Showing posts with label hair. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hair. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

So, my hair is blue now....

Recently I fulfilled a life-long ambition and coloured my hair blue.  Well, the lovely Charley at Rockalily did it, but still, it's BLUE.  This shade is Directions Midnight Blue - it was originally a mix of Midnight Blue and Atlantic Blue, but I decided to refresh it with just Midnight Blue, as I love the depth of the colour.

Changing my hair colour has an affect on my wardrobe and on my makeup, and going from pink to blue is no different.  I can now wear any shade of red or pink lipstick, without worrying that it'll clash with my hair.  I look weird without strong brows and lots of black mascara, as the strength and depth of the blue can make my face look a bit washed out.  And I can wear red and pink clothes without fear of a clash too - I've already bought a few new red tops as a result!

This kind of colour change is pretty intense on your hair, and I'd never attempt such a big change without the help of a professional.  Charley bleached my pink hair to blonde-with-peachy-bits, then took it to blue - she was really, really thorough and as a result my colour isn't patchy at all.  She used Olaplex to stop my hair from being quite so frazzled, although it's still a bit dry - I'm using plenty of hydrating conditioner and applying a few drops of sweet almond oil every day.  If you're considering a big change, please go to a professional - I'll always recommend Rockalily if you're near London - your hair will thank you for it.

Disclosure:  New hair colour bought by me.  As well as multiple pots of Directions Midnight Blue, and some new colour depositing conditioners, which I'll write about sometime soon...

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

BUY THIS NOW: Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail Hairspray

Ever since I got a Bettie Page style retro fringe, my mornings have had an extra getting-ready step in them:  re-blow dry the fringe, poke it into shape, and spray the shit out of it with hairspray.  This last part is essential to avoiding a) weird gaps b) my hair flying upwards in a mild breeze and c) my beautiful fringe going wavy if I get a bit hot, but seriously, half the time I end up with the horrible smell of hairspray in my nose for at least two hours after I apply it.

NO MORE, my friends, NO MORE.  Because I have discovered this Fudge Urban Iced Coconut Cocktail hairspray, and it smells of COCONUTS and PINA COLADAS and HOLIDAYS and FUN and not horrible early mornings.

Seriously, I can't tell you how lovely it is to have the scent of coconut wafting into my nose compared to the scent of regular hairspray.

Anyway - as a hairspray, it's also pretty good, if a little omgintense.  A bit of this and my fringe isn't going anywhere - it's set into a perfect retro fringe-helmet, which even the gustiest of winds won't disturb.  Particularly impressive given the relatively inexpensive £5.29 price tag - I was expecting it to cost more, and I probably would pay more for it.  Fudge Urban also do a slightly less hardcore Iced Raspberry & Vanilla hairspray, which I'll probably buy soon, and with the combination of these two, my life is forever changed, and shall never reek unattractively of hairspray again.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Like Buttering Your Hair: Windle & Moodie Intense Treatment Masque

This incredibly thick mask has been sitting in my chest-of-random-haircare-products for quite a while, being overlooked in favour of my mask favourites from Ojon and Bleach London.  What a mistake.  I cracked it out recently and was incredibly surprised by what I found inside the nondescript white jar - an insanely thick mask whose texture is more like the thickest of body butters than any mask I've ever tried.

To use it, you need to dig in with your fingers and scoop out a palmful, spread it between your hands, and then apply to your hair.  My usual mask application method involves a handful of mask which I slap straight onto my hair, relying on a frenetic rub through my hair to distribute.  This technique doesn't work with Windle & Moodie's mask - if you apply it in a blob to the hair, it'll remain in a blob, so spreading it out first is essential.

Ten minutes later and my hair is soft, bouncy and very well hydrated.  It also feels really light - not overly silky or smooth, the way it can do after using an intensive mask.  One thing I've observed is that the ingredients and the thickness make for a mask that isn't entirely water soluable - when I rinse it out (and rinsing does take a little longer than usual) there are little globs of undissolved product left in the bottom of the bath.  Neither here not there, but it does give you an idea of just how thick this stuff is.

Anyway, texture and thickness aside, this is an excellent conditioning mask, and worth trying - even if it is pretty damn spendy at £29 for 200ml.  Not that you need a lot, thanks to the thickness. Find it at Windle & Moodie salons and online.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Quick Pick: Ojon Rare Blend Moisture Therapy Conditioner

I've somehow been through a number of tubes of Ojon's Rare Blend Moisture Therapy conditioner without writing about it - a mistake, as it's one of my favourite intensive conditioners.  A thick, almost clay-like cream, it distributes easily through wet hair and helps to detangle immediately.  Left on for two minutes, hair is left feeling very smooth and silky - you know that feeling when you rinse out a really good conditioner, and your hair feels so silky smooth as the water runs through it, that it's almost like you're in a shampoo commercial?  Yeah, that.

Combined with Ojon's Rare Blend Cleansing Conditioner, this stuff makes for incredibly silky, well hydrated hair - a treat if your hair is dry, coloured, or in need of a bit of TLC.  I sometimes leave it on for fifteen minutes for an extra shot of hydration, and sometimes I mix a bit of it in with my Directions hair colour to guarantee amazingly shiny results.  Sometimes I also use a tiny bit as a leave-in conditioner after washing, too, which works beautifully so long as I don't use too much.

Overall, then, a lovely product for dry hair - and a pretty adaptable one at that.  At £23 for 150ml, it's not cheap, but thanks to the thickness of the product you don't need a lot, and you can easily stretch out the tube for a few months if you're careful.  Find it now at Boots.

Disclosure:  The one photographed is a PR sample, but the one currently in my bathroom was bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Shea Moisture lands in the UK

I've tried Shea Moisture products before - usually by buying them in the US and bringing them back home, then using the tiniest amount possible to make sure I don't run out.  But now the range has landed in the UK, and in Boots no less - so all my fellow dry haired folks can easily try out this incredibly moisturising range.

I was sent the Extra Moisture Retention shampoo, Restorative Conditioner, and Curl & Shine Style Milk to try, and my general impression continues to be that this range is for hair which struggles to get proper moisturisation from other ranges.

The Extra Moisture Retention shampoo is thick and luxurious, lathering up well despite the lack of sulphates, and leaves my hair feeling very well hydrated and smooth.  The Restorative Conditioner, £10.99, is the richest conditioner I've ever tried, bar none - the first time I tried it, I pumped out a good handful - cursing the stingy pump for only giving me a tiny squirt at a time - and applied it to my hair.  After I dried my hair, I immediately re-washed it - it was so well lubricated that it lost any texture.  My fault.  Now I use a few small pumps and leave it to the driest, most straw-like bits of my hair - the ends - to avoid weighing my hair down.  I also use a single pump as a leave in conditioner, or half a pump to tame the ends between washes.  If your hair is very, very dry, you NEED this conditioner in your life.

The Curl & Shine Milk, £10.99, is a product I'm getting on less well with - it's also very hydrating, so unless your hair is very dry and rebellious, using all three products is a bit too much.  It does provide some curl definition, but it doesn't really enhance my curls - they form loose, smooth s-curls and ringlets, but don't spring up at all.  I prefer curl products which tighten my curls, and this one definitely doesn't.

I'm so glad Shea Moisture has made it to Boots - I'll definitely be trying out other products from the range, particularly the Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo.  You'll find all the Shea Moisture goodies on, and a selection in-store now.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Quick Pick: got2b Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist

I've never actually tried any of Schwarzkopf sub-brand got2b's hair products - I'm ashamed to admit I go straight to the more expensive salon brands when I'm looking for a new styling product.  When my hairdresser used it as a finishing product the other day, though, I knew I had to investigate further.

Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist promises to tame flyaways and add shine.  Over the past few weeks I've been using it as a finishing spray to tame my slightly fuzzy ends, and to smooth down frizz, as I'd normally use a regular hair oil.  Instead of distributing a few drops of hair oil through the ends of my hair with my hands, I've been giving my hair a quick spritz with Oil-licious Dry Oil Mist instead.  It works - my hair's left soft, very shiny and a little smoother, and I think it's helping my ends to stay smoother for longer.

What I particularly like is that the mist format is much less error prone than using a neat hair oil.  I sometimes go a bit overboard on oil, ending up having to wash my hair much sooner than usual, but the fine mist format of this product makes it much harder to overload the hair, particularly if you apply it in short bursts.  It's easier to avoid roots, too.  Just bear in mind that despite the claims of argan oil on the packaging, it uses a lot of silicone to give you that smooth, silky feeling.

At just £4.19, it's a cheap and cheerful and very effective way to finish your style.  Find it at Boots.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Hot or Hype? Olaplex at Billi Currie

A few weeks ago, I went down to Billi Currie's Tardis-like salon near Baker Street to try out the Olaplex treatment.  If you're at all interested in hair, you've probably heard of Olaplex already - it's the latest damage repairing, hair fixing treatment on the market, and The Internet is impressed.

Olaplex claims that the treatment system can repair the bonds in the hair which are broken down by colouring and styling.  It works best on hair which is pretty frazzled.  As the first stage, a slightly yellowy fluid, was applied to my dry hair, I was told that that Olaplex is so game changing that there are already copycats on the market (all suspiciously ending in 'plex'), and that it's an interesting development from a company who are focused on science rather than wringing more money from an already saturated haircare market.

Yeah, I thought, sounds like the usual product marketing bullshit.  As I sat and waited for the first stage to soak in, I noted that indeed, many of the big hair players have released a 'plex' product.  Ten minutes later, the second stage product was applied - unlike the watery first step, this one felt more familiar, being a conditioner-like fluid which was applied atop my already damp hair.  Ten minutes more, and it was shampooed out.

Afterwards I had a blowdry (which was excellent) and was surprised by the level of shine my hair had in it, but still - I've never had a blow dry which didn't end with beautifully shiny hair.  The real test, I was told, was how my hair felt in the following weeks, and whether my vibrant pink colour faded more slowly, as it should do following the treatment.

Three weeks on and I'm a definite convert.  My colour is holding better (although that might also have something to do with the new colour I'm trialling), but most impressively, my hair is significantly less fluffy than it was before, requiring only a bit of oil to dry naturally to a smooth(ish), rather than frizzy, finish.  And all this after a single treatment.  Olaplex is designed to be used frequently, and can actually be added to colour as it's applied to the hair to pre-empt the damage.

I'll definitely be using it again - perhaps not as a standalone service, which costs £50 at Billi Currie (ouch), but as an add-in to my colour service, which is a much more reasonable £20 at Rockalily Cuts, my regular hairdresser.  If your hair, like mine, suffers from regular colour/bleach and heat styling, it's well worth a try.

Disclosure: Complimentary treatment received at Billi Currie in exchange for a review

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Surprisingly Good: L'Oreal Elvive Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream

I took Elvive's Extraordinary Oil-in-Cream Rich Nourishing Leave-In Cream (phew) to the USA with me a few weeks back, risking that it'd be a good enough multi-tasker to be a leave in styling product on wet hair and an emergency frizz-tamer on dry hair.

I was pleasantly surprised - despite being a thick, slippy cream, it's light enough that you can apply a dab to dry hair and smooth down flyaways or serious frizz, with the hair looking well hydrated and sleek rather than fuzzy afterwards.  I also tried a squidge distributed through the midlengths and ends just after washing and conditioning, and rather fabulously, my hair dried into soft waves and curls with a lot less fuzz than usual.

Beware - using too much will leave your hair looking a bit overladen, but starting with a small dab and working up will help control frizz, add moisture and generally leave your hair looking much smoother.  Despite using it pretty constantly for two weeks, I didn't get any build up, either - it washes away nicely even with sulphate-free shampoo.  All this for only £6.99!  Bargain, particularly given that the product I used to use for between-wash moisturising, Phyto 7, costs £15.50 for a tube a third of the size.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

New hair - Bettie Bangs!

I've been toying with the idea of getting Bettie Bangs - or, a blunt cut, u-shaped, short fringe a la famous pinup Bettie Page - for a while, but I've had a fringe before and found the maintenance to be off-putting.  I decided to just go for it, live for the moment, maintenance be damned, and here I am with a freshly cut short fringe - I love it!

I'm using a small round brush and a hairdryer to keep its shape, as I want it to be curved and voluminous at the top rather than straight - but if you have any more fringe maintenance tips, please comment below with 'em!  I'm determined to keep this fringe for as long as I can.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 22 May 2015

How to live with brightly coloured hair

I've had bright hair for years now, but recently started bleaching it to get it ultra, ultra bright.  It's been neon pink, it's been red, and it's now a slightly blue toned cerise which I haven't yet photographed... but it's fairly likely it'll continue to be somewhere between red and pink, and very bright.  I'm often asked questions about it, so I thought I'd write about what it's like to have bright hair: the maintenance cost, and the affect it has on your life.

Topping up the colour is essential.  Everyone loves that just-coloured look you get when you walk out of the salon, and unlike more natural colours, bright colours fade very, very fast.  I make colour masks out of Directions hair colour and a squirt of conditioner and leave on for an hour every single week.  That's why my hair always looks freshly coloured.

Sulphate-free shampoo is your friend.  Nothing strips colour more quickly than shampoos with lots of SLS in them (apart from anti-dandruff shampoo).  Wash with sulphate free shampoo, such as L'Oreal's Hair Expertise range - their EverSleek is one of my favourite ranges, and it doesn't strip colour as fast as normal high street shampoo.

Dry shampoo is also your friend.  Washing infrequently helps prevent fading.  I wash my hair three times a week at an absolute maximum, normally more like two.  I keep plenty of Batiste handy to make sure my hair doesn't look like it hasn't been washed in days.

Avoid pale clothes.  Bright colour often transfers a bit onto your clothes as you wear them.  Anything white, or with a pale collar, is guaranteed to be slightly pink after I've worn it.  

Beware of light nail polishes.  Washing bright hair whilst wearing pale nail polish will lead to stained nails, which look very weird.  I usually wear darker red/pink/purple shades as a result, or if I have to wear something stainable, I wash my hair whilst wearing latex gloves.

Embrace black bed linen and dark towels.  Bright hair will turn stain pretty pale bed linen.  Wet bright hair will trash white or pale towels.  My bed linen is black, and my towels are dark jewel tones.  Which leads me to...

Be prepared when you travel.  When travelling to stay at a friend's house, take a black pillowcase - no-one likes a guest whose hair destroys their linen.  Also, take plenty of dry shampoo to avoid having to wash your hair in someone else's bathroom.  When I travel for work, I sometimes pay for a wash and blow dry rather than washing my hair in a posh hotel bathroom, particularly if my hair is freshly coloured or the bathroom has obviously porous surfaces.

Abandon all hope of maintaining your hair on holiday.  Swimming, bright sunlight, chlorine, salt water - all of these will pull colour from your hair.  When I go on holiday, I resign myself to coming back with a weird reverse ombre, with blonde ends and pinky roots.  I make sure I have enough time to dye it back to normality before I go back to work.

Stock up on colour-removal products for your hair and for your house.  I have a couple of bottles of salon-strength colour removers for colour transfer onto my skin, and plenty of bleach at home for those times when the shower ends up with a distinctly rosy hue.  Oh, and a big drum of Vanish for my clothes.

Avoid sweating at all costs.   Sweat+bright hair = pink sweat running down my face in summer.  BAD.  I carry baby wipes to clean up on the go, and in summer let my hair get a little more faded to avoid being damp and pink.

So there it is:  bright hair actually affects much more than your hair itself, particularly if you choose the kind of hue with bleeds, transfers or stains a lot.  I think it's totally worth it though!  Do you have any bright hair life tips?  Share them in the comments below!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Meh - Dove Oxygen Moisture Root Lift Spray

I like a bit of volume, particularly when it's been a few days since I washed my hair.  I usually turn to Batiste for combined oil-banishing and volume-giving action, but there's a new product in town - Dove Oxygen Moisture Root Lift Spray, £3.99.  It's part of the bigger Dove Oxygen Moisture range, which is targeted at fine hair, and adds moisture without weighing the hair down.

The before and after photo shows the effect on hair which is a day or so after washing - I spritzed a bit onto my roots throughout the hair, give it a very haphazard rub in with my fingertips, and voila.  Um, sort of.  There's a bit of lift, but not really much - nothing compared to the 80s heights Batiste can take you to.  It might work a bit better on hair which is actually fine (mine definitely isn't), and a universal major benefit is that it absolutely doesn't leave your hair feeling like it's full of slightly weird feeling stuff like Batiste does.  Still, for me (and my relatively thick hair), it's not as impressive as Batiste.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Quick Pick: Jo Hansford Voluminous Spray

I don't usually go for volumising products on my hair - it's thick, fluffy texture means that I generally want to reduce the volume rather than increase it.  A few haircuts ago, though, my hairdresser took a good chunk of weight out of the midlengths, leaving it much less fluffy than usual, and in need of a boost at the roots.  Luckily, I received this new Voluminous Spray from colour maestro Jo Hansford, and since then, it's been a regular part of my hair styling routine.

Voluminous Spray is a super lightweight mist with a delicate fragrance.  It's designed to give volume and body to fine or limp hair, whilst also protecting the hair from heat.  This is a good point - my usual combination of blowdry creams protects my lengths, but I never put them on my roots, which means my roots were sort of unprotected until I started using this product.

Anyway, spritzed into the roots before blow drying, I definitely notice that my hair has lots more volume - if I really emphasise volume by drying my hair in the opposite direction to the way it lays flat, I get some serious bouffe.  Added to my normal styling regime, it's a more subtle effect (thankfully).  I'm most impressed by the lasting power - my hair stays full all day, and in the morning a bit of a shake through with my fingers at the roots reinvigorates the volume.

In summary, then, I'm seriously impressed, and will probably repurchase once the bottle is finished - although I suspect it'll be a long time coming, as the six or seven spritzes I use barely makes a dent in the amount of liquid in the bottle.  Find it now at Jo Hansford's website, where it costs a spendy but not exorbitant £18.50.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

BUY THIS NOW: Ojon Rare Blend Cleansing Conditioner

I really love a cleansing conditioner, and this one from Ojon is absolutely fantastic.  As with most cleansing conditioners, it promises to clean the hair whilst nourishing it, leaving it 'silky smooth [and] perfectly refreshed'.

Applied to the roots and mid-lengths and emulsified with plenty of water, it cleanses the hair effectively - don't expect any lather, though, as it has absolutely none.  Massaging it in for a few minutes helps to remove dirt, oils and impurities, and once rinsed away the hair feels hydrated and clean.  This isn't a product to remove a ton of product buildup, or one for finer hair types - you'll need a proper shampoo for that - but if your hair is dry or coloured and wants refreshing rather than a deep cleanse, it's perfect.

My bleached, dry and coloured hair loves it - after use my hair is soft and shiny, and is definitely easier to blowdry smooth than it is with regular shampoo.  One caveat to Ojon's instructions, though - they say to apply it root to tip, which is uneconomical if you have thick or porous hair thanks to the fluid texture.  You'll need to use a slightly scary amount to cover all of the hair - instead, use it on the roots and midlengths to wash, and use a separate conditioner on the ends.

At £18.50, it's not cheap - but it's a godsend for dry hair, reduces blow dry time, and leaves the hair wonderfully smooth without a ton of extra product afterwards.  And if your hair is coloured like mine, using this every other wash will help preserve your colour for longer - so actually, it saves you money on colour.  I love it, and will definitely be repurchasing.

Disclosure: PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 2 January 2015

KMS Curl Up Perfecting Lotion and Leave-In Conditioner

There are a myriad of products for curly hair on the market.  Most claim to define and moisturise curls - and these two new products from KMS, part of their Curl Up range, claim the same thing - moisturised, defined curls which aren't crispy and retain movement and bounce.

The Perfecting Lotion provides definition and also claims to allow re-definition during the day with a bit of scrunching.  The formula is a fairly thin but still rich and slippy liquid which distributes evenly throughout the hair.  My normal curl routine is to apply product and then scrunch gently before leaving my hair alone to encourage curls.  I found that the Perfecting Lotion did reduce frizz, but didn't really encourage my curl very much - the end result was more wavy than curly.  I suspect that this is partially down to the lack of ingredients which pull up the curl and set it in place - this definitely avoids crunch, but means the curl enhancement isn't quite as impressive as other products which do leave a bit of residue behind.

On the other hand, the Leave-In Conditioner delivers brilliantly on its promises - which are to simply add moisture and reduce frizz without weighing the hair down.  The light feeling cream is also silky in texture, and the ends of my hair were definitely less fuzzy after use.  Avoid applying on the root area unless your hair is super dry, though - this stuff may feel light, but it's very moisturising, and over application will leave your hair feeling a bit overcoated.

Unfortunately neither of these products rocked my curls - but I will continue to use the leave in conditioner for well moisturised, less fuzzy hair.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A year in review: 2014's Killer Products

2014 has been a great year for beauty.  We've seen millions of variations on tubby pencils, micellar waters continue to be a big thing on the high street as well as from high end brands, and cleansing conditioners became king.

Over the year, I've declared a few truly excellent products BUY THIS NOW items, which conveniently makes it much easier for me to compile a review of them, and to reflect on whether they're still favourites.

The first stand out of the year, and the only nail polish to truly knock my socks off, was the rather beautiful Into the Night by Girlie Bits, an indie brand which makes the most stunning holographic and duochrome polishes.  I still wear it, and I still stare at my nails when I do.

On the hair side, I fell firmly in love with L'Oreal Elvive's Fibrology hair care, which promises and delivers thicker feeling hair.  I don't use the shampoo (it contains the dreaded colour-dulling sulphates) but the conditioner, serum and mask have all earned permanent places in my bathroom.  Perhaps the highest praise is that my husband uses them too, and chooses to repurchase the shampoo every time he runs out.

More recently, I tried out Bumble and Bumble's Blow Dry creams, and found that they really do help you get a smooth blow dry with minimal effort.  You only need a little bit, they make the hair super shiny, and they smell neutral to boot.  I'll be repurchasing the original Straight version when my sample is finished.

Macadamia's Flawless Cleansing Conditioner was one of the first widely available cleansing conditioners, and it's lightweight yet still nourishing formula cleans the hair beautifully, reduces blow dry time, and leaves the hair smooth and shiny.  Lovely it is, but it's perhaps telling that I've not repurchased it.

One product I completely failed to write about, but absolutely adore, is the Babyliss Big Hair.  The first couple of times I used it I managed to tangle my hair up rather impressively, but with a little practice this rotating brush has become my favourite way to style my hair.  Used on damp hair, it gives a shiny, bouncy blow dry which almost looks like a professional has done it.

These recently released Bourjois Mega Liner and Volume 1 Seconde mascara are still getting used virtually every day.  Intense black pigment, easy to use packaging and very reasonable pricing make this eye pairing a winner.

On the other end of the price scale, I found my Holy Grail waterproof mascara.  Clarins Truly Waterproof mascara stays put, wears like iron, and gives a very defined, voluminous look.  I've been through three repurchases since my sample ran out earlier this year.

Eyeshadow wise, there have been a lot of beautiful palettes I've fallen in love with this year, but this small, super-cheap palette from Makeup Revolution combines flattering shades, good pigmentation and excellent blendability with a teeny tiny price.

I'd heard of Amazing Concealer before, but hadn't quite appreciated the power of the tiny tube until I tried it.  The pigmentation is intense, and you only need the tiniest bit to erase dark circles and blemishes.  It's economical too - my tiny sample tube is still going strong.

Unsurprisingly, I found a handful of really good lip products this year.  My absolute favourite is this Sephora Give Me More Lip sampler, which contains seventeen products in mini sizes and a variety of shades and formats.  I still carry around a number of products from it at all times, and I really love the cute little lipsticks as well as the huge variety I got to try out from a single set.

Kiko's Unlimited Stylo lipsticks were a revelation in long-lasting matte at a budget price - at least 8 hours of wear combined with intense pigmentation made these gorgeous lipsticks an absolute winner for me.  Hibiscus Red, a pink-toned red, still lives in my makeup bag, and I get it out every time I want a power matte red which will last with no maintenance.

At the other end of the price scale, there's no doubt that Estee Lauder's Pure Color Sculpting Lipsticks are expensive at £24 a pop, but they're so beautiful.  Creamy in texture and with incredible pigmentation and impressive wear, they're luxurious, functional, and come in a very wide array of colours.

When Bourjois entered the fray with a matte liquid lipstick, the world sat up and took notice.  Rouge Edition Velvet are a range of easy to apply, beautifully soft matte liquid lipsticks which last well and are very easy on the wallet.  My favourite shade, Frambourjoise, has earned me many a compliment this year.

So that's it!  The cream of the products I've tried this year.  What have been your favourites?  Let me know in the comments!

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Friday, 12 December 2014

BUY THIS NOW: Bumble & Bumble Blow Dry in All-Style, Straight and Repair

My friends, I'm shit at blow drying my hair.  You see, I have rather a lot of it, and I get bored quite quickly, and so I usually end up just blasting it dry and ending up with a red/pink lion's mane.  Recently I bought a Babyliss Big Hair, which has helped quite a bit, but I still get bored, and sometimes it still turns out a bit fuzzy, thanks to my hair's natural inclination to be 80s big and fluffy.

When I received these new Blow Dry creams from Bumble & Bumble I wasn't really expecting a lot.  I've got a fair few blow dry creams already, and they don't really make a difference to my hair.  At £23, they're not cheap, but wow - these do make a difference to my hair.  All-Style is designed for thinner or more oily hair, and it's not quite heavy duty enough to deal with my colour-treated fuzz, but the original Straight version and the new, seriously hydrating Repair version are veritable blow dry genius.

A small squidge smoothed through the hair magically coats it, protecting it from heat, and encouraging it to dry faster and dry smoother.  With a hair dryer and a paddle brush, I can dry it absolutely straight - straight enough that my colleagues notice I've straightened it.  With my Big Hair, I can get a smooth, bouncy, curly-ended blow dry which actually looks as if someone skilled did it.

And I swear it takes less time to dry my hair with this stuff than without.
And my hair lasts so much longer than normal in it's shiny blow dried state, rather than returning quickly to curly fuzz.


These creams are going to remain a big part of my hair styling routine until they run out, and then I will buy a new tube of the Repair variety, which really quenches my dry ends.  If you struggle to blow dry your hair, these creams are absolutely, definitely, completely worth trying.

Disclosure: PR samples

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

In another episode of "Things I Bought In America Recently", here's Shea Moisture's Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, a potently moisturising blend designed to define curls, tame frizz, and make your hair smell amazing.

I chose to pick up this bumper-sized tub because of my overwhelmingly positive experience with some other products from the Shea Moisture range - specifically the Frizz-Free Curl Mousse - and I wondered how my hair would like the much heavier Smoothie.  The Smoothie is definitely one for dry, rebellious curly hair - the Curl Mousse is light enough to use on less demanding hair.  At first, I found myself using far too much Smoothie, and ending up with hair which felt almost greasy on the ends from over-moisturising - a rare experience indeed.

Anyway, for my dry, colour-treated curly hair, a tiny dab distributed through the mid-lengths and ends adds plenty of moisture, and defines my curls somewhat into very loose ringlets.  The Curl Mousse encourages a slightly tighter, although still not too tight, ringlet - neither product causes the hair to spring up shorter.

Whilst I'm enjoying using the Smoothie, I don't think I'd buy it again - I think it's better suited to incredibly dry and rebellious hair which needs weighing down.  My hair is dry, but not that dry, and additional weight tends to make it look lank.  If you're constantly fighting dryness and frizz, the Curl Enhancing Smoothie is definitely worth a try.

I paid around $12 at Walgreens in the States, but you can find it online in the UK for £12.99 - not a massive markup, comparatively, but still a lot more expensive than bribing someone to bring a tub home for you, if you're desperate to try it.

Disclosure:  Bought by me.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Quick Pick: BeautyBay The Collection Large Detangling Brush

I realised the other day that this purple Beauty Bay detangling brush has become my go-to item for detangling my hair after washing.  It's pretty much the same concept as a Tangle Teezer - flexible plastic bristles help detangle the hair without pulling.  The difference is the handle and the price - for a mere £5, compared to £10 for the Tangle Teezer, you get the same hair-smoothing effects with a handle that makes the process more like brushing with a normal brush.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Neon Pink Hair (and a new job)

So!  It's been a bit of a quiet week on LBR.  The reason for this is that I've just started a new job, which means soaking up tons of new information and being absolutely exhausted every night.  As part of my induction, I'll be in San Francisco for 3 weeks very soon, so please bear with me if posting is somewhat sporadic!

Anyway, the day before I started my new job I had an appointment at the wonderful Rockalily for my usual colour.  Since I was just back from holiday, and my hair was a rather incongruous blonde at the ends and peach at the roots, I asked if we could bleach it down and go for the brightest possible pink.  The lovely Emma obliged, and my hair is now almost neon.

It's so bright the camera struggles to pick up much else!  So much so that my DSLR doesn't capture it particularly well at all - luckily my phone does.  I absolutely love it.  I keep forgetting how bright it is, and wondering why people on the street are staring at me.  If you're ever in the mood for a major hair change, or a super-bright colour, don't hesitate to visit the lovely ladies at Rockalily - they perform brightly coloured miracles every single day.

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Mixed Feelings: Michael Van Clark 3 More Inches Haircare System

Michael Van Clark's 3 More Inches haircare range has been around for a while.  I recently met Mr Van Clark himself at his London salon, and heard him speak about the product range.  Unfortunately he spent half his time criticising other products, which always makes me suspicious, and there was a slightly dubious demo which claimed that because silicone products don't mix with water in a jar, they can't help the hair retain moisture.  Anyway, slightly dodgy PR techniques aside, I've been trying out the haircare system for the past two weeks and thought I'd share my thoughts so far.

First off, the 3 More Inches name is a bit misleading - this isn't a system to encourage growth, but a system to care for the hair so it doesn't break and snap, and thus can grow longer.  This introductory set costs £24.50, and contains three products - 100ml of the pre-wash treatment, 75ml of the shampoo and conditioner each.  To use the system, you're supposed to saturate the hair with the treatment every other wash, leaving it on for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.  You then wash and condition your hair, and voila, super soft, 'youthful' hair.

I used about half of the 100ml tube on my thick, shoulder length hair and managed to saturate only the ends - I think it'd take the entire tube to completely saturate my hair.  As a result I've only used the pre-wash treatment once, whilst I've used the shampoo and conditioner twice or three times.  My experiences so far have been that this system does indeed give you soft, healthy feeling hair - the hair doesn't have that overly silky feeling it can have from more silicone-based products.

Ultimately, I've not been blown away by the shampoo and conditioner, nor have I been blown away by the pre-wash treatment as a pre-wash treatment.  Instead, I've been using a little dab of the pre-wash treatment as a leave in conditioner, and it helps to define and shape my curls whilst leaving them feeling very soft and hydrated.  If you have dry, thick, curly hair I'd definitely recommend the pre-wash treatment as a leave in conditioner.  As for the shampoo and conditioner.. I'm not convinced that they add much to the mix for the £17 cost of the full size bottles.

Disclosure:  PR sample

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.
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