" needed, I bought hydrogel facial and foot patches, cloth masks, pore cleaning scrubs and snail serum. 

 My favourite and the most expensive product is Missha's 24K gold filler serum with 80% snail slime. It was £30.50 for 11ml. The sales girl gave me 7 face masks and a box of moisturiser sachets as freebies. 

The serum comes in a syringe-like container. The slanted applicator tip is soft plastic and I use it on my eyes and forehead at night.  I've found snail slime is effective on filling out fine lines. This product contains gold flakes which I think are completely useless because gold is an inert metal. This is what it says on the back of the box.

This is my Korean skincare haul including freebies. Being in transit to London, I could only buy  items that fit in my cabin liquids bag or sachet products. These are perfect for treating myself when I'm travelling.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Before And After Review

This is a review for the Elizabeth Arden Daily Youth Restoring Eye Serum capsules. 

I'm conscious of crows feet. A friend who looks fabulous at 40+ uses EA capsules so I wanted to try them out. I found the EA eye serum capsules cheapest on and used Quidco for an extra 6.5% off.

The capsules come in a pretty gold jar. Push one side of the lid down and it pops open. Push again to close. The instructions say each serum capsule is for one application but I've found it's enough for two. You just need to be careful opening them because a lot of it spills out. 

The ingredients are: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isododecane, Triisostearyl Citrate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Dimethicone, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 6 II, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Retinyl Linoleate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Phytantriol, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Lecithin, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-14, Ethoxydiglycol, Mineral Oil/Paraffinum Liquidum/Huile Minérale, Dimethicone Crosspolymer-3, Polysilicone-11. 

It looks like a mix of oils and silicones with the stuff that makes oils "dry".

To open I pinch the neck and twist off the nib. The serum is a light scentless oil that sinks in or perhaps evaporates quickly. I apply after washing my face in the morning. (I use Missha's snail serum at night.)

I was gobsmacked with the results. After only three applications the wrinkles under my eyes were DRAMATICALLY reduced. I smile and don't get crows feet or crepey skin.  The effect lasts all day. It's like I'm cheating the signs of age!

Check out the pictures below. On the left is what my crows feet look like when I smile. The before shot is not as sharp but you can see I have definite lines. On the right is after my third application of the serum and there hardly any noticeable wrinkles.

The first thing I did was tell my girlfriend and then I bought three more jars. I have to stockpile, even if the anti-aging effect is purely cosmetic.

 Both photos were taken in natural light and I'm not wearing any makeup. I've included my smile to show you the same eye expression.

The only thing I've done to these pictures is adjusted the white balance. There's no filter, blurring or Vaseline on the lens! I haven't been paid to review this product and it was bought with my own money. 

This eye serum a worth a shout out to all the ladies 35+. Botox can wait!

Vintage Favre Leuba Watch

One of my deepest regrets is losing my Favre Leuba vintage watch. I was going through my bag on the tube and put the watch on my lap and kept on rummaging. Later I walked off the train completely forgetting about it. 

I've been searching Ebay for the same watch but sadly with no luck. But I found this Favre Leuba watch listed for 99p. I ended up buying it for £6 including shipping! It keeps time and needs to be rewound every 40 or so hours. I like the idea of hand winding watches because I like to rotate my watches often and I like hearing them tick. It's a comforting sound.

I like collecting vintage Swiss watches. It's rare to find modern watches with a slender bracelet and small face. My wrists are tiny and large dials end up on the side or under my wrist.  

The width of this watch is only 13mm. It's gold plated. There is tiny engraving that says "plaque org 10 microns". 

With my other vintage wind up watch. I bought the Rotary watch from a vintage jeweller. It was probably from the 60s. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Easiest Way To Make Shealoe

I finally found my Holy Grail of hair moisturisers. It's only made with two ingredients, shea butter and aloe vera gel=shealoe. It smooths down frizz and moisturises hair ends. You can use it as a hand and body moisturiser too.

Shealoe is easy to make it yourself at home. Make small quantities so it doesn't spoil before you've used it up.  

I make mine in a clean Lush mask container and that's how it's stored. It only takes five minutes to make.  If you don't have a Lush container, any small container will do as long as you can fit a beater from a hand mixer inside with space. 

The proportion of ingredients is 1 part shea butter to 1 part aloe vera gel. Keep that in mind when filling the container because you need extra room for whipping. Allow atleast double the space taken on ingredients for whipping.

1) Place 1 part shea butter in the container and microwave until it's just melted. I put it on high for 20 seconds first and keep checking every 10 seconds.

2) Add 1 part aloe vera gel and mix with a hand beater on a slow setting for 30 seconds. Make sure to hold the container firmly or it will splatter everywhere.

3) Ensuring there's enough height on the container to hold everything, whip at a high setting for 3 minutes. Don't whip any longer because the shea butter will solidify and separate in clumps.

4) Tap off the mixture from the beater into the container and let it fully cool before putting the lid on it.  

5) Clean off the beater with your fingers and apply to your hair or on your hands. Waste not, want not!

This is what it looks like after the initial mixing on slow.

You can see shea butter particles suspended in the aloe vera. 

After a three minute whipping, this is the final product. Creamy and thick like whipped cream. 

You can add a few drops of essential oil like tea tree or lavender for preservation and scent. Keep it in a cool place. I use shealoe after every wash and this is the right quantity to make without the need for preservatives. 

To use, take a small amount and warm it between your hands before smoothing onto the ends of your hair. 

Hope this helps those who want an all natural, cost effective multi purpose moisturiser. This stuff is a life saver for my dry hair.

What Henna Looks Like On Asian Hair

I used Jamila BAQ henna mixed with coconut milk, roobois tea and a splash of apple cider vinegar. As you can see the red tinge is subtle, only visible when the light is shining through it. 

The henna was in my hair for 3.5 hours and after rinsing out the henna, my hair felt really dry and knotty. I didn't seem to notice my split ends before but now I can really see then and want to cut them off!

The problem I find with coconut milk is that the colour bleeds too quickly. The henna doesn't seem to hold onto my hair and it runs onto my towel after washing for over a week. Most of the colour is gone in three weeks. I'm not noticing any moisturising benefits with the coconut milk so I won't be using it again. 

My next brew in two weeks will be strong rooibos tea brewed with alma powder for extra acidity. I'm trying to use up the Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Rooibos Tea in my pantry. Next application I'll be using alma and hibiscus tea so stay tuned for the results of this mix!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Benifex Paw Paw Ointment vs Lucas' Papaw Ointment

When I was back in Sydney I noticed new brands of paw paw ointments. I found this at Aldi and it has a striking resemblance to the ubiquitous tube of Lucas Paw Paw Ointment. 

I'm more of a fan of Lanolips but at 1.99 AUD, I was curious to see if the Aldi version was similar to the Lucas ointment which the same size tube is $5.00                                                                                                                                                                                              
Well to get straight to the point, I think the Benifex product is identical in scent, texture, moisturising qualities as Lucas. In fact, I can't tell the difference between the two without looking at the packaging! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Three Comforting Products For Snow Weather

Happy new year dear readers! 

I've come back from skiing in Austria and my girlfriend yesterday complimented me on my skin. I said it was due to the Tyrolian tap water. Unfortunately I was not able to bring it back with me in my suitcase :(

When in the snow, the conditions are harsh on skin and after plenty of Nivea Soft, here are three products I tried in the snows that worked a treat.

1) Molton Brown Protecting Vitamin Lip Saver. This was in our toiletry packs from the chalet and it's a vital product in the snow. My lips chap easily and although lanolin is my favorite lipcare, it turns hard in the cold. So much that I can't squeeze it out of the tube unless it's kept warm. The Molton Brown Lip Saver is petroleum jelly based so the temperature isn't a problem and it does a good job keeping lips soft and protected from the wind, dry air and cold. 

2) Bioderma Atoderm Nutri Protective Cleansing Cream-I brought a sample of this for the trip and will buy the full sized version when my cleanser runs out. It's gentle and has a refreshing scent. It foams which I like for a cream cleanser. It can be used on the face and body so it saves having to carry two things while travelling. I love Bioderma products and when in Paris, I stock up because it's the cheapest in France.

3) Eau Thermale Avene Soothing Repair Mask-the exposed areas on my face is always red after skiing so it felt good to put this translucent cream on to calm it down. After 10 minutes you're supposed to wipe it off but since it feels a bit greasy, I rinse it away. This mask really does work to soothe wind and cold chapped skin-perfect for the snows!

What are your favorite winter skincare products?


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